I’ve had the pleasure of following the efforts of one man for the past year and a half to raise awareness of Endometriosis. He’s a dedicated husband to a woman who suffers from Endometriosis, and he’s a great motivator, and someone I’m honored to call my friend. I’d like you to meet Jason Lawson. He agreed to answer a few questions that we could share with you today! Curious what he’s doing? Flex your muscles and read on…
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jason T. Lawson and I am 33 years old. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois (South side). I am a big Chicago Bulls fan and Chicago Sky fan! I grew up with both my loving parents; my younger brother Matthew, and younger sister Rita. I left Chicago in 2004 and joined the U.S. Navy. I enjoyed 8 and a half years of service in the Arm Forces, which brought me to my last duty (2009 to 2012) station in Bethesda, Maryland at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. My last year at WRNMMC-Bethesda, I met my loving wife, Laura Anne. We met at the Subway within the medical center in Bethesda. Our inside joke is that their slogan is “Eat Fresh”, and ours is “Love Fresh”. It was truly love at first sight! We finally made it official on April 9, 2012, as husband and wife. Since then, we have purchased our first house in Laurel, Maryland and we have enjoyed multiple vacations to the Caribbean ( our second home). We both work at the military hospital in Bethesda, where we first met.
Why are you interested in raising awareness for Endometriosis?
Well, I am passionate about raising awareness for Endometriosis because in 2012, the love of my life, Laura Anne Lawson, was properly diagnosed with this horrible and complex disease. At the time, I was just honorably discharged from the Navy. Though, I was not employed upon my discharge as planned, I was a full time student, taking full advantage of my POST 9/11 educational benefits. Witnessing my wife get up every morning, through the Endometriosis pain and fatigue. I felt inadequate as a husband and friend. To see someone you love with all your heart going through that much pain and you can not do anything to help (though you try) makes you feel helpless inside. So, I got to a point where I would try to bear the burdens of my wife and all those suffering from this disease. It was then, when a Scripture in the book of Galatians became my reality for raising awareness for Endometriosis. In the six chapter and second verse, the author Paul admonish this attitude toward those in need, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” I definitely accredit the love of Christ as being my motivation behind raising awareness for this disease that plagues my loving wife Laura Anne and the 176 million women (1 out of 10) world wide.
How has your life changed since learning about the disease?
By learning the wealth of information about this disease, it has helped me to be even more empathetic and sympathetic towards all mankind. Endometriosis is a disease that is not “written on the person’s face”. You cannot tell if a women is suffering from this disease. Simply because the symptoms are internal and very personal to a women’s well being. So, unless you are informed by a women about her have this disease, you probably wouldn’t notice anything was wrong with her. For this reason, I have found myself being more cautious towards individuals, because you never know what they may be going through physically. Also, learning about this disease has changed my life in how I respond to people’s level of pain. Understanding that I can not compare my tolerance level of pain with someone’s else. Laura Anne having Endometriosis totally taught me this valuable lesson, which I cherish deeply.
How’d you think up your push-up campaign?
To be honest, I have to give God all the credit for the creativity in establishing this push-up challenge. I was inspired by the “Ice Bucket challenge”, because I saw how engaging and educational it was in raising awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. So, I thought to myself that, “I need to bring awareness to Endometriosis kind of that”. With some brain storming, I came up with the P.E.A. 4 E.F.A. challenge, which stands for Pushing-up Endometriosis Awareness For Endometriosis Foundation of America. After that, I made some fliers and I was on my way to the gym within the location of the apartment complex Laura Anne and I were living in at the time. I started doing the challenge in the Fall of 2014, it was on every Wednesday. How I administered the challenge was, if I here the word “Hump” or Hump Day,” I would drop and do four pushing-ups. I was anticipating a questionable reaction from those who were within my proximity. This was the so-called ice breaker in order to educate individuals about this complicated disease. Well, this method of administering the challenge didn’t catch on as I except it to. So, I decide to do it everyday and every month. The pushing-up amount was dictated by the numerical day of that particular week. Simply put, if it is January 1, 2015 you do “one” pushing-up and post it on Facebook, then hash tag it “one4endo”. This year, I have changed the challenge’s name to PUSHUPM.O.B.B 4 Endometriosis , which stands for: PushUp More Opportunities Beyond Belief For Endometriosis. I just thought this was more creative in nature and highlights what this challenge is all about.
