The Course of Reason

One Woman, One River, One Cause

October 21, 2011

Those of you who read Skeptical Inquirer may be familiar with the work of Ken Frazier. He is a science writer and editor of Skeptical Inquirer. Recently, he shared some information about a project that his daughter is doing to raise awareness for HPV and cervical cancer. I want to let you know more about it because many of our readers are women in the age range that puts them at risk for HPV, and spreading information about prevention is both crucial and easy.

Michele Baldwin (pictured), daughter of Ken Frazier, has incurable, untreatable cervical cancer. She has decided to spend her time doing something amazing to help other women learn about cervical cancer and its prevention. To raise $100,000 to treat and prevent cervical cancer in India, and to bring awareness to cervical cancer, HPV, the importance of PAP tests, and the HPV vaccine, Michele is paddle-boarding down the Ganges River in India. Her project is the Starry Ganga Expedition, which is working with the Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer. I encourage readers to read more about Michele’s journey and to read and share “What You Need To Know About: Cancer of the Cervix” from the National Cancer Institute.

Cervical cancer is almost completely preventable! The Illinois Department of Public Health has a good overview of cervical cancer facts and info about the HPV vaccine here.

From the IDPH website:

“Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a vaccine that is highly effective in preventing HPV infection with types 16 and 18, two “high-risk” types that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers, and types 6 and 11, which cause 90 percent of genital warts. The HPV vaccine is recommended for 11- to 12-year-old girls, and if the doctor decides, the vaccine can be given to girls as young as 9. The vaccine also is recommended for 13- to 26-year-old girls/women who have not yet received or completed the vaccine series. The vaccine is given through a series of three shots over a six-month period. The vaccine should be given before sexual activity begins (before contact with the HPV virus). Those who have not been infected with any type of HPV will benefit the most from the vaccine. Girls/women who are sexually active should still be vaccinated because they can get protection from the HPV types that they haven’t been infected with. For further information go to”

To learn more about cancer, read Reynold Spector’s article in Skeptical Inquirer: “The War on Cancer: A Progress Report for Skeptics.”



About the Author: Dren Asselmeier

Dren Asselmeier's photo

Dren Asselmeier does student outreach as a campus organizer at the Center for Inquiry. She got her start as an organizer while interning at Center for Inquiry–Michigan in 2008. She stayed until 2010 as a volunteer campus coordinator, and was CFI–Michigan Freethinker of the Year in 2009, as well as president of Center for Inquiry–Grand Valley State University. Dren has a B.A. in English from Grand Valley State University. She is the president of Buffalo Area Non-Profit Professionals, an event volunteer at Buffalo Subversive Theatre, and a contributor to the Buffalo Storyteller Hour. 


#1 orange county paddle boarding (Guest) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 at 12:29pm

This is a great story and noble actions that she is doing. Hopefully people catch on like the breast cancer awareness has taken over all media. Good luck.




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