Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hitting Below the Belt

Gynecological cancer doesn’t get a lot of press.  It’s private.  Its effects are private.  Many of the symptoms are things women easily ignore.  There’s a reason they call ovarian cancer “The Silent Killer.”  Bloating, pelvic discomfort, pain during intercourse, or terrible gas are not things that might make you run to your doctor.  But you should.  Early detection is critical.  In early stages, these cancers are treatable and have high survival rates.  Undetected, they are thieves in the night.  They steal fertility, they steal sex organs, they steal lives.  And gynecological cancer is under-publicized and underfunded.  But we can do something to help.  Awareness is the key.  

No Evidence of Disease.  These are the sweetest words a woman who has battled gynecological cancer can hear.  This is the goal for all GYN Oncologists.  But there are six incredible doctors who not only spend their days fighting cancer, they spend their nights spreading awareness.  N.E.D. is the name of their band, and they take their mission and their music very seriously.  They want to be a “lightening rod for awareness” and help drive funding for research and early detection.  But they’re not just about spreading awareness, they are about making great music, music you can dance to, music with which you can celebrate survival.

Stephen Russ of beliefnet writes that the music “is anchored by a solid rhythm section and bluesy lead guitar while much of the musical intrigue comes from the work of John Soper who often adds the flavor to each piece through the mandolin and slide guitar. The two vocalists, John Boggess and Joanie Hope, each have a unique tone with John providing the pop balance to Joanie’s husky, homey folk tone.”  NED’s music is about remaining upbeat while surviving life, whatever difficulties it brings.  They have a message of hope for those battling cancer and suffering alone.  As lead singer, John Boggess says, “there are worse things than getting cancer, and that’s feeling isolated and without help and understanding.”

But now, not only are they spreading awareness through music, they are the subjects of an upcoming feature-length documentary titled “Dancing with N.E.D.”  Stone Soup Productions and Spark Media have taken up their cause and are in production of this film now.  They need our help to get this film made.  

Why is this important to me?  Having suffered from a severely painful and life-altering gynecological syndrome, I know something about the difficulty of suffering alone.  I was diagnosed with Vulvar Vestibulitis in 2003 after years of seeing various doctors, searching for an answer.  I know how weird it is to talk about your vulva on a regular basis, to have it displayed on large screens and have it surgically altered.  I know about how this affects you sexually, emotionally and physically.  It sucks.  But I can’t even wrap my head around going through that and battling for my life.  I can’t imagine chemotherapy and radiation and radical hysterectomies.  I can’t imagine having my uterus removed before I even had the chance to get pregnant.  I can’t imagine the fear, the loss, the struggle for hope.  And this year alone, 90,000 women will face that battle.  

Please, help fund this film.  Help spread the word about gynecological cancer.  Help women learn about prevention and early detection.  My mother is a survivor because of early detection. Help reach out to the thousands of women who are suffering with a message of hope.  These cancers really hit below the belt.  Let’s fight back.

Here’s how you can help.

Go check out the film at  
Check out the band at
Become a fan of the movie on Facebook at

And then think about something you can afford to GIVE UP so that other women won’t have to.

Every little bit will help.  Make coffee at home for a month and GIVE UP your Starbucks fund to Dancing with Ned.  GIVE UP that cab ride and walk instead.  GIVE UP a movie, a dinner out, a new book.  Give It Up so that more women know they can hear those sweet words,

No Evidence of Disease!

Visit The Give It Up Campaign at to tell them what you’re giving up.  Then visit the donation page and make your pledge.  Thank you.  

1 comment:

Jilly said...

I had cervical cancer. And the fact that I can say that AND say that I had a baby post-diagnosis is very amazing. Gynecological cancers do not get the press that breast cancer does. I'm glad you wrote this post :)

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