Feb. 2, 2011, Vol. 9 Issue 2
Today’s issue features two of our speakers who bring their message home with music. Last month, my longtime friend Jana Stanfield’s songwriting was honored by the Positive Music Association. On another front, January was Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and the effervescent Christine Baze, was out waving her yellow umbrella and also singing her songs to bring attention to the tools available to women to prevent the disease. Both are raising their voices for causes they believe in, and putting their music to work to inspire others.
On a Campaign to “Save the Hooch!”
Christine Baze believes that everyone needs a yellow umbrella from time to time — something to protect us not only from the elements, but from the harsh realities of life. And there’s nothing like bright, sunshiney yellow to brighten up the darkest days. She created The Yellow Umbrella organization to bring that light, spirit, and energy to the fight against cervical cancer.
“After 10 years, I’m still surprised at how much I talk about my cervix — to friends and strangers, to politicians and advocates, to teachers, students and parents, anyone who will listen,” Christine says. “I do it because I believe it makes a difference.”
At 31, after 13 normal Pap tests, she was diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer. And although she knew that was bad, she had no idea what was in store for her. “The surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and internal radiation were anticipated and agreed upon, so I kind of knew what I was stepping into on the physical side,” she said. “But the emotional upheaval and depression that accompanied the physical assault on my body was another animal. I learned a lot about myself through the whole experience, and I learned a lot about cervical cancer. So when I finally got to the other side, I decided to use my voice, my music and my story to share what I learned.”
Cervical cancer is caused by a very common virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). The familiar Pap test looks for cell changes caused by HPV, but sometimes it does not pick up those changes (that is what happened in Christine’s case). The DNA HPV test, recommended for women 30+ and those who get an abnormal Pap, actually tests for the presence of the virus even before changes can be seen on the surface. And now there is available the HPV vaccine that can stop 70% of the HPV that can lead to cervical cancer.
“I started The Yellow Umbrella Organization because I wanted people to know that cervical cancer is preventable,” she said. “There are tools that are available now that are more accurate – the liquid pap and the HPV test – and there are vaccines that help stop most of the HPV that causes this cancer. These tools will save lives and fertility and I want everyone to know about them. As a young adult I never thought cancer would enter my world, but it did. I can never have a biological child, I have side effects from my treatment, and I’m always worried it will come back. Bottom line – I do not want anyone else to have to walk in my shoes.
“The Yellow Umbrella Tour and Paint it Yellow help us get the word out. The tour started because I love music. It is the universal communicator. It makes you feel. It brings people together. So when I decided to do something about cervical cancer, I decided to put together a benefit concert to raise money and awareness. I asked my favorite bands around Boston to help. They said yes. I asked my favorite club if we could do it there. They said yes. I let the media know I was doing it. They told everyone.
“The first concert was held in 2002, and Popsmear.org became a non-profit in 2004. My goal was to get people talking about something no one wanted to talk about — cervical health. So I sang about it, and brought others along to help. I called the series of concerts across the country The Yellow Umbrella Tour, named after one of my songs I wrote after having cancer.
“It’s all about jumping into life and living it while you can. So I did just that. And I talked about the fact that cervical cancer is preventable. I talked about the tools — the liquid pap and the HPV test, and the importance of advocating for yourself, being educated, and having a conversation with your doctor.
“And now there’s even more to talk about . There is another tool in the fight against cervical cancer — a vaccine against HPV. So I just keep talking. In clubs, on planes, at expos, in schools and on Capitol Hill. I talk to anyone who will listen. It’s gone beyond pop music and pap smears. It’s about working together, with all the tools — under the same umbrella — to help eliminate cervical cancer. Each year I am amazed at the incredible people who come out to support, to share, and to celebrate life — that’s the Yellow Umbrella Spirit.”
Everyone has a story. Christine is grateful that she is still here to tell hers. She travels with her band and her music across the country to empower and educate. “I believe it works,” she said. “People connect and see me as their sister, daughter, roommate. I am the dork next door! This happened to me. I don’t want it to happen to anyone else and it doesn’t have to.”
Christine urges you to share these 3 tools with women you love – and tell them:
No matter what your age, there is something you can do to prevent cervical cancer.
Ages 9-26 – HPV VACCINE
Age 21+ – PAP TEST (liquid is a bit better)
Age 30+ – HPV TEST + PAP TEST
“I know that I am one of the lucky ones because I am still here to share my story,” Christine said. “But there are over 12,000 who will hear those words, ‘You have cervical cancer,’ this year, and over 4,000 will not be here to tell their stories. That is why I do what I do, and ask you to do the same. Share this information with a woman you love. Be part of preventing a cancer. Help me ‘Save the Hooch!’ And rock on and on.”
September is Gynecologic Cancer Month. If you’d like to bring Christine to your city to spread the word, call us to book now at 503-699-5031 or visit the website.
Jana Stanfield’s “True Calling”
Inspires Social Action and
Wins at the Grammy’s of Positive Music
If you’ve been with me a while, you’re familiar with one of my favorite speakers and friends, Jana Stanfield. If you’ve heard and seen her perform, you’re most likely a fan as well. I’m happy to share the news that her song, “True Calling” was named “Song of the Year” at this year’s 6th Annual emPower Posi Music Awards.
Known as, “The Queen of Heavy Mental,” Jana collaborated with her long-time co-writer, Jimmy Scott, to write this year’s award-winning song in the category of Spiritual Social Action. Announced in Orlando, Jana accepted the award via webcast from Australia, while Jimmy accepted from Thailand. Both acclaimed songwriters live their callings these days abroad, inspiring social action, while helping others find their true callings as well. Additionally, Jana’s “Life’s Not A Struggle,” secured a nomination in the Group Chant category this year.
This year’s award marks Jana’s fifth win at the Posi Music Awards. In 2005, she won the Best Inspirational Song for “I’m Not Lost; I’m Exploring” and Best Personal Transformation Song for “If I Were Brave.” In 2008, she was honored with the Grace Note Award for lifetime achievement. In 2010 “All the Good,” a multi-lingual piece won in the Group Chant category.
“What Would I Do This Year If I Had No Fear” is her latest double CD, featuring “True Calling.” Jana sums up her purpose quite simply, “I figure if someone is going to give me three minutes of their time to listen to a song I’ve written, I want it to be helpful!”
Jana, has achieved multi-platinum success with her songs, which have been recorded by such artists as Reba McEntire and Andy Williams. Her inspiring music and messages are filled with humor, motivation, and appreciation. She will be back in the U.S. this summer and early fall, so let us know if you have a conference or event coming up where she would fit the bill. You’ll be glad you did. And so will your audience.
Friday, Feb. 4
Don’t forget to wear red this Friday, Feb. 4, for National Wear Red Day to help raise awareness of heart disease in women. As you may already know, heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women, taking the life of 1 in 3 women each year. This means women just like you – mothers, sisters, friends – are dying at the rate of one per minute because they don’t know what you know: heart disease kills.
More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. Still, although ninety percent of women in the United States have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, only 1 in 5 women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat. This is ironic and sad, because eighty percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.
You can help get the word out about women and heart disease, health risk factors, healthy behaviors and other tools and resources to help you get healthy and stay there. For information on how you can participate in WEAR RED Day, go to: http://www.goredforwomen.org/wearredday/
Until next time, take care of yourself for your well being and those you love.
PLEASE NOTE: The information shared in this e-news is designed to help you make informed decisions about speakers and the programs they offer. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment prescribed by a doctor. If you suspect you have a medical problem, seek competent medical help.