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Bindi Irwin, Wildlife Conservationist and CEO of the Australia Zoo

Bindi Irwin, Wildlife Conservationist  and CEO of the Australia Zoo

Leslie Moser

My name is Leslie Moser. You may know me as the human behind the famous Doug the Pug. He's somewhere over there,

I am also an endo warrior. If I can take a moment to have anyone in the room who is a partner, family member, or friend of someone who has battled endo, please raise your hand. You all deserve a huge round of applause and our gratitude for being a pillar of strength. For those of us who have fought this painful disease,

I have learned through my battle with endometriosis that it is these relationships that can get us through the hard days and without the bravery of others sharing their story, I would not be here today with my diagnosis of endometriosis. One day I got a message from my friend Robert Irwin. He told me that he and his family had seen my posts about endo and a lot of the symptoms I shared were in line with what his sister Bindi was experiencing. When he connected me with her and she shared the uphill battle she had been on for so many years, I could instantly see my story in hers. We lived half a world away, but had an instant bond and understanding tied by horrible pain, sleepless nights, misdiagnosis, and the desperation to find answers. She put her trust in my experience, and I watched in awe as she fearlessly pursued her surgery and diagnosis. I've cheered her on like all of you. While she used her incredible platform to bring the much needed awareness to endometriosis, and because of her story, countless women have already been newly diagnosed. That's amazing. Endometriosis is one of the hardest ways to meet some of the best people, and that's what I feel about Bindi. She is one of the most kindhearted people and brightest lights I have ever known, and I feel so grateful to call her a friend. Now, I would love to welcome Bey's mother, Terri Irwin to the stage

Terri Irwin

And the music swells. Here I am. Oh wait, and here's Robert. Hi. This is the Robert that Leslie was talking about. Yay, I gave birth to him. Guys, I just want to say how happy we are to be here and how excited we are to honor Bindi tonight. Bindi was always a really cool kid. She was always very enthusiastic, excited, busy, and a little action kid. In fact, when she was nine years old, she became the youngest person to win a daytime Emmy. That's how much she loved what she did. Yeah, I think she's still the youngest. I think she holds a record. Then at 14, all of a sudden everything changed and when we'd go hiking, she wasn't quicker than me anymore, and then we'd go do things and she would just fall asleep wherever she was in a park on a bus. It was kind of weird. So we embarked on trying to figure out what was wrong with Bindi. Three years went by and we'd had a lot of tests and no results, and she was asked to participate in Dancing with the Stars. So with endometriosis, she danced. She did, and she won. She did.

Then she went on to get married to the amazing Chandler who's a perfect human being. He doesn't drink. I have a designated driver for life. Yes, yes, thank you. And they went on to have little baby Grace. Grace was born when Bindy was 22, and she began having very severe symptoms of something we found out from Robert talking to Leslie that it might be endometriosis, and then she was able to get some help. It's an incredible journey and an incredible race to try to find out what's wrong before you feel like your whole life is going to fall apart. But I want to mention every person here because this race is called a relay, and that's because when one person goes, holy, duly, this is getting hard racing along, trying to tell the whole world about endometriosis, you hand the baton to Robert and then he takes it and he gets the message out. So as we recognize Bindi tonight, I want everyone in here to take on that responsibility. Make sure you take the baton. You've been so generous tonight and we're so proud of what Bindis done, but we all need to take a turn. Hey, Robert. Thanks. Thank you.

Robert Irwin

Thank you, mom. My absolute wonder woman of a mom, I'm very, very lucky. I absolutely,

I am beyond honored to be here and to welcome my incredible sister. Seeing Bindis endometriosis journey was devastating and inspiring, to say the least. It was incredibly hard to see someone that I, and we love so dearly in so much pain every single day, and to hit so many walls, all these red lights, but eventually through a lot of perseverance, which I know is definitely the word that we all use here tonight. Bindi was able to find answers, and as soon as she started down the road of endometriosis, it was green lights, everything started to make sense, and her bravery is something that I will never forget in every aspect of my life. I've always looked up to my sister as one of my biggest guiding lights along with my mom. My two greatest inspirations throughout my life have been women, the two women that I'm about to be joined by my sister and my mom.

