Murray Baker Bridge to shine teal for cervical cancer

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:54 PM CST
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - In 2006, Heartland Health Services community health worker Jolene Whisler received a life-changing diagnosis.

“The moment they told me I had cervical cancer, it was the quietest silence I ever heard,” Whisler said.

The treatment was quick and intense. Within 5 days, Whisler received a total hysterectomy.

After that she underwent 28 rounds of radiation treatments. After battling cancer, she’s dedicated herself to spreading awareness for cervical cancer prevention.

“The fact that I’m still here and can help other people who need to be reminded to get their cancer screening is very important to me,” Whisler said.

January is Cervical Cancer awareness month.

In 2022, the American Cancer Society predicts over 14,000 cervical cancer diagnoses. Heartland Health Services teamed up with local health departments to cover the town in teal. The event called, “Reveal the Teal”.

“Teal is the color for cervical cancer, so that’s why we went with the reveal the teal for the bridge,” communications manager of the Tazewell County Health Department Sarah Sparkman said.

On Wednesday, Jan. 19th, the Murray Baker Bridge would shine in teal at 6:30 pm.

It would stay lit for five days.

Major health networks and departments joined and spread cervical cancer awareness.

“It is a little bit scary, but of course we want people to know about it as soon as possible,” Sparkman said. “Cervical cancer is one of the more curable and preventable diseases, if you keep up on your screenings. Some of the time you can catch it before it develops into cancer.”

The Illinois breast and cervical cancer program provided free pap smears to uninsured women and screenings for cervical cancer through Peoria, Tazewell, Marshall, and Woodford counties.

The American Cancer Society that women 25 to 65 should get screened for HPV every 5 years and a pap test every 3.

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