AboutUs

Learn some more about the team

Who We Are

The Endometriosis Association of Ireland is Ireland’s national endometriosis organisation. Our purpose is to support and represent those impacted by endometriosis, by empowering the patient and advocating for change. Our vision is ready access to a timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment with lifelong care. The EAI supports its members by raising awareness, providing up to date information and advocating for best practice in related healthcare policy. 

Our Team

Historically the Endometriosis Association of Ireland has been led by a small group of voluntary Board of Directors. September 2023 marked a significant milestone for the organisation as we welcomed our first-ever employees.

EMPLOYEES

Ayisha Lightbourne

COORDINATOR

Ayisha struggled with debilitating period pain as a teenager, which escalated in her early 20’s. She considers herself one of the ‘lucky’ ones, as she received her diagnosis in a year after presenting with her new symptoms. Having doctors who did not dismiss her pain was essential for early diagnosis. She is passionate about improving the experience of women living with endometriosis, which motivated her to pursue her Master’s in Public Health and Health Promotion, where she researched women’s experiences of endometriosis in the Irish healthcare system. Her professional work has involved youth development and mentoring, and she aspires to engage in work that promotes equality and diversity in healthcare access and the management of chronic conditions.

Sharon Maxwell

COORDINATOR

Sharon has extensive personal experience with endometriosis and PCOS. She has faced delayed diagnoses, and multiple surgical and pharmacological treatments in her attempt to manage the symptoms. This has given her a deep understanding of the numerous challenges those living with these chronic health conditions endure. Sharon has 20 years of experience in the community and voluntary sector. She holds social policy, family support, and community development qualifications. Sharon’s professional work has involved coordinating and delivering various community development activities in the areas of integration, community education and health. She is committed to using her expertise and personal journey to assist the EAI to further its objectives in supporting the endometriosis community.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Damien Donoghue

Vice Chair

Damien is a registered nurse and project manager with 20 years experience in healthcare, with the last 5 years in senior management. He sits on another Board as a director but was drawn to EAI as his partner had suffered terribly with endometriosis. Through his own lack of understanding of the disease as a clinician and the personal impact it had on his partner’s health and fertility, he decided that he wanted to help the EAI make the changes necessary to improve education and services for all that suffer.

Ilanna Darcy

CHAIR

Ilanna has over 10 years multinational experience at senior executive level, covering operations, strategy setting and investor relations management. After suffering painful, heavy, erratic periods as a teenager she was diagnosed with PCOS and put on the pill. She then went on to live a relatively normal, pain free life for 20 years until she wanted to start a family. After struggling to conceive she was advised to try fertility drugs. At the first scan, fibroids were detected and after a few months trying unsuccessfully she was advised to move on to IVF. After a battery of tests, a laparoscopy was performed and endometriosis was diagnosed. Stage 3 and predominantly on the bowel, the doctor was unable to treat it all, but he had high hopes of success. However, each round of IVF failed. Determined to find a solution, she went on to seek holistic therapy and found a fertility acupuncturist, and after 4 months had regular, pain free, clot free periods, and went on to conceive her miracle child who was born in 2018. Being acutely aware of how lucky she is, Ilanna brings her passion for continuous improvement and taking on a challenge to the EAI, in the hope that positive changes made today will ensure that future generations do not suffer needlessly.

Dr Geraldine Canny

Board Member

Geraldine Canny holds a B.Sc. in Biotechnology from the University of Galway and a PhD in Immunology from University College Dublin and currently works at South East Technological University.  During her PhD and her Postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School she conducted research on inflammation in the intestine. Subsequently, as a Senior Lecturer at Lausanne University Hospital and the University of Lausanne, she established and ran a translational research programme on endometrial biology and endometriosis. This work, financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation and other funding agencies, involved a three-pronged approach using molecular biology and cell culture, clinical samples and a mouse model of endometriosis and resulted in the discovery of novel biomarkers and several publications.  Geraldine facilitated a patient information group, which enabled peer-to-peer support for almost 5 years. She also established the regional platform for a public-private partnership devoted to patient education. Geraldine is passionate about enabling rigourous, ethical research which will positively impact the lives of those suffering from endometriosis and wants to see this progress in Ireland. Patient and Public involvement are key to achieving this goal. 

