2010 was a year of growth for the EAI. As planned, we increased the number of support group meetings across the year to four, with two in Dublin, one in Athlone and one in Cork.
World Endometriosis Awareness Week 2010 was a busy one for us; as well as the Information Day which has become an annual event, Kathleen King organised an information stand and information morning on our behalf in Letterkenny General Hospital. For the first time we made a support line available each evening of Awareness Week and created a format for members to host awareness- and fund-raising End to Endo coffee mornings. Our income in 2010 went up by 22% on the previous year, enabling us to fund the increase in activities.
Along with an increase in the activities of the organisation, the community that we reach expanded in 2010. More women came in contact with us as a direct result of the increased number of support group meetings, and through our presence on facebook and twitter. Membership was up by almost 50% and the number of people contacting us by phone and email increased substantially, as did the number of visits to our website. As more and more women come in contact with us, our emailing notifications list continues to grow. Each year, the EAI is able to continue to provide its services and resources because of the dedication and commitment of women with endometriosis who volunteer their time, experience, expertise and energy. At the AGM in March 2010 we were delighted to welcome four
new faces onto the committee, who brought a wealth of experience and an impressive range of knowledge and expertise to the operation of the Association over the past year. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with all of the committee, both long-standing and relatively new, and it is with sadness and regret, but profound appreciation that we say goodbye to those who are obliged to step down this year, for a variety of reasons.
Appreciation and heartfelt thanks are due also to volunteers who are not on the committee, but who contributed in 2010 in a variety of ways to the welfare of women in Ireland with endometriosis. Thanks in particular to those who volunteered to allow their experiences of endometriosis be published in the national media, helping to ease the isolation experienced by many women with the disease, to those who continue to contribute to the online members forum, providing invaluable information, moral support and practical advice to other women, to those who helped organise support groups, and to those who raised funds and raised awareness through End To Endo coffee mornings and sponsored events, such as the Flora women’s mini-marathon.
Although the level of awareness and understanding of endometriosis, among both the general public and the medical profession, is still a long way from satisfactory, the rise in numbers of women looking to us for information and support suggests that awareness of the disease is growing, however slowly. As an organisation dedicated to supporting women with this disease, we can only celebrate such growth. But we are conscious that as awareness grows, the demand for services and information provided by the EAI will also continue to grow.
Looking forward, our focus must be on planning strategically so as to discover, develop and make effective use of the range of resources that we need in order to respond to the needs of the community that we serve, the community of women in Ireland who have endometriosis.