EFA Blossom Ball 2016
8th Annual Blossom Ball
I was – I knew Allison was beautiful and articulate. I did not know that I would be having such a little weep fest down there. I love you Allison so much you have been my sister for six years now. You are such an amazing support and taken such good care of me. I am really happy that you allowed me to direct you in pivotal, emotional scenes while I was on large amounts of Percocet. I feel sure that that was fun for you and that you really felt that the ship was being steered in a really great direction. I love you so much, thank you.
I guess I would have probably preferred an award for like pole vaulting or an Oscar, something that thank you I guess. I guess I would like to start by thanking my uterine tissue for growing in places where it should not. I would like to give a shout out to my fallopian tubes for their hard work through this. I would like to thank my ovaries. You know I love you ovaries even though you have acted like pretty bitchy and weird for the last 15 years; and most of all I would really like to thank my bladder and urethral sphincter for really like holding up through some rough times this year. So I am feeling really good – my team has just been amazing and I have got to give all my love to my team.
But seriously, this means so much to me. I am not a doctor. I do not even play one on TV but I have been given the very unique opportunity to have an audience to share this struggle with, and one that is so private and so painful, emotionally and physically for so many women. Alison sort of articulated everything about the illness that I would have needed to without having it, which is probably why she is such a good actor and impressive person. She also went to Yale and it is not a big deal.
I am also in a position of extreme privilege. I can help create my own schedule. I have the financial resources to seek medical care outside of my insurance network and I even have insurance in the first place. I can take the time I need to recover without worrying about rushing back to a minimum wage job or feeding my children. I am also really lucky that my parents, Carroll Dunham and Laurie Simmons, who are here tonight with me, have always encouraged me to speak up when something feels bad and wrong, when I needed help and answers. They have picked me up off the floor countless times over the last 15 years and I love them not just as parents, but as friends.
Even with that support and believe it still took about ten years for anyone to figure out just why I was in so much pain. I am so glad and so grateful the EFA exists and is helping the world to better understand this disease and to end that delay to diagnosis.
Here is the part where I ask you for money. I myself have pledged. I am not going to like brag about how much but it is not like a small amount of money, so just, you know be cool. Padma says it is a lot and I am not as rich as some people think I am, so it is a big sacrifice on my part and I am feeling really good about it. I hope you will too because guess what, medical research is really misogynistic. Endometriosis affects about ten percent of women and last year the NIH spent less than $10,000,000 on research. They have sunk far more money into diseases that affect far fewer people and I think we all know that is because of the stigma that surrounds reproductive health in this country. So let us let our dollars speak and give to a cause that may or may not seem sexy or essential to some but hey, what is sexier or more essential than vibrant, healthy women?
I really want to thank Padma for her amazing support, not just tonight but because since the moment she learned I had been diagnosed she reached out. Not for help with the EFA, not for money, just because she wanted to connect and be there for somebody else who had shared her experience and to me that is the definition of sisterhood and quiet activism. That sisterhood is so powerful and so healing as evidenced by Alison, as evidenced by Susan, this group of amazing women who have been assembled. I would also like to thank my doctor Randy Harris in Los Angeles for diagnosing me but more for believing me. It changed my entire life to be heard and so I love you very much Randy. You are not here but this is for you.
Thank you all so much for being here.