Sylvia Ramsey survived bladder cancer, and now she wants everyone to know.
A professor of speech communications at Georgia Military College, Ramsey is using her professional skills to inform as many as she can about bladder cancer.
With the help of GMC's Student Government Associa-tion, the two-year college proclaimed this week as Bladder Cancer Awareness Week.
Events at the school include a bake sale fundraiser held today, the selling of ribbons for 50 cents each and a raffle for a gift bag from Regis Salon continuing until Nov. 21.
"We're really on the grassroots level of launching this, but there have been tremendous strides made," Ramsey said.
Through her contacts with other bladder cancer survivors throughout the country, Ramsey one day hopes Bladder Cancer Awareness week, which coincides with Bladder Health Week, will be recognized nationally.
Her own experiences teach her that the need for awareness is great.
"There was nothing out there when I was diagnosed," she said. "Not even enough of the medical community is aware of bladder cancer."
About 500,000 people are currently suffering from bladder cancer, she said. The bladder cancer rate has even surpassed lung cancer in prevalence, according to figures from the National Cancer Institute.
Ramsey was diagnosed with bladder cancer nine years ago, after what she says were several missteps with medical professionals.
"It was misdiagnosed for almost a year, which is typical of females," she said. "I was diagnosed as having repeated bladder infections. By the time that they did catch it, it was already invasive."
Surgeons removed Ramsey's bladder, gave her a hysterectomy and used a portion of her colon to create a bladder pouch for her.
"It hasn't slowed me down a bit," she said. "If anything, I think I sped up."
When Justin Hunsucker, the president of the Student Government Association, heard of Ramsey's efforts to increase awareness of the cancer, he gave his assistance.
"The student government ... is brand new to the school, as is bladder cancer awareness," the 28-year-old sophomore said. "It's new to the nation. I just thought we could grow together."
Hunsucker said the association will hold quarterly fundraisers to increase awareness of the growing health risk.
"The school, as a whole, is very strong on community service," Ramsey said.
"It's required that students conduct community service. We thought that would be a great project for SGA to take on."
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Sylvia Ramsey, a speech communications professor at Georgia Military College, has initiated a bladder cancer awareness campaign after being diagnosed with the condition. The Student Government Association at the school has joined in her campaign.
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