As the newly elected chairperson of the Endometriosis Association of Ireland (EAI), I wish to take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and the vision the board have for raising awareness of endometriosis.
Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the outgoing chairperson Clodagh Lynam for her tireless work in leading the association over the last number of years.
I am a medical scientist, working in the health service and qualified in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. For 25 years I have lived with the symptoms of endometriosis and like many women worldwide, I struggled to get a timely diagnosis, in my case this took nine years.
Upon diagnosis I was driven to contribute to the education and support of women with endometriosis. I joined the EAI and Endometriosis UK. I became a helpline and support network volunteer (UK) and trained as a Chronic Disease Self Management Tutor. Most recently I was the Team Captain for the Worldwide EndoMarch (Million Woman March for Endometriosis). This was a global event that brought together women under the banner of endometriosis awareness. Their aims are to Empower, Educate and Effect Change. These aims reflect my vision for the association going into the future.
The association is going through a period of rapid change at the moment. We have recruited new board members, with a valuable skill mix. The board is currently addressing key objectives, such as constituting a medical board, strategic management, fundraising events, political lobbying and awareness programmes.
We are currently planning our next information day, with a new format reflecting the views and wishes of members from feedback gathered from this year’s successful event. The 2015 Worldwide EndoMarch will give us another opportunity to bring endometriosis to media attention in Ireland. Planning is already under way for this exciting global event.
We welcome contributions from everyone for all our events, no matter how small. We are here to represent our members, those affected by endometriosis in Ireland, their partners and families.
I would like to see those affected by endometriosis (directly or indirectly) in Ireland getting involved in the association through membership and fundraising. Currently we have a group of women participating in the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon.
I would welcome any suggestions on how we could improve our fundraising activities. Funding is essential to facilitate the information days, support days, website, produce leaflets, educational materials and for administration expenses associated with running the association. We currently do not fund any paid posts.
The EAI and those living with endometriosis face significant challenges such as access to effective healthcare with timely diagnosis, poor public awareness and difficulties in the workplace.
The future goals of the association will be to address these deficiencies by:
To represent the 1 in 10 women with endometriosis in Ireland (up to 155,000) we rely on membership and fundraising. We do not receive government funding or any regular source of income. The board consists of six unpaid volunteers, who donate their time to the association’s activities.
Should you wish to join our association please visit www.endometriosis.ie, here you will find information on endometriosis as well as the opportunity to participate in our online forum. Members will have access to various files and videos from our information days. Our donation
page is http://fundraising.endometriosis.ie
I would encourage everyone to get involved in promoting and supporting the EAI through our social media presence, website and information days. Should you wish to volunteer your time or skills, please contact us on email@example.com
I look forward to meeting you at our upcoming events and will be in touch throughout the year. Keep an eye on our events page or sign up for our newsletter for all our events.
Kathleen M King
MSc BSc Biomedical Science, Dip Acupuncture and TCM