The Yellow Umbrella organization recently shared the cervical cancer prevention message with thousands of influential bloggers at BlogHer, the preeminent conference for women bloggers, held in New York City. The founder of The Yellow Umbrella, Christine Baze, is a Boston-based musician (she has opened for Sheryl Crow, Michelle Shocked and others) and a cervical cancer survivor. She spoke to BlogHer attendees about making sure they are informed about the three key tools to prevent cervical cancer — HPV vaccines, Pap tests and HPV tests.
Joining her to help spread the message was celebrity makeup artist Debra Macki (whose clients include Rihanna, Cyndi Lauper, Kathie Lee Gifford, etc.) who created an eye shadow palette exclusively to benefit cervical cancer education and The Yellow Umbrella. Debra provided eye makeovers to dozens of appreciative bloggers, and the pair raffled off eye shadow palettes to lucky winners throughout the two-day conference. Christine and Debra participated on behalf of The Yellow Umbrella as guests of QIAGEN, maker of the digene HPV Test.
Here are Christine’s thoughts about what inspires her to educate other women about this preventable disease, as well as her experience talking with dozens of inspiring women at BlogHer…
It’s really something to find your voice. When I was diagnosed with cervical cancer 10 years ago, I was a musician, using my voice and music to express myself and connect with others. I believed in the creative process and being who you are and doing what you love.
Then I had a hysterectomy.
And chemotherapy… and radiation… and brachytherapy…
I lost my music – and my voice – for a while.
And then I saw a yellow umbrella and heard a song and knew that I was not gone –
Parts of my body were gone, but I was still inside.
I took my experience and what I learned and decided to step out and DO something.
And it worked.
The Yellow Umbrella is all about using your voice to make a difference – because you can.
When I was given the opportunity to bring the message of cervical cancer prevention to BlogHer 2010, I did not realize that I was stepping into a community of women who were doing just that – using their voices to express, connect, and make a difference.
It was refreshing, empowering, and invigorating to be around such an amazing group of women.
I brought my celebrity makeup artist friend Debra Macki with me, because she is one of those inspiring, creative women who has chosen to jump under my umbrella and help me spread the word that cervical cancer IS preventable. She used her talents to create a beautiful three-color eye shadow palette to benefit The Yellow Umbrella. The three colors represent the three tools available to save your cervix – the HPV test, the Pap test, and the HPV vaccine. While at our booth on the BlogHer floor, she did 10-minute eye makeovers using the palette, while I shared my story, information and The Yellow Umbrella materials (including those smiling cervix Save the HOOCH pins!) - Women asked questions and shared their experiences and tears and hugs…
It was powerful stuff.
What I found at our booth time and again was that most of the women and moms we spoke with knew about the HPV vaccine for their daughters, but knew very little if ANYthing about the HPV test for themselves (for those 30 and up)! As matriarchs, the nurturing often goes to those we love WAY more than to ourselves… Moms make sure their kid ALWAYS gets her physical, but she herself may not have gone to her gynecologic exam in five years! So one of our messages for two days straight was “take care of yourselves AND your family – ask your doctor for the HPV test with your pap. It will give the best, most accurate information about your body.” And time and again I got the same response: “Thank you for sharing your story.”
It was not my choice to get cervical cancer.
It was my choice to say something about it.
I am grateful for each opportunity to make a difference and am confident that the women at BlogHer will help me share the message:
No matter what your age, there is something you can DO to prevent cervical cancer!
Thanks for listening! Oh, and don’t forget to order your eye shadow palette by Debra Macki for the Yellow Umbrella. Go to SavetheHooch.org. Thanks!