Guest post by Mary Ann Martin
As National Cancer Prevention Month draws to a close, Mary Ann Martin shares the story of her husband’s battle with HPV-associated anal cancer and explains why she advocates for the vaccine that can prevent the cancer that took her husband’s life.
While Colorado consistently appears in national news as one of the nation’s top health performers in a variety of measures, childhood immunization rates across the state tell a different story.
Colorado native Tracy Jimenez was diagnosed with cervical cancer just four days after her 46th birthday on October 26, 2016. A single mother of three, grandmother to five, and surrogate mother to a 24-year-old nephew with cerebral palsy, Tracy had her hands more than full. Her busy life and endless responsibilities made her life-altering cancer diagnosis even more terrifying. In an interview with the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition, Tracy explains how cervical cancer caused by a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection impacted her life, and how it’s driven her to speak up for the vaccine that has the power to prevent cervical and other kinds of cancer: the HPV vaccine.
“I miss her. I wish she were here.”
On December 1, 2003, Vira Cover experienced what no parent should have to: the death of a child.
Just a week earlier, on Thanksgiving Day, Vira’s 23-month-old daughter, Elizabeth Terese Cover, caught the H1N1 strain of influenza and developed bilateral pneumonia. During the 2003-2004 flu season, 152 children in the U.S. died from flu. Elizabeth was one of them.
Vira shared her and Elizabeth’s story in an interview with the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition.