Mom’s cancer experience motivates roller derby skater to make time for Pap tests

Maggie Middleton has two important reasons for staying up-to-date with Pap tests. Having a mom, and being one.

“I saw my mother go through cervical cancer when she was about my age,” says Maggie, 40, a competitive skater with Hammer City Roller Derby (HCRD) and a certified fitness instructor. “My mother’s cancer diagnosis made me highly aware of the importance of cervical screening as part of a healthy lifestyle. And as a mom myself, it’s important that I take care of my health.”

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Pushing past fear to book cancer screening appointments

“People may avoid screening because they’re terrified that signs of cancer might be found,” says Kelly, 32, whose skater name is Abbey Roadkill. “But screening is really important because it can catch signs early, when cancer’s easier to treat. It makes sense to stay up-to-date with screening as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Kelly – a carpenter, artist and mother of two young girls – makes time in her busy life to stay up-to-date with Pap tests. And she will start breast screening before age 50 due to her family history. Her mother died of breast cancer at age 48, when Kelly was just 15-years-old.

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Roller derby skater blocks cervical cancer, thanks to Pap test and early intervention

As a roller derby jammer, Kaylee Talbot’s job is to dart around opponents in an attempt to score points. And as a champion for cervical cancer screening, Kaylee wants fans of the sport to know that their best chance of dodging cervical cancer is with a Pap test.

That was Kaylee’s experience three years ago when a Pap test found cells on her cervix that didn’t look normal.  A biopsy followed, and a procedure to remove precancerous cells.

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Nurse’s healthy lifestyle includes roller derby and cancer screening

Pediatric Oncology Nurse Jill Watt is among the newest additions to Hammer City Roller Derby (HCRD).  The Binbrook resident took up the sport last summer, joining the Derby 101 beginners’ program as a way to meet new people and stay in shape after the birth of her son, Percy. From there, Jill moved to the Smash Squad where freshly minted 101 grads hone their skills, join contact drills and try out for the rep league if they’re so inclined. Jill earned a place on the team late last year, making this her first season playing league games.

“Roller Derby is a really fun way to stay active,” says Jill, 36, whose healthy lifestyle choices also include cervical cancer screening.

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Roller Derby blocker makes Pap tests part of her healthy lifestyle

Her job as blocker is to prevent the other team from scoring by taking hits. “Roller derby has helped me get into the best shape of my life,” says Emmaline, who has since transferred from Brock to McMaster University where she studies social work. “Roller derby is a great cardio workout, and I’m also motivated to do cross training because I want to be better and stronger for my team. And as far as injuries go, I’ve gotten way more from cheerleading than from roller derby.”

Emmaline’s healthy lifestyle choices include staying up-to-date with Pap tests and getting the HPV vaccine, since HPV is the cause of cervical cancer.

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Motorcycle enthusiast promotes Pap tests

Grimsby resident Kristen Selway feels like cancer surrounds her. And with good reason. Her father died from prostate cancer, her grandfather passed away from stomach cancer and her aunt from breast cancer. Her mother is a gynecological cancer survivor.

“I feel like cancer is everywhere, but I’m not afraid of it,” said Kristen, 42. Her family’s experiences encourage her to make healthy lifestyle choices including participating in cancer screening for prevention and early detection.

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Screening  finds cervical cancer early

When Donna Johnson of Ohsweken visited her family doctor in October of 2012, she had no inkling that her life was at a crossroads.

“It was just a routine checkup,” recalls Donna. Her doctor became concerned after seeing the results of a Pap smear, so she sent Donna for additional testing at the local hospital in Brantford. Donna was then referred to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, where she was put into the care of Dr. John Mazurka.

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