They are two incredible forces of nature, and Bindi showed us all through unimaginable pain. It's something I could never imagine going through. She came out the other side of it and decided to use her voice, her platform, and her story to hopefully inspire others. And that's just Bindi. That's what she's all about. It doesn't matter what happens, she gives it 100% and she lifts everyone else up along with her, and that's what all of you guys are doing as well. So thank you. She also taught me something very important, something that I came to realize. It is time for men to discuss and prioritize women's health.

This is the time. This is the time. This is something I've been talking a lot with Dr. Seskin and a lot with my family, and I'm very proud as a bloke, as a dude to be out there fighting the fight and making this, making a discussion, a mainstream discussion that we all have, that we all take together. It's time to unify, so thank you for helping us do that. And now I have the absolute privilege and honor to welcome a fierce businesswoman, a CEO, a wildlife warrior and an endo warrior. It's my sister Bindi Irwin.

Bindi Irwin

You so much. So much. Wow. I wrote down my speech because Thank you. Because I knew I would just make dolphin noises this whole time. So I'm going to try to get my squeaky out of the way and I'm going to read this and then I'm going to squeak some more afterwards. Okay? So bear with me. Alright. Firstly, what an extraordinary honor it is to be here tonight. I want to start by thanking Dr. Seskin and Dr. Chu. Can we take a minute round of applause? Wow. And their remarkable team, they gave me a surgery that allowed me to be standing here tonight. This might be too much information, but I'm about to start my period and I'm able to stand here in high heels. Are you kidding me?

My goodness. For most of my life, my period meant debilitating agony with no end in sight. Before my surgery, I couldn't have done this. No matter how much I wanted to, my endo wouldn't have allowed me, and yet here I am. I'm grateful beyond description to be part of this extraordinary evening. The blossom ball is a beacon of hope for so many, and I'm accepting this tremendous honor on behalf of every person that has been affected by endometriosis. For everyone who has spent years feeling dismissed, unseen and undiagnosed, I am also accepting this award on behalf of every family member and friend who stands by their loved one battling with endometriosis, desperately searching for answers right alongside them. While I'm deeply humbled to be here tonight, a year on from my surgery, I'm here on behalf of the millions of my fellow women and girls who are drowning in their pain caused by this devastating disease.

My story is similar to others. I lived with undiagnosed, unexplained pain, fatigue, and nausea for more than 10 years, both on and off my period. It was every single day of my life. Searching for answers everywhere in doctor's visits, tests, and scans with absolutely no luck. As most people experience, endometriosis leaves you feeling incredibly isolated, especially when you have no idea what is happening in your own body, canceled plans and absence from life. When doctors dismiss you as being hormonal and emotional long enough, you start to believe them. I remember one very vivid doctor's visit when I was at my worst. I was in so much pain and I was getting really, really sad because I didn't have any answers. I felt very lonely and the mental toll it was taking. I felt like I was drowning, and a doctor looked me in the eyes and said, you should try prioritizing self-care.

Maybe start a habit of having a cup of tea every night might help. And then she sent me home and I didn't know how to cope with that. It was really, really scary. To be honest. I was afraid of anyone knowing about my pain because I started to wonder if maybe it really was in my head. Only my closest family members knew about what was going on in my life. As time went on, I met my remarkable husband and I was one of the lucky ones. We got to have our beautiful daughter, but it wasn't until she was born and my pain escalated to new heights. It utterly consumed my life. I knew something had to change. I vividly remember lying on the floor with my daughter next to me, and she was crying and crying because she didn't know what was wrong with me. I was just laying there in so much pain.

