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Home Cervical Cancer Cervical Cancer Starry Ganga Expedition Update –She Did It! Michele Baldwin Paddles 700 Miles for a Cause

Starry Ganga Expedition Update –She Did It! Michele Baldwin Paddles 700 Miles for a Cause

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The previous issue of HPV News reported on the amazing Starry Ganga Expedition. Michele Baldwin, a single mother of three, is battling terminal cervical cancer. Facing her own mortality, she decided to spend part of her remaining time and energy on a 700-mile trek where, astride a snub-nosed version of a surfboard, she did a “Stand Up Paddle” down the Ganga River (sometimes called the Ganges) in India. While that would be an impressive feat for someone at the peak of health, it’s astonishing for someone ravaged by cancer.

The purpose of her expedition was to raise awareness about cervical cancer and the fact the disease is preventable through screening (like Pap and HPV tests) and vaccines. Another goal was to raise funds for the Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer (GIAHC) launched in 2010 by physician Dr. Shobha Krishnan.

Michelle successfully completed her paddleboard journey just before Thanksgiving 2011. Her mother, Ruth Frazier, announced the successful completion of the journey on the Starry Ganga Facebook page:

“She did it. Michele Baldwin became the first woman, ever, to paddleboard 700 miles down the Ganga River in India, and with end-stage cervical cancer. She has made this pilgrimage to raise awareness of the disease and funds for its treatment through GIAHC. She was accompanied every paddle of the way by filmmaker and friend, Nat Stone in his Starry Ganga canoe. Send her cheers!”

The video log of her expedition explodes with energy, color, and stunning backdrops. Here is an adventure featuring a noble soul mingling with a cast of thousands, shot against torch-lit rivers in an ancient land. Follow the quest at YouTube and on the expedition's website.

Her website notes that while she may be in the final journey of her life (Michele terms it “actively dying”) she still spreads the message: “End this disease. Get tested. Get a Pap today if you haven't."