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Q&A with Jala Smith A Young Advocate Hosts Fundraiser to Promote Awareness in School

Jala Smith started an Endometriosis Awareness Week at her high school, where she sold yellow ribbons and presented information about endometriosis to over 100 students.  Learn more about her fundraiser for the EFA!

Jala Smith started an Endometriosis Awareness Week at her high school, where she sold yellow ribbons and presented information about endometriosis to over 100 students.  Learn more about her fundraiser for the EFA!

EFA: Please describe the fundraiser that you hosted.

Jala: Beginning March 14th I held a weeklong fundraiser at my high school. I sold yellow ribbons during lunch for any donation price and on March 16th we had a yellow out day where everyone in the school wore yellow. I also held a seminar and presented to 100+ kids, both male and female. 

 

EFA: What kind of impact did your event have in your local community?

Jala: So many girls have no idea what endometriosis, ovarian cysts or anything like that is. It's sad because some girls could have endometriosis, or something similar, and they would have no clue because they think what they are going through is normal. I believe that my fundraiser was a major eye opener. Now people realize that although my disease is invisible, it still exists.  

 

EFA: What made you want to support the Endometriosis Foundation of America? 

Jala:I had planned an Endometriosis Week at my school (located in Michigan) and I wanted to send the proceeds to a foundation. The EFA was a major help to me during my fundraiser.

 

EFA: Why is it important for others to support the EFA?

Jala: I believe that it's important to support EFA because you never know who you could help. I believe that any amount of money can help and supporting this condition is essential.

 

EFA: Why are EFA awareness initiatives like The ENPOWR Project and Awareness Day important? 

Jala: Awareness Day is important because endometriosis is not a common disease. Not many people, or women specifically, are aware of the disease. When anyone does something to get the message out, it is important and means a lot especially to someone like me who battles the disease daily.

It was suspected I had endometriosis at the age of 10 (started my menstrual cycle at 10) but I didn't have my first laparoscopy until I was 13.

 

EFA: Can you share a little bit about your personal story with endometriosis?

Jala: It was suspected I had endometriosis at the age of 10 (started my menstrual cycle at 10) but I didn't have my first laparoscopy until I was 13. I had an ovarian cyst before I knew I had endometriosis and, when I had my first procedure for endometriosis, we found out I had a very severe case. I will be 17 this year and I will be having my 4th surgery in August. I fight this disease daily but it only makes me stronger. 

 

EFA: Describe the impact you have seen in the community through the work you have been involved with. 

Jala: Endometriosis is a painful disease that can't be seen. Many people realize that if you have the disease you are a strong soul. This is because it's not easy getting people to understand your situation if they can't feel for you and since you can't see the disease many don't feel for you. But, that's changing because people are now becoming educated. 

 

EFA: What advice would you offer for anyone who might be interested in volunteering for the EFA?

Jala: My advice to anyone who wants to volunteer for EFA is DO IT! Any support is needed and welcomed! We appreciate it so much! 

 

THANK YOU JALA!