EveryWoman Day is a campaign about common but poorly understood women’s health conditions. The EveryWoman Award and prize will be presented to the woman who shares the most inspirational story about dealing with these problems using the striking visual “belly selfies” on the EveryWoman Day website.
The campaign aims to raise awareness and funds for research – both will improve quality of life for women in pain who face challenges every day just to keep going to work, or getting the kids to school, or looking after elderly parents or a multitude of other things that need to happen.
Problems such as interstitial cystitis (IC), lichen schlerosus, endometriosis and many others have no cure, are life-limiting and last forever. Women have no choice but manage their symptoms as best they can. There is little hope of improvement because there is so little research. There are no equivalent male health conditions.
The women who live like this are awesome and deserve recognition. That’s why there is an award and £250 of M&S vouchers as a prize.
The more women share their stories about how they cope with their conditions, the more women learn how to cope with theirs. The health problems can strike any woman regardless of background and other factors.
Dr Karen Gardiner, MD of Purple Orchid, the women’s self-care company which established EveryWoman Day said: “We started the campaign with a set of striking photos which demonstrate how every woman can contribute to the conversation anonymously – post a photo with a word on their belly that resonates for them, and write their story.
“The names of conditions are written onto the bellies of women whose ages span five decades. Women’s troubles happen in this area, and we wanted to symbolise the fact that they have been kept under wraps, but they no longer need to be ‘below the belt’.
“There has been little drug development for decades for many of these diseases, in part because money goes to better known and, some would argue, more important diseases.
“If we talk about these conditions and their effect on our daily lives, that may change. If the incidence and more importantly the impact is better understood, the pharmaceutical industry may consider more research and subsequently, development.
“Women can be stuck with these problems for life, therefore they have to manage them for life. So, by sharing information, we can reduce the feelings of isolation. More women can potentially improve their symptoms and reduce their suffering. Lives can be improved by talking about what works and what doesn’t, what makes things worse, how to cope with the debilitating effects and simply how we get through each day of pain, exhaustion, depression and other difficulties.”
EveryWoman Day is about ordinary women doing extraordinary things every day, just to keep their families, their lives or their jobs on track.
It’s not always Mum who knows best, sometimes daughters have more knowledge. And a modern girl’s problems can be recognised by an older woman who has lived through a similar experience in a different era. If we can acknowledge and celebrate our own strengths, share stories, inspire each other and make difficult topics easier to discuss, we can all live longer in better health.
Dr Gardiner said: “We women can give ourselves a hard time about the things we haven’t done, rather than appreciating the things that we have achieved.
“So, get involved, don’t be silent. Paint, scrawl or scribble your relevant word on your belly using lipstick, marker pen, face paint or whatever else works, take a photo and post it on the website and share on social media with your story. EveryWoman needs you.”