I’m posting this letter here because when I send the actual email to Tamika, the head of the Cervivor Organization, I want my word to be out there, untouched and unedited by someone else who may share them from the original email. This is the last time I’ll mention Cervivor, this is hopefully my closure to an emotionally painful experience.
I swore I’d never talk to you again, but here I am writing you a letter and part of me is wondering if I’ll bother sending it to you. Many of my friends have told me to just try and get over what happened early last year, but that’s not been an easy thing for me to do. I’m hoping that by writing to you and telling you how you made me feel I will maybe get some closure. It’s worth a shot, right?
Part of me doesn’t even know completely what happened. Cervivor had become a big part of my life. Many women I’d felt had become a part of my family, people I could trust. Trust is not something I’ve ever easily been able to hand out, but through the bond that all of us women shared with one another, I felt something I’d never felt before. Acceptance and understanding of what I’d been going through both physically and mentally since going through cervical cancer.
When I was accepted for a scholarship for my first Cervivor School in Louisville I was beyond ecstatic. It was one of the most amazing trips of my life, an experience of connecting to others who I shared so much with. I was proud to be a #Cervivor and felt I’d learned so much about myself and about how I could share my story with others.
Then the Florida school came around and you and Cervivor did me the honor of paying for me to attend once again since I couldn’t personally afford to pay for the trip. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like you all truly cared about me and privileged that you trusted me enough to assist with Cervivor’s social media during the event. It reminded me how truly lucky I was, and once again I met amazing women who quickly became friends.
But months later I found out that it was all a lie, and I honestly still don’t know why. I’ve always thought it was because Mia was still on my Facebook friends list, something I could understand because it seemed so trivial since I wasn’t made aware of anything about her until the night you went “live”. But maybe since I wasn’t willing to toss her aside right away, that’s why you chose to cut me out from something so much to me. Or maybe it was because I didn’t post enough or use #Cervivor enough on my personal social media pages, mostly because I wasn’t comfortable pushing my cancer in everyone’s face every single day. It wasn’t how I wanted my advocacy to be. Or maybe it’s something I really have no idea about at all.
No matter what it was, I’m still hurting to this day because I’ve lost so much trust yet again. I don’t know who my true friends really are when it comes to Cervivor. No one bothered to reach out to me to talk about whatever it was that happened. Not even you, the woman who personally asked me to assist with your social media pages, who invited me to the Florida school, or who asked me on multiple occasions to edit or proofread the very personal stories and blog posts of other cervical cancer survivors. You pushed me aside, threw me away, with zero care or question.
And it wasn’t just me you did it to. There are others that I still call friends and comfort to this day about the pain and stress that was caused by being thrown away like garbage by an organization we cared so much for. And, I have to tell you, if YOU had come to us, messaged us, communicated with us in some way asking to address any concerns you may have had about us, you would have found us to be shocked and heard about how much Cervivor meant to us. You would have realized whatever thoughts or claims you had had were completely false.
But it wasn’t worth it to you. We weren’t worth it to you. You obviously have enough people coming into Cervivor that the handful of us you threw away certainly weren’t enough to harm the organization. It didn’t matter that it was enough harm our spirits and our hearts.
You take on an important job, high upon the pedestal of the Cervivor brand and family. You should not take the heart’s of the women who feel a close personal connection to the organization so lightly. Cancer is a damn difficult disease to go through and the emotional and physical repercussions of the disease don’t just go away. You know that because it’s something discussed at Cervivor school. Yet you ignored it when you harmed some of us by pushing us away.
I do not regret being a part of Cervivor School. I learned so very much about myself from the speakers and from my fellow cervical cancer survivors. Unfortunately, because of you, what I lost was trust and friendship. You may be gaining more Cervivor advocates every year, but you lost some good ones because we obviously weren’t worth the few minutes it would have cost for you to contact us directly and talk about whatever it was that was concerning you. Thanks for that. Thanks for reminding me why I can’t trust. Thanks for taking away from me the friendships I thought I’d gained. I hope you remember that the next time you start thinking of “cleaning house” again.