Padma Lakshimi Endofound Co-Founder - Mady J. Schuman Executive Director

Padma Lakshimi Endofound Co-Founder - Mady J. Schuman Executive Director

Endometriosis Foundation of America 2014
Sixth Annual Blossom Ball – Padma Lakshmi/Mady Schuman

Padma Lakshmi:  I want to thank every single person in this room. I want to thank Tamer Seckin and Elif and Susan Sarandon, my mom and the waiter pouring your drink right now. Everyone who worked so hard and there are so many people who are not on the red carpet and are not in a dress up here who really deserve to share this evening with us. I want to thank everyone who really pulled together and worked very hard in a million different ways; from Laurence who did the flowers and did an amazing job again on two cents, beautiful. To all my board members to Mary Kay Daniels to the S…wind Company, everyone, everyone, everyone.

Tonight, I am not going to talk that much. Tonight I am not going to tell you my story because if you are in this room you probably have heard it before. Tonight I would like you to hear from other voices, important voices. We are honoring two amazing individuals and we will hear from them. We will also hear from a young girl whose story is incredibly compelling.

But first I would like to introduce you to our new executive director. She comes to us with decades of experience, over 30 years of experience and we are frankly very, very lucky at Endofound to have her as our executive director. She has done amazing things before us and we hope she will do even more amazing things with us. We already off to a very, very strong and brilliant start. Please join me in welcoming the amazing, the very funny, Mady Schuman.

Mady Schuman:  My God, thank you Padma. I am much shorter. Thank you. This is an exquisite room and thank you for being here tonight. I am so privileged to have been chosen to lead Endofound as it enters its sixth year.

Endofound is a relatively tiny organization with two visionary co-founders, Padma Lakshmi and Tamer Seckin. Dr. Seckin, where are you? And a small but devoted board and staff tackling one of the most pervasive and devious health crises of our time. Remember one in ten women in the United States, an estimated 176 million women worldwide have endometriosis.

I have been with Endofound for only nine months and the passion for our mission, from our supporters, volunteers and vast community of women with endometriosis here and around the world is truly electrifying. And thank you all for joining us tonight.

The Blossom Ball is Endofound's signature event and our only fund raising event of the year. It is the one night a year for all of us to get together and celebrate our hard work and accomplishments. So let me just take a moment to share some of our milestones over the past year.

Endometriosis finally came of age as the New York State Department of Health recognized the disease along with obesity and substance abuse as the three most critical issues facing our teens. This was championed by our powerful new friend in the Bronx in Albany, State Senator Jeff Klein. We cannot thank him enough for including endometriosis in the teen health awareness campaign. Senator Klein and Padma have been relentless spokesmen in getting the word out. Over 10,000 teens filled in the online health survey in just three months.

I am looking around the room and I am sure the majority of you live in New York State and I am sure you do not need to be reminded that it is tax season. So please check the box or have your accountant check the box on your New York State return. A portion of the monies will be donated and come back to Endofound for our educational programs. Programs like our new Empowr Initiative – a school based education program that the New York State gave us a grant, a very big one, to launch this year. It allowed us to create the Endometriosis Nation promoting outreach and wide recognition Empowr. Terry Davidson joined our staff as Director of Education and Outreach and she and our three interns have already reached thousands of adolescents, their teachers, coaches, school nurses and parents through this program educating them all about endometriosis.

For the entire month of January we brought our “Killer Cramps are Not Normal” message to Rockefeller Plaza in a window donated by EHE International. We had over 20,000 hits on social media on the first day. And thousands of people walked by our window every day for the entire month of January.

Most importantly there is the Rose project – Research OutSmarting Endometriosis. It is true, thank you. This is Tamer Seckin’s visionary dream. Dr. Seckin has dedicated his career to the compassionate treatment of patients with endometriosis. However, he realized a long time ago that skillful surgical treatment is only one means to ending the suffering of millions of women. Rose is the first project in the United States to solely investigate endometrial tissue to the deepest genetic signature. Endofound sponsorship of Rose at the Feinstein Institute at North Shore LIJ is this organization’s crowning achievement to date. It is just the beginning of a long term partnership in endometriosis research.

We thank our friends and colleagues at Lenox Hill Hospital – where are you all – for their stewardship and commitment to this project, and to Drs. Peter Gregersen and Christine Metz and to our very own Tamer Seckin for their vision – where are you guys – everybody should give them a round of applause. This is huge! This is really huge! We at Endofound look forward to the great work that will come from this collaboration.

This day cannot come to an end without a shout out to the stellar faculty who came from around the world to participate in our fifth annual medical conference that was held earlier today and continues tomorrow.

I also want to give a shout out to Lone Hummelshøj. Lone, your endless hours year after year helping us with program and helping me learn the ropes in this early tenure of mine. We could not do this without you.

And Harry Reich – where is Harry? Harry, where are you, hello Harry. You are a pioneer and have inspired so many in your lifetime of compassion and commitment to women’s health care including Tamer Seckin. We are privileged to present the inaugural Harry Reich award this evening but more about that in a moment from Dr. Seckin.

It is wonderful to have a strong philanthropic community behind us and a dedicated medical community working with us. It is the work we do together that makes the difference. This evening let us celebrate our achievements, look to the future and have a ball, a Blossom Ball.

Thank you very much and now I would like to ask Tamer Seckin to come to the stage.