Zumbathon promotes cancer prevention

For two hours on Saturday, April 16, women filled the auditorium at Edmund’s Middle School to participate in The Hicks Foundation and Zumba Burlington’s Party for the Pap. The organizations partnered together to put on a Zumbathon that raised $3,181 to raise awareness about the prevention of cervical cancer through screenings. The event, organized by the founder of the Hicks Foundation, Allison Hicks, was an attempt to raise money and awareness surrounding cervical cancer. The foundation is committed to raising awareness about the issue by providing cancer screenings and education to all women. Their efforts work as an attempt to break the barriers of medical care by offering services to all individuals despite health care plans or lack of coverage. Volunteer Zumba trainers in the Burlington area came together to volunteer their time to the Hicks Foundation by teaching various routines to the Zumbathon attendees. The event had a personal affect for many participants. Many people at the Zumbathon were survivors of the illness or knowing someone affected by cervical cancer “This weekend was so successful based on all of the participation,” Hicks said. “So many women and people had so much energy and we thank the community for willing to join the campaign that we can win. Cervical cancer is 100 percent preventable. It’s a fight we can win.” As a survivor of cervical cancer, Hicks said she understands the fear the illness evokes and the courage overcoming the illness requires. She now works to make more individuals aware of the illness and how it can be prevented. “It’s exhausting and painful, but it brings new life into me to see all of the positivity and to know we’re going to help spread awareness,” Hicks said. The funds from the Zumbathon will go toward a free screening day for uninsured or underinsured women. The foundation will be holding a free pap test and women’s day on Saturday, April 30, from 9 – 1 p.m. at 96 Colchester Ave. The Hicks Foundation also puts on other events to help in the fight against Cervical Cancer, and is always looking for new volunteers and supporters. Their annual Cinderfella event will be held in September at Higher Ground, and Hicks said she encourages anyone who wishes to be involved to contact the organization. The event consists of a silent auction for men to offer up their skills as a way to get more men involved in the fight. “Surviving begins with knowing,” Hicks said. “Let’s spread the message, not the virus.”