I was unable to get up because the pain was unbearable and all I wanted was to be there for my daughter, but endometriosis was sucking away every last piece of joy and my ability to function in life. It wasn't until my dear friend Leslie, beautiful, sweet Leslie, you are amazing. You are a strong warrior. She threw me a life raft when I was honestly drowning. I didn't know how to cope with the rest of my life, feeling the way that I was. She told me about her experience with endometriosis, and for the first time, I had a white at the end of a very long tunnel. Finally, a description of the pain and fatigue that genuinely resonated with me. The 10 years of battling with an invisible illness finally fell into place. It had a name, endometriosis, my beautiful, incredible, wonderful mom, my brother, my husband, oh my goodness, they were there for me every step of the way on this entire journey, and I dunno how I could possibly describe the amount of love and gratitude that I have for them.

They're my entire world. They held me together countless times when I thought I would fall apart. They gave me their strength when I completely lost my own and showed me unwavering determination to find answers when things felt hopeless together, we discovered Dr. Kin's remarkable work. Oh my goodness. I'll be honest. I had a crippling fear that they wouldn't find anything when they went in to do my surgery. Who here has been in for endosurgery and had that horrible fear? Yes. You know what I'm talking about? You wonder what's going to happen when I go in if they don't find anything, because for years you've been told it's nothing and it's in your head. I wasn't sure what I would do, but Dr. Seskin and Dr. Chu were calm and comforting throughout the entire journey, and they reminded me every step of the way that they were there and that things would be okay.

They would find the answers I was so desperate for and they were right. All my endometriosis was removed, and today I feel more alive than I have since I was a tiny child. I can genuinely laugh again and enjoy hugs from my family and friends. For years, hugs hurt and my pain took away my sense of humor and joy, laughing, hurt without thinking. I asked my husband the other day, have you always been this funny? Why poor husband, he's so wonderful. He laughed out loud and then I started laughing because the reality had finally set in that I'm able to rebel in life again. I am no longer a shadow of myself. I hated looking in the mirror because all I could see was the pain and I felt like I had lost myself, and now I feel like I'm gaining my sense of self again. I'm realizing that I am so much more than my pain, and that's something we all have to remember. Every woman, every girl. It is so easy to get utterly unfathomably lost in your pain that you lose yourself in it.

I think that this feeling of being able to laugh with the people that I love, to be able to give my friends and family hugs again, it truly extraordinary. I'm able to take part in the conservation work that is so close to my heart. Once again, the work that we do at Australia Zoo and Wildlife Warriors is so important to me. It's not just my work, it's my life. It's everything. I have grown up wanting to protect wildlife and wild places since I was this big, since I could walk and to be able to participate again and be part of my family again, doing our conservation work, continuing my dad's legacy, hopefully making him proud. It means so much to me. My appreciation for this new life is immeasurable. After sharing my story, I have heard countless stories from others battling with this disease, and I am reminded how strong the human body and human spirit really is.

I will spend the rest of my life trying to raise awareness and hopefully help others who are fighting insurmountable personal battles. With endometriosis, this disease takes away so much and can feel impossible to overcome. My heart breaks for the countless people who haven't been able to receive the medical help that they need. That is why knights like this are vitally important. We need to urge the individuals suffering with endometriosis to keep searching for answers and to never ever give up on themselves. No one deserves to be in pain. Nobody deserves to feel so isolated to feel that sense of loss within yourself. We all deserve to be cared for within the medical system. We deserve to have doctors hearing us and validating how we're feeling, and then helping us to find real answers.

There is a desperate need for more education in the medical community, and that is what you are all helping to achieve. To give doctors the tools to look out for endometriosis and actually believe women who are brave enough to speak up about their pain, my message to every single person that has endometriosis in the driver's seat of their life, please, please remember that you are loved and you are strong, and you are worthy of real, genuine help. I hope that my story may give others the validation that their pain is real and they deserve answers. Thank you to the Endometriosis Foundation of America. You work tirelessly, raising awareness and giving people critical information. Every single person in this room is deeply inspiring and what an honor it is to stand here with you, shoulder to shoulder, side by side, to fight for women and girls around the world. Lastly, and most importantly, I want to thank my daughter, grace, you are my reason for being, and when I look at you, I know the meaning of life. Thank you so much. Thank you.