My name is Linda Eckert, and I’m an obstetrician gynecologist and World Health Organization (WHO) consultant based at the University of Washington in Seattle. I have met with and cared for women in clinics all over the world. Watching suffering is hard; knowing that some of the suffering I’ve seen may be preventable is tragic.
I’m writing a book for women and those who love them, about preventing cervical cancer—a cancer that’s 99 percent preventable, yet steals hundreds of thousands of lives a year. If you’ve had cervical cancer, or lost someone due to cervical cancer, or you work in the field of women’s reproductive health, then you’ll understand why I’m passionate about the quest to eliminate this disease.
I am looking for personal stories from women who have experienced cervical cancer, women or men with family members or close friends affected by cervical cancer, or women who have struggled for access to proper screening and care.
Your story can put a human face on the startling statistic behind cervical cancer, that over 300,000 women die from it every year even though it is highly preventable.
Words are Powerful
While writing academic papers is a longstanding part of my medical career, this book springs from a different, very personal place. Six years ago, my then 19-year-old son was severely injured in a car accident that took the lives of three dear friends as well. During my son’s long recovery from multiple injuries, including severe brain trauma, I started a blog to keep friends and family apprised of his condition. Writing my story became a powerful processing tool for me, a way to explore grief and the randomness of loss, and to celebrate healing. Personal narrative writing lit a fire inside me. I witnessed firsthand the power of stories to speak to what matters.
Cervical cancer matters. Women matter.
Now, I am following a new calling. I am working on a nonfiction book that allows women and those who love them, through the power of their own voices and personal stories, to ask these questions: Why does this preventable cancer continue to impact over half a million women a year? How can we stop this needless suffering and death?
I believe that as we speak about women and celebrate their roles in their families, communities, and society, this book can testify and be a collective witness to the impact of cervical cancer. Your voice and the power of story will lead readers to join us in saying “Enough.”
Enough deaths from cervical cancer.
Have you or someone you know experienced cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is highly preventable. If you have cervical cancer, you shouldn’t have had to suffer. If someone you love has cervical cancer, you, too, should not have had to suffer along with them. By making more people aware of this needless suffering, it’s my passion that we can help cervical cancer come to an end.
In an effort to show others the toll of this preventable disease, I would love to share your story in my book. I promise to honor your story, and I believe that by including it, you and I are working together to capture readers’ interest and energy, and to inspire them to make a
My deep desire is that readers, regardless of medical background or knowledge, will ultimately be moved by the tragic consequences of a disease that is now 99-percent preventable, yet causes the deaths of more than 300,000 women a year. I hope that through your willingness to share your experiences, I can reinforce the belief that we are all part of a human community, that every life matters, and so we are responsible to each other in the face of cervical cancer.
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Dr. Linda Eckert
I was raised in Wyoming, the land of more antelope than people. In this sparsely populated region, I found deep meaning in community—be they faraway neighbors or members of the church I connected with as an adolescent. My community and faith nurtured my passion for justice and my core belief that every person matters.
Combining my childhood desire to become a physician with my faith’s calling to serve others, my 30-year-plus career as an obstetrician gynecologist has allowed me to walk with women in a way that spans racial, economic, and national divides. After years spent in clinics in Liberia and Kenya, hospitals in Nicaragua, and migrant clinics in Brownsville, Texas, I landed at the University of Washington’s Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Global Health, where I am now a professor and provide clinical care.
Harborview Hospital, where I work, is a veritable United Nations, serving people from all over the globe, who represent a wide spectrum of disease and a variety of economic means. In this setting, my passion for health justice has led me to global cancer prevention work with the World Health Organization (WHO). For the past decade, I have had the opportunity to work with the WHO on policy development for the HPV vaccine and cervical cancer screening, and I’ve had the privilege of assisting countries such as Namibia and Malawi as they develop their own cervical cancer prevention strategies.
At the same time, as I’ve cared for patients, I have watched women continue to die of cervical cancer all over the globe.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
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