Oh man! I cannot tell you how wonderfully excited I am after this weekend’s walk!
It was the 4th Annual Bloomin’ Uterus Awareness & Support Walk in San Diego and it was our largest one yet! Out of 150 registered walkers, 120 people joined us. It was awesome! Thank you, everyone, who attended!
This year, we raised $1,317.90 for the Endometriosis Foundation of America, totaling $7,065.44 raised since 2014. A HUGE thank you to everyone who donated or purchased t-shirts! We were able to once again surpass our fundraising goal! And due to an incredible donation by my employers, we were able to hand out free Bloomin’ Uterus buttons to everyone! I’m just flabbergasted!
This is my fourth year hosting our walk. When I received my diagnosis, there was nothing in San Diego and I needed something. Absolutely needed it. Does that need ever diminish? I must say: nope. Being able to be around EndoSisters who understand, to be able to hug their friends and family and thank them for their support, and to watch other EndoSisters meet and interact: it’s awesome. And it really drives home that the need to be around people who get it…around people who aren’t judgmental…is critical to our mental well-being. Well, mine at least. And we even met a few people along our route that had Endometriosis and will join us next year!
I’m still floating on Cloud 9.
Prior to the walk, 34 EndoSisters completed a survey about their Endometriosis. This sign was displayed at our check-in desk; a way of affirming that we truly aren’t alone in our fight.
The little pie chart in the center is asking if surgery (whether it be excision, ablation, or hysterectomy) helped with their Endo symptoms and pain. The responses were:
1 – It’s worse than before
1 – No Endo was removed during surgery
5 – Yes
10 – No
17 – It did for a while
And my favorite part? We’ve all been told that Endometriosis developing on the spine is “incredibly rare”…yet three, yes THREE, of the 34 women who answered this survey have a confirmed diagnosis of Endometriosis on their spines. Talk about embracing the fact that you aren’t alone!
You can see all of the photographs and video shared by our attendees here.
This year, seven of us delivered a speech together. There’s video out there of the speech (filmed by the wonderful Alyssa Menard):
If you can’t hear passed our sniffles and snorts and giggles and airplanes flying overhead, our words are below. I wanted to send a loving thank you to those brave women who volunteered to speak with me:
Lisa: Thank you, everyone, for coming today. I cannot express enough how much it means to me…to each of us. Can I have all of my EndoSisters join me over here? Many of us were not taken seriously when we would discuss our pain. It may have been dismissed, we were called fakers or weak, or told that it was all in our heads. We’ve heard “Nothing is wrong” or “Pop an Advil” or my personal favorite, “Periods aren’t that bad. Suck it up.” Words like this, treatment like this, is demeaning to an already crushed soul. I gave up. I figured it was normal. And that I was weak, crazy, or just cursed.
Mirna: Our pain has a name: Endometriosis. We aren’t crazy, we aren’t weak, and we aren’t faking. But even with a diagnosis, sometimes our pain still isn’t taken seriously and we are dismissed or judged by the medical community, employers, coworkers, friends, or even family.
Jessica: We are here today to change that. 1 in 10 women suffer, but here we are walking side by side, a mighty force of Warriors. Warriors with an ultimatum to Endo: we will overcome!! We will not be beat. And we are not alone. We may have days where we are forced down, stuck in bed, or in agony as we go about our day…but we will rise again. And we stand with the help of our Sisters, our family, and our friends.
Kelly: Endo just doesn’t cause physical pain. Sometimes we feel like an incomplete woman, robbed of so many dreams. And some of us can be jealous of those who have children, don’t have to carry a small pharmacy around in their purse, or can live a fulfilling and active life. But this community that we’ve built together personally helps me cope with the physical and mental downers. Someone, maybe even you, has been there to support me when I needed it. And here we are today, lifting each other up. This is what we are all about. We are Sisters. We are family. When you go home, please don’t let this energy that you’re feeling die.
Gloria: Friends and family, please listen when we tell you that we are hurting, or we can’t go do something because of a flare-up; don’t judge or criticize us or think we’re lying. Continue to offer that compassion and support I know you all have within you.
Meghan: And to my EndoSisters, stay strong, be there for one another, and don’t be afraid to self-advocate. Push your physicians to do their research to better understand how best to handle our illness. And if you don’t agree with their opinions or tactics, find another doctor. There are great ones out there.
Melinda: One day there will be a better understanding of this illness; of this enemy we all fight together. But until that day, let us hold our heads high and march on. I am grateful for each of you. We are grateful for you. Thank you.
I am so excited and looking forward to next year. If you’re interested in joining us for 2019, stay tuned!
And remember, we are all incredibly strong and powerful. And we can stand up to Endo…Together!