Doing Good: Spirit Foundation 5K raises awareness for cervical cancer

Who’s doing good?Each Tuesday, we write about charity events such as fun-runs, volunteer projects and other community gatherings that benefit a good cause. To suggest an event for us to cover, contact Devika Rao at


During her work at Grady Memorial Hospital, Dr. Lisa Flowers realized that there were lots of patients, their families and spouses who were unaware of the consequences of the HPV infection, its link to cervical cancer (for women) and ways to reduce chances of a diagnosis.

“I really wanted to empower patients and community about this, but didn’t have the time in a clinical setting,” said Flowers. “I knew that there had to be a better way to educate and interact with people about this health issue.”

Flowers launched The Spirit Foundation and has dedicated its efforts to promote HPV education, cervical cancer awareness and free cervical cancer screening to women. Most importantly, the foundation aims to get more people vaccinated to reduce chances of getting the virus and for women, being diagnosed with cervical cancer in the future.

Young girls should get the vaccine between the ages of 11 and 12.

To expand its outreach to the community, the foundation hosted the sixth annual Run and Walk For Hope 5K on Aug. 15 at Grant Park.

The Run & Walk for Hope fundraiser has supported programs for the underserved and provide cancer treatment and preventive services including: free cancer screens and healthcare for the homeless and uninsured at the Open Door Community; education programs such as Con Amor Aprendemos! for the Latin population and With Love We Learn! for the African-American community; and the “HPV Uncensored” awareness programs for high school students locally.

Amy Pace, from Carrollton, participated for the first time this year to tell her story and continue supporting the foundation’s mission. Pace was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer this past winter.

“I was unaware of HPV or cervical cancer and now, I am glad I can be here to tell my story and encourage women to get tested, talk to their kids and just be aware that this could happen to them.”

Pace’s cancer is now in remission.

The Spirit Foundation has been making strides of raising awareness and providing education on HPV and cervical cancer, but “we still have a lot of work to do,” said Flowers.

Encouraging the community to get involved, Flowers noted that people can attend the foundation’s events such as the 5K or January’s Zumbathon; participate in its train-the-trainer program to help raise awareness about HPV and cervical cancer in their community; and talk to their doctor and get more information about HPV/cervical cancer.

In other news: Atlanta-based Anisa International, a global cosmetic brush and accessory solutions innovator, donated $40,000 to the Fulton County Animal Shelter, managed by LifeLine Animal Project, to help fund brand new meet and greet and outdoor run yards for individuals to meet potential adoptees and the animals to enjoy expanded outdoor play space. At the FCAS yard, those looking to adopt can now bring children and pets to meet potential adoptees in a safe, controlled environment, and the new outdoor run yards provide more than 600 feet of fresh exercise space for dogs at the shelter, increasing time outdoors and physical activity.