Marty's Journey

On August 14, 2018, Marty Griffin heard the three words no one wants to hear: You have cancer.

That diagnosis would be devastating to anyone, and to this family man, it hit particularly hard. He was worried about his wife, television anchor Kristine Sorensen, and their three young children. And he was still grieving the deaths of his own parents from cancer, both within the past year.

Add to that the timing. It could not have been worse. Marty had just left a long career in television to put his full effort behind Sparkt, a startup digital media company leveraging the power of stories to bring communities together to work for good.

In the days that followed, Marty learned more about his cancer, a form of Human Papilloma Virus caused squamous cell cancer of the Oropharynx or throat. HPV is a virus that infects 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, and can cause serious health problems later in life, including throat and cervical cancers.

What he learned triggered his outrage: his is a cancer that no one ought to get, because a simple vaccination can prevent it. Worse, it’s a cancer that is on the rise. In fact, instances of HPV-related cancers in men have more than doubled in the last 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Now Marty’s on a mission, not just to cure his own cancer, but to end this highly-curable, and very preventable, form of cancer.

Follow Marty’s Journey online and on-air as he shares the challenges and victories of treatment and the efforts and struggles to not just prevent, but end, HPV-related cancers. Watch Marty’s daily live updates as he goes through treatment at Sparkt.com. There you’ll also find stories that feature Marty’s unique views and his family’s and doctors’ perspectives, taking you along on their journey. Follow us and register to receive notifications of live feeds and new content. And you can always listen to Marty on “The Inside Story” weekday mornings from 9 to noon on KDKA Radio 1020.

Sparkt LIVE

Follow Marty on his journey as he undergoes treatment for HPV-related throat cancer. Tune in Monday-Friday to catch the latest episode of Marty's Journey or catch up on past episodes by clicking the video icon on the Sparkt LIVE player.

Resources

Learn more about HPV and how it causes cancer right here with the resources provided below.

How does HPV cause cancer?
Centers for Disease Control: HPV & Cancer
CDC: The Link Between HPV & Cancer
National Cancer Institute: HPV & Cancer
American Cancer Society: HPV & Cancer
Cancer.net: HPV & Cancer

What’s the link between HPV and Cervical Cancer?
Centers for Disease Control: HPV & Cervical Cancer
National Cancer Institute: HPV Cervical Cancer and Detection
American Cancer Society: HPV & Cervical Cancer
World Health Organization: HPV & Cervical Cancer and Symptoms
Cancer.net: Types of Cervical Cancer

What’s the link between HPV and Oropharyngeal (Throat) Cancer? Centers for Disease Control: HPV & Throat Cancer
American Cancer Society: Throat Cancer Risk Factors & Detection
Cancer.net: Oral & Oropharyngeal Cancer Prevention & Screening
Oral Cancer Foundation: Oropharyngeal Cancer Facts
WebMD: HPV-Linked Throat Cancer Telltale Signs

Is there any way to prevent HPV Infection and HPV Cancers?
American Cancer Society: The HPV Vaccine
National Cancer Institute: What are the HPV Vaccines?
Vaccines.gov: Getting the HPV Vaccine
Immunize.org: HPV Vaccine for Parents & Professionals
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals: Understanding HPV Vaccines
Centers for Disease Control: Screening for HPV Associated Cancers

Why should I get my child vaccinated against HPV?
Centers for Disease Control: HPV Vaccine Page
Centers for Disease Control: When, Why and Who Should be Vaccinated?
Centers for Disease Control: How the HPV Vaccine Works
National Cancer Institute: HPV Vaccine Facts

What if I can’t afford my child’s HPV vaccination?
CDC: VFC Detailed Questions and Answers for Parents
CDC: Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program
Merck: Merck’s Patient Assistance Program (manufacturer of Gardisil vaccine)
Glaxo: Glaxo Smith Kline Patient Assistance Program (manufacturer of Cervarix vaccine)
Verywellhealth.com: How to Get the HPV Vaccine Gardasil for Free or Low Cost

I’ve heard getting the HPV vaccination can be dangerous? Is that true?
Centers for Disease Control: HPV Vaccine Safety
CDC: HPV Vaccine Safety Frequently Asked Questions
CDC: HPV Vaccine Side Effects
American Cancer Society: What Parents Should Know
World Health Organization: Safety Update of HPV Vaccines
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Myths About HPV Vaccine
Cedars-Sinai Cancer Institute: HPV Vaccine Myths Vs. Facts
Gardisil Vaccine Manufacturer (Merck) Safety Information
WebMD: Common Side Effects of Cervarix Vaccine