Claire Carrara

DIRECTOR

Claire is a senior market researcher with 12 years’ experience at international level and has specialised in mapping patient journeys both in oncology and, currently, in ophthalmology. During her professional career she witnessed the impact of patient community lobbying on research and gaining access to better treatments. She believes that this is something that is sadly necessary to bring changes to the treatment and management of endometriosis in Ireland. Like too many endometriosis patients, she was diagnosed after many years of struggle and was faced with a lack of an effective treatment and answers from the medical world. Having been finally diagnosed with a less severe form, she is aware that she is one of the lucky ones and feels a responsibility to help the community. She strongly believes that the voices of endometriosis patients should be at the forefront of the actions and strategy of EAI.

Louise Doyle

Board Member

Louise is a seasoned Digital Marketing Specialist with nearly a decade of experience within the hospitality industry. 

Diagnosed with endometriosis in her early 20s, Louise shares the experience of many who are initially prescribed hormonal contraceptives for managing painful, heavy, and irregular periods, which masked her symptoms until she had to come off the pill for surgery for another condition. Following an ablation surgery in 2013 and an excision surgery in 2021, she has become a passionate advocate for the endometriosis community.

Louise wants to help amplify the voices of those affected by endometriosis by advocating for improved access to timely diagnosis, effective treatment options, and comprehensive post- surgical care. She firmly believes that all individuals with endometriosis deserve access to a holistic, patient-centred approach to help manage their condition more effectively.

Aoife Mullen

DIRECTOR

Aoife is a public affairs and strategic communications consultant with 10 years’ experience in both the public and private sector. She was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 25 in 2017, and like many people, her path to diagnosis was a 10-year battle with medical professionals who were unable to link obvious symptoms with endometriosis. Aoife feels passionate about supporting the work of the EAI and helping others who are seeking a diagnosis and treatment, and does not wish for others to share her experience. She strongly believes in timely, equal access to diagnosis and treatment, and the need for integrated care post-diagnosis that takes into account an individual’s symptoms and personal experience of the illness. She also believes in the need for better awareness and understanding across all society to reduce the burden on those living with endometriosis.

Aisling O'Reilly

Treasurer

Aisling is a qualified accountant and also holds a Masters of Economic Science in Policy Analysis. Aisling suffered with symptoms of endometriosis from a young age and was first hospitalised with the condition at 16, although it would be a further 6 years until she received a diagnosis. After receiving surgical treatment at 22, she was advised her options for managing the condition were extremely limited. Her symptoms continued to severely impact her daily and earlier this year, she was hospitalised and it was confirmed that Aisling had stage 4 endometriosis since 2018. She has recently undergone further surgery for endometriosis and hopes that in the future others do not have similar experiences to hers. Aisling is passionate about raising awareness and understanding of endometriosis, ensuring access to timely medical care, and supporting the work of EAI. She strongly believes in the need for post-diagnosis care and the introduction of structured clinical pathways for those with, and seeking, diagnosis of endometriosis.

Ciara Beirne

DIRECTOR

Ciara works in the construction industry as a Project Manager. She was officially diagnosed at 29 years of age with Stage 4 Endometriosis after having experienced painful periods since her early teens and having had 2 large endometriomas removed. Ciara is passionate about making a positive difference and turning her own experiences into something positive to help others. Like many others who experience symptoms of Endometriosis, it took a long time to finally receive a diagnosis and it is her hope that with greater education and awareness, there will be an improvement in the journey that those suffering with Endometriosis face. She is delighted to be part of the EAI and to support their work in supporting and advocating for those impacted by Endometriosis.
 

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Nadia Surriaya Bhatti

DIRECTOR

Nadia is a qualified barrister, with a specialism in employment law. She holds an LL.B. degree from Trinity College Dublin. Nadia is passionate about patient advocacy and working to remove the gender gap in healthcare outcomes.
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