I’ve noticed you’ve encouraged other men and women to join you. Do they continue the daily challenge, too?
I definitely encourage friends and those who I come in contact with on the job to participate in the challenge. I have gotten a lot of support from individuals in my work place. Like Petty Officer Second Class Joshua Marshall, who is constantly involved in the challenge. Last year, in the month of December, he participated every day in the challenge, earning a yellow endoBRACLET for his support in that month. Another co-work, Ramon, always ask “How many today!” He is consistent in participating in the PUSHM.O.B.B. 4 Endometriosis challenge. This is just to name a couple of my supportive co-workers within my workplace. I truly appreciate every one that takes part in the challenge and shows support. Whether it is by posting a push up video on Facebook or simply hitting the “like” button on those same videos. I just want to say thank you very much!
If someone wants to do the challenge, how do they sign up?
It is very simple to join in on the PUSHM.O.B.B challenge 4 Endometriosis. All someone has to do is the amount of push ups for that day, which is dictated by the numerical day of the week it is within that particular month. Have it videotaped and post it on Facebook; then hash tag it. For example. “thirty4endometriosis” (March 30, 2016). The goal is to push up Endometriosis awareness one push up at a time. This is an every day, every month, and every year type of challenge. For me, it was not only just beneficial in raising awareness for Endometriosis. But by doing this challenge, I have increased my push up endurance. I can remember at one time, I would do fifteen push ups in one set and be tired. But, now I can do forty with ease. Definitely beneficial concerning exercise and awareness purposes.
How would you like to see your challenge grow and evolve over the next several years?
Well, I’m glad you asked this question. I have thought about this so many times over. I would like to see this challenge within the realm of a TV commercial in order to raise awareness. I have also reached out to the NBA and WNBA for their support in pushing-up awareness concerning this challenge. I would love to see it being part of the WNBA or NBA Care movement. I haven’t received any word from either one of them yet, but I am optimistic about get a respond from them soon. I ultimately would love to see this challenge putting Endometriosis on the same platform of Breast cancer. Giving Endometriosis the same volume of advertisement advocacy as Breast Cancer receives. This would be inspirational!
Do you have any words of wisdom for other spouses/significant others of women suffering with Endometriosis?
I would like to share with spouses /significant others of women suffering with Endometriosis to be patience with them. Especially, when it comes to intimacy. I have heard many stories of men cheating on their spouse simply because they weren’t regularly sexual active with their wive. It definitely hurts my heart to hear such stories. I know as men we have sexual “desires”, but let us not be controlled by our desires. Here is where we need to practice self control and become masters of our domain. Trust, I speak from experience. Marriage is more that just sexual intimacy, I just love spending time with Laura Anne. I try to take time out to learn more about Laura Anne everyday and comfort her while she going through her episodes of Endometriosis pain. I try not to apply pressure on the issue of sex, because it becomes a catch 22. What I mean is, I don’t want Laura Anne to seem less attractive by not communicating it, but I don’t want it to seem like I am seeking sex with every comment or action I make. It’s pretty complex, and it takes learning your spouse more in order to find that happy medium.
Are there other ways that you’re helping (or have helped) raise Endo awareness? (I remember you mailed off buttons to the NBA…)
I am in the process (as God permits) of trying to start the first official “Hello-Yellow” Campaign 2016 Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland. I would like this to be an annual event during the Month of March (endoAWARENESS Month). I would like it to be official as possible, with guest speakers (like Lisa Drayton) 🙂 and educational information. I just want to bring the awareness level of Endometriosis to an all time high. And what better place to do that than at a hospital!
Is there anything we can do to help?
For now, I just ask to keep this challenge, along with all the women with this disease in your thoughts and prayers. Definitely continue to pray for a cure.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, I would love to share some encouragement with all those women who are suffering from this disease. In the book of Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-47 tell a riveting true story about a woman with an issue of blood (Hemorrhaging). Though, the term Endometriosis is a modern day one, this anonymous woman suffered financial, physically, psychologically; socially and spiritually in the same manner as women with Endometriosis today. With this information, it could be possible that she was suffering from Endometriosis. But, if she was or was not, that fact is that she reached out for Jesus! With that being said, I want to encourage the 176 million women to reach out for Jesus for healing and strength concerning this disease. For Jesus is listening and ready to heal, just as He did for that faithful woman amongst the crowd.
Thanks again, Jason, for all that you have done, and all that you will do. I appreciate you so very much.