Written by Kate McGrath Burgess
The month of March is the time when pops of yellow start to appear everywhere in support of Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endo is a disease which affect 1 in 10 women around the world and is caused when the lining of the uterus that grows outside the uterus, triggering inflammation when a woman menstruates. It not only affects a woman’s physical health but every aspect of their life. Currently, there is no cure for endo but organisations like Endometriosis Australia are working towards educating and sharing resources for women affected.
I was fortunate enough to talk to Donna Ciccia, the director and co-founder of Endometriosis Australia, about the work they do, her own experience with Endo and the High Tea events they are running in March.
Donna's first symptoms of endo started when she was 16 years old, but was only diagnosed at 31. This is usually the case for many women and the delay for diagnosis can be between 7 to 12 years. Through an accidental Facebook meeting, Donna found Jodie Dunne, the other founder of Endometriosis Australia. Donna said, “Endometriosis Australia was driven by a need to solve the problem that is endometriosis. We both had very severe disease that was impacting our bodies and we wanted to try and make a difference.”
One of the main things Donna wishes more people understood about endo is how it truly affects a woman’s quality of life. “Endometriosis has the ability to affect your whole body and every facet of your life. Endometriosis can be found anywhere in the body, in and around the pelvic area including the bladder and the bowel and as far away as the lungs and the brain.” This is why the organisation is driven to providing awareness, education, resources and raising funds to continue the research into endo. “With 830,000 women in Australia living with this incurable disease and costing the economy $9.7 Billion AUD annually, we are driven to increase the investment in research funding to help find a cure.”
Endometriosis Australia is holding their annual EndoMarch High Tea. Hosting nine high tea’s in nine different cities around the country, these events bring people together to further learn about endo and what we need to be doing to find a cure. “These events sell out every year and we have an amazing line up of Ambassadors, patients, clinicians and celebrities participating. We are very excited to announce that Samantha Wills will be sharing her story at our Sydney event which is sure to be a sellout.”
“If you can’t make it to one of our Endo March High Tea’s you can host your own event or High Tea with our ‘High Time for Tea’ Campaign which is a great way to raise awareness & funds in your community.”
Donna said the best way to support and spread awareness about endo is to start a conversation. “Have empathy for what some women go through with this disease. Head to our website to learn more about endometriosis and help us be the change. Together we can continue to make a difference for the 830,000 women in Australia.”
“I get to meet so many people from such diverse communities, one thing does stay constant we are all affected by the same disease, it knows no boundaries. I have been privileged to be an Australia Day Ambassador for the past 2 years and meeting people in rural & regional areas drives me to be persistent to get better care and acknowledgement for them, their partners, their daughters, their sisters and their friends. We as a community are all affected in some way shape or form by endometriosis.”
Thank you to Donna for talking to me about Endometriosis Australia and the work they do. Donna works tirelessly to keep this organisation running so I appreciate her taking time out of her busy schedule to chat to me.
If you’re interested in the EndoMarch High Tea events in your city, head to the website for tickets. Alternatively, you could host your own high tea with your friends and family. All the instructions on how to do that are linked here.
Images from: @endometriosisaustralia