Blossom Ball 2018: Tamer Seckin

Blossom Ball 2018: Tamer Seckin

- What a beautiful night, and how beautiful are you, this is history, and welcome to the ninth annual Blossom Ball. Tonight-- Tonight is a special night. It's our night. But it's also the night for the patients who are afflicted with this disease all over the world. They said, the estimate number is 200 million. We like to recognize them here. We also have to recognize the activist women who are really raising their voice through the internet all over the world, in America, trans-continentally from every country in the world, they are the reason why this disease has come to this level now, we are recognizing it. We have an extraordinary evening planned for you. One that I hope will not only educate you about endometriosis, but also will inspire you to join the mission to create awareness around this disease. This year has been quite a year for women. It began with the Women's March in January 2017, most of us, you know. And a grand swell that followed, as every day, people took ownership of supporting social justice, reproductive justice efforts as they declared that they would stand for nothing less than the full protection of their rights, their health, their safety, and their families. We are in the midst of a global feminist movement that called out the Whisper network and brought issues into the open. #MeToo, Time's Up, and the Women's March have mobilized a nation of women, let's include men also, please. As suggested by my daughter, also. And inspired the real change. An infectious nuclear shift in the consciences of America that morphed into a global feminist movement that said, no more. Come on. Thank you. From the first day in 2009 when Padma, Padma Lakshmi and I joined forces to let the world know about a little known, but widespread disease affecting, we are estimating, in one in 10 women of reproductive age, The Endometriosis Foundation has not wavered from its mission. Endo Found, as we are often called, is prioritizing disease recognition. That is, early recognition in adolescent time, in young women, ages in college, providing advocacy for slating expert surgical training and funding landmark endometriosis research. Let me ask you, how many people know about endometriosis before they come here? You know, this was almost one or two tables when we started. This is the change we started. Since 2010, Endo Found has hosted its annual Blossom Ball in the spring to recognize Endometriosis Awareness Month. It's the foundation's primary fundraiser and monies raised go towards education, awareness, and research. We have spent, until now, close to, say 150,000 for research to support endometriosis in different universities from Stanford to Massachusets, from John Hopkins to University of Texas. Tonight, we are gonna honor two amazing women. Halsey and Lone Hummelsoj. We will share with you some very moving videos. The women in these videos are raw with emotions, as you just saw, they shared their stories of what it's like to live with endometriosis. And they are here in this crowd, some of them. I'm sure there isn't going to be a dry eye in the room after you hear their stories. We are honoring Lone Hummelshoj with the Harry Reich award. Harry Reich is the mentor to me, who taught me the quality of surgery that endometriosis deserves. This award is presented to Lone to recognize her extraordinary healthcare professional who are making difference in the lives of women with endometriosis by their practice, research, and advocacy. Lone and I go way back, maybe 20 years. She is a very special person with a deep and unique understanding of the field. Loyal, generous, and kind, she is truly passionate and tireless work, but above all, Lone is uncompromising in her principle to place the women with endometriosis at the heart of everything she does She is a dedicated endometriosis advocate who presents worldwide on the impact of endometriosis and the need for patient-centered care. She worked with us at Endo Found to spread awareness and raise money. For that, I thank her. Congratulations Lone. The catch is, as you will hear tonight, Lone is not here. She couldn't make it because she wasn't cleared by the State Department to enter United States, because she travels to these remote areas in the world to support endometriosis. There was something in her passport, it will take too many days to clear out, and she couldn't risk to be rejected on the border. Tonight, I'm humbled to say that we are also honoring one of the most prominent voices in music today, Halsey. This Grammy nominated, phenomenal young singer-songwriter has become a breakout pop-star in 2014. Halsey has endometriosis. And she has no qualms about sharing her journey with the world. She appeals to a population of listeners young women in particular, who may be suffering from undiagnosed endo. Before I met Halsey tonight, I met her over the internet. I listened to her speech, at the Women's March. I must say, I had goosebumps on my arms, maybe all over, it was so powerful. Halsey's courage to share her endo journey hopefully will open the eyes of so many more young women about endo, and set them on a course towards the care they deserve. Killer cramps are not normal. And best treatment for endo is early diagnosis, and well-timed intervention. Quality of surgery does matter. I'd like to thank Halsey and so many of you in this room tonight, for taking the lead, and shining light on this public health crisis in women's healthcare. Thank you for coming.