For every ten women in your life — friends, family, co-workers or acquaintances — one of them lives with endometriosis. With no known cause, an average of eight to 10 years before diagnosis and no cure, it is a mystifying and excruciatingly painful life-long condition for many. Aside from managing endometriosis, many women with this chronic, invisible illnesses cite a lack of societal awareness, support from doctors and people in their lives, and better care and treatment options as other significant challenges that they face on a daily basis.
Regardless of whether or not you have a diagnosis yourself, supporting reproductive health and the way we receive care is a critical issue for all women. In 1993, a week-long call-to-action was set in motion by Endometriosis Association’s founder Mary Lou Ballweg and eight other women. Today, it is an international movement during the month of March marked by events, activities and social media campaigns aimed to raise awareness about endometriosis and advocate for more research dollars. Whether you sport a yellow ribbon, donate to a national organization or host an awareness event, here are some simple yet a meaningful ways to do your part to help endo warriors, advocate for women’s health and the quality of life for future generations of girls.
1. Host an Event or Online Fundraiser
If you enjoy hosting parties, consider gathering friends and family together for a good cause. Raise awareness with your invites, post on social media and — whether or not they can attend — give guests the information they need to donate to an endometriosis organization. Decorate your home with sunflowers and serve sunny cocktails to match endometriosis’s yellow ribbons.
Even if you don’t have the time to host an event, you can tap into your crowdsourcing skills and organize an online fundraiser. No matter which route you take, downloading the fundraising toolkit on the Endometriosis Foundation of America’s website, which includes tips and tools to run a successful campaign, can help guide you.
2. Support Endo Organizations
There are several national organizations that need your donations, time and help raising awareness about the critical work that they do. Whether you make a contribution, create or share posts on social media or volunteer, here are some of the most visible non-profits you should know about:
- EndoMarch: With over 100 groups across the world, EndoMarch has become the largest, global endometriosis organization focused on political advocacy for endometriosis and menstrual health awareness.
- Endometriosis Association: Founded by endometriosis pioneer and author of The Endometriosis Sourcebook, Mary Lou Ballweg, the Endometriosis Association is the first endometriosis organization and registry in the world. The 35-year-old organization is dedicated to amplifying the voices of endometriosis sufferers.
- The Endometriosis Foundation of America: With celebrity supporters such as Lena Dunham and Padma Lakshmi, the Endometriosis Foundation of America provides visibility for the disease by stressing the importance of early diagnosis and investing in the education of healthcare professionals.
3. Talk to Your Representatives and Senators
Ask any woman with endometriosis and they will tell you that the need for more research is dire. Supporting bills that will reduce the time it takes to receive a diagnosis and receiving better care is as easy as sending a text. When you text “RESIST” to 50409, you will be connected to your district’s State and/or U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators on social media or by email. You’ll be able to tell them why they should make endometriosis a priority through legislative action. Learn more about health care reforms here.
4. Attend a March or Event
With over 100 organizations, groups and medical communities advocating for endometriosis awareness and health care reform, EndoMarch is the largest, internationally-coordinated endometriosis affiliation in the world. And they make it easy to locate a walk, rally, team or online virtual event in your area. Text “ENDO2020” to 66866 to find and register for an event. You can also spread awareness online by posting about the march and your reason for marching with the hashtag #WhyWeEndoMarch.
5. Donate an Educational Toolkit
Dr. Malcolm Mackenzie, an OB-GYN and endometriosis expert on faculty at Harvard Medical School estimates that “nearly 100 percent of girls sent home or missing school due to painful periods have endometriosis.” It’s for this reason that he and EndoWhat, a bi-partisan movement working to educate people about endometriosis, feel that school nurses are in a unique positions to recognize the symptoms of endometriosis. EndoWhat is working to help educate school nurses on the signs and symptoms of endometriosis in hopes that they can help young women seek the help they need to get a diagnosis early and treat the disease. You can help their cause by donating School Nurse Kits —inclusive of a DVD, poster, downloadable educational booklet and sample lesson plan — which start at $35. Click here to get started with your donation.
6. Buy Products That Give Back
Leave it to the talented and diverse Etsy community to design countless creative items to fashionably show your support for endometriosis awareness. Each of these items gives back to the Endometriosis Foundation of America:
Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.
Have endometriosis? Click here for 13 products other women with endo swear by to cope with the symptoms.