EveryWoman Day is all about shining a light into dark places, to improve the health and wellbeing of millions of everyday women who do extraordinary things every day to manage the pain, indignity and challenges of a reproductive health condition.
Most of these diseases, such as endometriosis, lichen schlerosus and interstitial cystitis, are so poorly understood that they can take a decade to diagnose. It’s shocking that there is so little known about so many of these conditions, which can strike anyone regardless of other aspects of their health, wealth or background. It’s vital that we raise awareness, funds – and hope.
Traditionally, we have been embarrassed to talk about these problems. But the more we share our stories, the more women can learn how to manage the same condition – because often there are no cures.
That’s why the EveryWoman Award and £250 prize will be presented to the woman who shares the most inspirational story about dealing with these problems with the eye-catching visual “belly selfies” on EveryWomanDay.com.
Since these can be embarrassing problems, the belly selfies allow you to share your story anonymously. It’s all about sharing – in that way we are caring for each other, supporting and uplifting each other.
At EveryWomanDay.com you can also donate to relevant charities so that they can help to fund much-needed research, or provide relevant information to support women, or help them to get the appropriate help.
Less than 2.5% of publicly funded research is currently devoted to the whole area of female health conditions, so it’s not as if cures or new medicines are becoming available all the time. Women must manage their symptoms as best they can with whatever lifestyle changes, medicines and therapies are available to them.
As well as raising awareness and funds, it’s important to raise hope. Women who live with these conditions are awesome and deserve recognition. That’s why we’ve launched the EveryWoman Day Award with £250 as a prize.
Women can be in pain and 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.
The more women share their stories about how they cope with their conditions, or overcome them, the more our hopes can grow.
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.
“Women’s health issues 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.
“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 added: “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.”