EveryWoman day was established to raise awareness and funds for lesser-researched health conditions which seriously affect quality of life for women as well as some which can kill them.
The cause of conditions such as interstitial cystitis, fibroids, endometriosis and infertility are still not well understood. Gynae cancers are less talked about than breast cancer because we don’t want to discuss “women’s troubles” – a tag which is still guaranteed to shut down questions and conversation. But women’s troubles can be painful, life limiting or life threatening. It’s time to talk.
Dr Karen Gardiner, MD of Purple Orchid, which established EveryWoman Day said: “We have started the campaign with photos of the names of some of the many conditions painted onto the bellies of women whose ages span five decades. Women’s troubles happen below the waist and above the knee, 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 many of these diseases for decades in part because money goes to better known and, some would argue, more important diseases.
“If we don’t talk about these conditions and their effect on our daily lives, that will never 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 and/or their jobs on track – and who doesn’t know someone like that? Anything from bathing a newborn baby after you’ve had a Caesarian to putting breakfast out for kids before school when you’re in the middle of cancer treatment can be an incredible achievement.
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.”