Weekend just passed I took part in the Million Woman Endo March 2015 in London. The aim of this was to raise awareness of Endometriosis which you may have seen me blog about before. March is/was (we’re on the last day of it now) Endometriosis awareness month so it was the perfect time to hold a march.
Why is this important?
1 in 10 women in the UK have endometriosis and there is a small charity called Endometriosis UK which supports the million and something women in the UK who have endo. There are as many women with endo as there are people with diabetes (just to put some perspective on it) diabetes charities have A LOT more staff and A LOT more awareness. Everyone has heard of diabetes, right? And while this is great they have that support, with so many women having endo isn’t it about time there was something done for them as well? It’s something that, if diagnosed earlier can have far more treatment options – although there is no cure. The fact GPs don’t always know much about it or don’t have access to sufficient information about support means many women are left undiagnosed, in the dark about what a diagnosis means or left feeling completely alone with a condition which impacts areas of the body that don’t come up in ‘normal’ conversation.
What did we do?
We marched along Embankment, past Big Ben and into Parliament Square, all around there and to Downing street, we then made are way along to Trafalgar square. We carried banners, held placards and passed out information leaflets. There wasn’t any shouting or balling, just a walk with people whose lives are impacted by endo, showing solidarity and trying to raise awareness as lots of people and cars passed us.
How did people react?
It was interesting seeing people’s reactions. The last time I was in London for something like this it was the 2010 ‘no to higher tuition fees’ march with thousands of other students. It was much larger and louder and much more of a protest than an awareness march. You’d be surprised at the range of reactions our endometriosis march got, we had people beep their car horns in solidarity, we had people taking leaflets and trying to pronounce endometriosis, we had people rolling their eyes and I over heard one woman questioning why marches needed so many people (“because one person with a flag isn’t enough – duh!” I wanted to say). Generally people either showed interest or screwed their faces up in confusion.
But I didn’t once feel put off. I knew with each person reading our banner and each person reading the leaflets we were putting a condition on their radar which they wouldn’t otherwise know about. Sometimes a whole ‘Britishness’ takes over people where they get all shy or unsure of themselves when speaking up about things.
Was it worth it?
Absolutely, the journey to London and day spent with Becca (fellow Southampton support group leader) helped me get to know her a little better and made me feel as though we were united in speaking out about endo. It allowed me to feel comfortable in representing a condition that concerns an area of the body people don’t usually want to talk about. It made me feel strong to see so many other women walking by me and it was so encouraging to see all the partners, friends and relatives walking with us.
Oh and we visited this great place for vegan/vegetarian food afterwards in Brixton called Vegbar give it a visit if you’re ever around
What can you do to help?
As I have probably said in previous blog posts, educate yourself by going to the endo UK website and if you’re feeling generous please donate. Although there is no cure the money goes into keeping the charity going. I don’t know what I’d do if endo UK didn’t exist. Volunteering with them has given me a sense of power over a condition which otherwise leaves you feeling helpless and isolated. Any amount donated can help support groups and information days going which provide vital support to women who suffer terrible symptoms and sometimes life changing surgeries.