Fifteen years ago Navita Gunter was “attacked” by cervical cancer. It was a very hard time but she fought the good fight, and today, by the grace of God, she is a survivor. She thrives by volunteering her time to encourage those who are suffering from the horrific disease, and by educating women and young girls about how they can prevent it. “My ordeal so changed my life that I did not want ANY woman to have to go through what I had to go through at that time,” Navita says.
Cervical cancer can be triggered by the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease called the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and it’s preventable. “Women of color have a greater chance of DYING from this illness because it is generally found in later stages for us,” Navita exclaims. “Plus, surprisingly, in 2013 and 2014 there are still women who have not been to a doctor for female health care since they had a baby. This even applies to those women with insurance.”
By telling her story Navita is able to provide encouragement and education. She believes the solution to eliminating this preventable disease lies in “Helping the Woman from the Inside Out!” This is the motto of the Cervical Cancer Coalition of Tennessee, the organization she founded following her recovery. In addition to her own foundation Navita works with the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program in the State of Tennessee’s Department of Health, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and she is a member of Gilda’s Club.
Navita volunteers at health fairs and speaks at churches, civic centers and other places interested in learning more about how to fight cancer. She passionately delivers the message that HPV and cervical cancer have a good chance of being eliminated with regular health screenings and use of the HPV vaccine in young women and now in young males.
When asked about why she volunteers she says she hopes to show women how they can take their power back by becoming a voice for better health care and education in the communities where they live. In some cases she’s doing this one woman at a time.
“The volunteer work feeds my spirit!” she exclaims. “I am a better person because of the opportunity to share my story, knowing that perhaps one life, or maybe more, will be spared or improved by taking my message to heart.”
Doing Good is proud to recognize Navita Gunter as Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month for January. “Navita’s belief in one person’s ability to help many is inspirational,” says Megan McInnis, founder of Doing Good. January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
Join the Conversation: What are you passionate about? Where do you volunteer? How does volunteering feed your spirit? What cause has a personal meaning for you?
Blog Written by: Karen E. Williams, a volunteer with Doing Good, an organization dedicated to promoting volunteerism. The website is www.DoingGood.tv. Nashville’s Volunteer of the Month is a free program which educates and inspires others to volunteer by sharing stories of local volunteers through media partners.