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National Non-Profit Organization Brings Cervical Cancer Awareness Walk to Big Apple

September 8, 2008

NEW YORK, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ — Hundreds of women will join national non-profit organization, Tamika & Friends in New York City for its third Walk to Beat the Clock! to educate women and the men who care for them that cervical cancer is preventable. A first for the Manhattan community, the 4K walk will take place on Saturday, Sept. 13, at Carl Schurz Park (East End Avenue and East 86th Street). The fundraising event is designed to educate all women about the link between the human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, and how the disease can now be prevented through the HPV vaccine and regular screening with the HPV test and Pap smear.

“I had no idea that cervical cancer was caused by HPV when I was diagnosed in 2001,” says seven-year survivor Tamika Felder, who founded the non-profit organization and planned the group’s two previous walks in Washington, DC. “Today, women are fortunate to have access to both an HPV vaccine and an HPV test. With these tools, we have the unique opportunity to eradicate cervical cancer.” The HPV vaccine has been approved for girls and young women age 9-26, and the HPV test is recommended for use along with a Pap in women 30 and over.

The four-hour walk begins at 8 a.m. with an opening ceremony to celebrate cervical cancer survivors and a moment of silence to remember the women who have lost their battle to the disease. Soprano vocalist Deborah Longino is scheduled to sing in the pre-walk ceremony, and Clubland Queen Martha Wash will perform in a post-walk pep rally. New York State Sen. Diane J. Savino, who worked to pass a law that increased cervical cancer funding, is expected to be in attendance.

“Tamika & Friends is enormously thankful for the community support we’ve received since holding our first walk last year. This third walk is particularly inspired by New York native and Tamika & Friends board member Robin Pace, who lost her mother, Phyllis, to cervical cancer in March 2006,” Felder says. “Robin encouraged our organization to bring the walk to her hometown, and I deeply admire her commitment to honoring her mother’s memory through awareness activities for women.”

Through this fundraising effort for cervical cancer prevention, Tamika & Friends hopes to raise $10,000. The organization is asking for a $30 donation from each participant to help achieve its goal. Women are also encouraged to contribute more than the walk registration fee. For individuals who raise or contribute at least $100 in donations, as well as for event volunteers and children under 12, the registration fee will be waived. Donations can be made at the walk or online by visiting http://www.tamikaandfriends.org/.

“By working together, we can spread the word that cervical cancer can be stopped with the right steps. Let’s ‘beat the clock’ by getting routine Pap smears, asking for the HPV test with your Pap if you’re 30 or older, and asking about the vaccine if you’re under 26!” Felder says.

Sponsors for the New York City Walk to Beat the Clock! include The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Office of Women’s Health, the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, 2 Red Hens, QIAGEN and Merck. QIAGEN is donating additional funds to Tamika & Friends when women make an online pledge at http://www.thehpvtest.com/pledge to either spread the word about the HPV test or, if they’re 30 and older, ask for the test themselves.

About Tamika & Friends

Founded in 2005, Tamika & Friends, Inc. (T&F) is a national non-profit organization created to raise awareness about cervical cancer and its link to HPV through a network of survivors and their friends. Based in the Washington, DC, metro area but serving women nationally, T&F is a leader in offering HPV/cervical cancer education and support.

Since May 2007, T&F has held two Walk to Beat the Clock! fundraising events in Washington, DC to help raise awareness about cervical health and the screenings that can prevent this disease. The contributions raised in both walks were re-invested in the community T&F serves. The September 2008 walk is the first cervical cancer walk to take place in New York City.

About Cervical Cancer and HPV

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2007, about 11,500 women in the United States developed cervical cancer and about 3,650 died from the disease. Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second-most-common type of cancer that strikes women – behind only breast cancer. Its cause, HPV, is a very common virus, infecting approximately 80 percent of all women at some point by the age of 50. In the majority of women, the virus goes away or is suppressed by the body before it causes any problems. A Pap smear can identify cells that have become abnormal due to HPV, while HPV testing detects the presence of the virus itself. The FDA has approved routine HPV testing for women age 30 and older — the group most likely to have persistent infections and most at risk of developing cervical cancer. In addition, the first HPV vaccine has been approved for girls and young women age 9-26, and is expected to greatly reduce the number of cervical cancers. However, the vaccine does not provide complete protection. Regular screening with a Pap and — for women age 30 and older — the HPV test should be a lifelong habit.

Tamika & Friends

CONTACT: Lindsey Wiegmann, +1-212-598-4400 Ext. 178,lwiegmann@lippetaylor.com; or Marissa Nakamichi, +1-212-598-4400 Ext. 169,mnakamichi@lippetaylor.com, both of Lippe Taylor

Web site: http://www.tamikaandfriends.org/http://www.thehpvtest.com/pledge




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