Padma Lakshmi - EFA Co-Founder

Padma Lakshmi - EFA Co-Founder

7th Annual Blossom Ball
Monday, April 13th, 2015
A Gala Evening Celebrating the work of the Endometriosis Foundation of America

Welcome to the set of the annual Blossom Ball. I want to thank all of you for coming this evening and this beautiful room. We have actors and law makers, CEOs and models, surgeons, bankers, film directors, writers, restaurateurs, gay people, straight people, people who are not sure, transgendered people, a lot of different people. All who really care about this deeply important issue. 

When we were starting this foundation back in 2009, you may remember this, I remember saying that maybe we should call it the Healthy Womb Society because endometriosis is not such an easy word. But it is not that hard a word at all. In fact last month I was on spring break with my daughter who just turned five and out of the blue, without any coaching or prompting she was in bed with me and she said en..do..me..tre..osis, all by herself. And I think it is because she has heard it said so often. But it taught me a valuable lesson. It taught me that it is really easy to make an issue or concept familiar and understood even a five year old can understand that mommy has a tummy ache and this is what it is called and we should do something about it if we can. We just need to make Congress understand. We just need to make medical schools understand and we just need to make everyone around us understand a little bit better what over 10 percent of all women, our mothers, our daughters, your wives and sisters go through. 

Tonight I want to thank all of you, each and every one of you for understanding and for being here. I want to send a special thank you to my dear friend Senator Jeffrey Klein, where are you Senator Klein? Where are you? Would you please stand up? Senator Klein is my angel. The reason I started the Foundation with Dr. Seckin is because for so many years I wondered what the hell was wrong with my body when other women did not feel like I did when I had my period. And I did not want my cousins or my nieces or the next generation of young women to go through it. I always knew that if we could get into high schools and we could get on the agenda of sex education classes that we could make a difference because no young girl is going to go to the gynecologist. One day we got a phone call from Jeffrey Klein’s office, a cold call. And he said, “Listen, I heard you’re doing this work and I want to help you”. And three years later we have gotten a lot of money from the State of New York and it is all because of Senator Jeffrey Klein. 

We have managed to educate over 6,500 high school students in the New York area alone to date. And that is all because of the hard work of the women and men who work in the ENPOWR Project, so all of you Jenny, Marilyn, Teresa, all of you, thank you so much. They do not get to be on the Red Carpet and they do not get a lot of the attention but they deserve every bit of it because they have worked really hard for a really long time. And all those people who now score 95 percent on it, on the surveys we give, would not know what endometriosis was if it was not for these women, so thank you. 

I also want to thank Credit Suisse for your contribution to our efforts. Where is Credit Suisse? Okay, good. That is where the money is, so whoever the auctioneer is later, that is where you want to punt. 

It means everything to us to have all of you here and to the 176 million women worldwide who suffer, most of them in silence. It matters to young girls in high school who do not understand why their bodies are turning against them. And it matters to the women who just cannot seem to get pregnant. And it matters to the men who love them and the women who love them too.

Last week two women who are very accomplished, whom I admire deeply and are very dear to me, both went to the hospital. I will not mention their names but one had a baby and the other had a hysterectomy and they both suffered a lot unnecessarily because of this illness. And they are both really close in age to me. Beside the fact of how much I love them it really hit home. Tonight you can make sure no one has the problems that these women have faced. It does not really discriminate according to your race, or your financial background, or your education. It is just a really, really painful disease.

As of now we really have no cure for endometriosis but if it is found early and treated as well as monitored we can help prevent having a lifetime of pain and isolation that these women go through. 

At the EFA we always pride ourselves on having a really good time and having really great parties and tonight is no exception. You guys have all given a lot to be here and I really appreciate it. We will try and keep the program really short and we want you to really have fun because it is going to be an amazing evening, I hope you brought your dancing shoes. And more importantly than that I hope you brought your wallets. I really want to be standing here in ten years and reporting to you guys that my team has not done 6,500 high school students but 6,500,000 high school students. Please help us get there and please have a really good time tonight.