Patient Research Advocacy
The PIVOT Leader Team (PLT) is a team of patient partners who provide strategic leadership to guide PIVOT and its development. This team represents a diversity of cancer experiences, skills, community connections and geographic locations.
Cheryl Jernigan – Lead Patient Research Advocate Kansas City, MO
I am a 24-year breast cancer survivor and co-survivor with my husband, who was a 6-year HPV-related tonsil cancer and 12-year metastatic prostate cancer survivor. Prostate cancer took him January 2018. For over 20 years, I have worked extensively as a cancer and research advocate nationally and locally. I love sharing time with family and friends, walking outdoors (especially with my dog) and seeking new adventures!
Becky Burns – Lee Summit, MO
When I was 8 years old, my mom passed away from leukemia. Her death came less than 2 weeks after diagnosis and my world was forever changed. In 2015, I tested positive for the family BRCA1 genetic mutation. During routine screening a few months later, I was diagnosed with stage 1a breast cancer at the age of 37. I understand how important it is to give a voice to the patient experience. As a pharmaceutical scientist, I recognize how the researcher can get lost in the science, but as a patient who deals with lasting side effects; as a mother who fears leaving her young daughter motherless; as a daughter who suffered the loss of her mother way too young; and as a friend who watched a young mother prepare her small children for her death, I know we still have a long way to go.
Broderick Crawford – Kansas City, KS
My advocacy journey began 13 years ago as a caregiver for my father, a prostate cancer survivor. Over the last decade, I have worked with researchers to give a voice to minorities, who are under-represented in medical research. I believe that the role of research advocate is crucial in bridging the divide between scientific and minority communities. I am a consummate community volunteer, dedicated to improving the lives of those who are less fortunate, left out and unheard voices. I am the executive director of the NBC Community Development Corporation and have been an active member of New Bethel Church since 1974.
Kristine Darnell – Kickapoo Reservation, Horton, KS
My journey of being a cancer advocate and caregiver began at the age of 28 when my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I am a mother of 3 grown children and a grandmother of 6 girls. I am also a survivor who has been in remission from stage 3(c) breast cancer for 10 years. Over the past 5 years, I have advocated for and participated in numerous research studies addressing the long-term and late effects of cancer. Giving back through research advocacy is my passion and purpose.
Ashley Flynn – Olathe, KS
After my rectal cancer diagnosis at age 24, more than 2 decades before typical screening age, I knew spreading awareness would become a large part of my life. I hope to use my cancer experiences to help create a better working environment between patients and providers, which in turn will produce research that is beneficial for all.
Peggy Johnson – Wichita, KS
I am a 29-year cancer and access-to-care advocate and a 6-year breast cancer survivor. Public policy has always been a large area of focus for me, working to make sure everyone has access to the best quality of healthcare and treatment. As a patient advocate, assuring the patient’s voice is heard in treatment decisions and research has become my passion. After being diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, I am still a patient advocate but with a different voice. In my work, I ensure the patient is protected in clinical trials. I am honored to serve as the patient advocate on a number of research projects at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. When not working and serving as a patient advocate, I enjoy cooking and spending time with my husband, family and our pets.
Kim Jones – Kansas City, MO
Cancer has been a part of my life since I was a young girl. Three of my grandparents died of cancer, including my grandmother who committed suicide while undergoing chemotherapy treatment. For 9 years I supported a friend in her fight against ovarian cancer. Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. Praise God, I won the battle and have now launched Sisters Living Beyond The Ribbon, an organization to help others in their fight. Being involved in PIVOT has given me knowledge about cancer research that I can take to others in my community. I am a nail technician and salon owner.