Our mission is to increase endometriosis awareness, fund landmark research, provide advocacy and support for patients, and educate the public and medical community.
Founders: Padma Lakshmi, Tamer Seckin, MD
Donate Now

Red Carpet Interviews - Blossom Ball 2018

Red Carpet Interviews - Blossom Ball 2018

- You know it's all a matter of the tips and tricks I've picked up along the way. I've had really amazing people, like Padma, who have come to me and come back stage when I've been doing late night television shows and sat down and been like "Hey, you need these heating pads, this tea, this medicine, and you need to know when to say, 'no.'" And those little things have given me a lot of grace along the way. No one teaches you how to have endometriosis. But, no one, especially, teaches you how to have it and be in the public eye. And so for her to come in having been a model and being on television and say "this is how I deal with it, despite my crazy schedule." It was like having a fairy godmother who was like, "I know your life is really weird and it's been made even weirder by having a chronic illness. But, here's how you can deal with it, and put it all together." And I'm really fortunate to have her.

- [Interviewer] What's your advice to other women who have this?

- I think, honestly, make sure you talk about it so that your peers are aware, and that you can potentially help one of your friends, or your family members from having some late-stage diagnosis that can cause them long-term harm. Speak up about it, don't be ashamed. You are not lesser for having been diagnosed with this. You are greater, you are stronger.

- Well, we're the co-chairs of the event. And so obviously, you literally are looking at patient and doctor, and we've sort of been united on the battle against endometriosis. In my personal life, Dr. Gelbard is an amazing doctor, she's helped so many women along with Dr. Seckin. And so, we decided that we should take it that next level, and really elevate and that's what we're doing. And it's amazing to see all these people come here tonight, to support a disease that, honestly, very few people know very much about.

- [Interviewer] How do you want people to know more about it? How do you think that you can educate them, that people know more?

- We have, tonight, three full tables of educators in the audience. And we're hoping that, eventually, this gets taught in all medical schools, junior high schools, high schools, throughout the country. It's a disease that affects 200 million women worldwide and takes, on average, 10 years to diagnose, and women are just suffering and suffering. And I would say, it is the biggest health crisis for women of today.

- [Interviewer] What do you think is different about this year? What's unique about it? Do you think that because of the, the key to, the time, the evolutions, do you think it's perhaps different for this year?

- I think the universe is ready for this. I think 11% of all women having this disease, the fact that no one really recognizes it or treats it at the right time, is horrible. And, time's up.

- [Interviewer] And obviously, you do this for a living, what makes you, I asked the other section this question also, what makes you get up in the morning and deal with this disease every day?

- These faces. Just look around the room.

- [Interviewer] What do you feel like, when you see someone and you treat them, and they're like, "Wow! I'm in less pain. I can actually be a human again." What is?

- It's like a gift. It's like a gift, and it gives meaning to your life. And keeps you going, and going.

- [Interviewer] What's the hope that you have for the endometriosis foundation and in general, this disease, the awareness, better cure?

- All of the above, early detection, and forming a real sisterhood, so that women don't feel so alone.

- [Interviewer] How do you feel being treated by her as a doctor?

- It's incredible to finally have somebody who listens. That you don't have to justify any of your pain. They immediately accept you and listen. That's half the battle. It's been life changing.

- [Interviewer] So, how proud are you to see Halsey and Lena be at an event like this, and talk about endometriosis like this?

- I'm speechless. I don't have words to describe it. But, we're humbled actually. I'm humbled and very, very honored for the rest of the women in the world who suffers from this disease and are not recognized. They are the voice of their unheard agony and pain. Unrecognized disease, their mistreatment, and everything that endometriosis affects women. They have become a voice. If they haven't given, and lend their persona selflessly, I don't think we would be here. It started with Padma Lakshmi, let's not forget it. She started all of this with me.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- That was ten years ago. This particular cause, sits in the middle of the gender inequality. Women have periods, men don't.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- That's the biggest divide, that's the common denominator. And everything that comes with menstruation as a disease

- [Interviewer] Right.

- is misunderstood along with the taboos of menstruation. So, you take it from there. I mean, that's the secret code of everything.

- [Interviewer] Right. What's the biggest obstacle that women with endometriosis face today?

- I think the biggest obstacle is the insurance companies who don't recognize the disease as a disease, but rather, conveniently, recognizes as a condition. And the big societies that, doctor societies, medical societies, that really are not aware of this disease. But, they will be changing too. I'm very hopeful on that. If they change together with the insurance and thusly to recognize the disease, the surgeons will be more preemptive and more motivated to go after things that they don't get also recognized.

- [Interviewer] How do you think that it's gonna change? You said "hopefully, it will get changed."

- Well, I think that more women are going to be diagnosed early.

- [Interviewer] Mmhmm.

- This is a treatable disease.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- It's very simple. It's a difficult disease to treat, but it's a treatable disease. So, it will affect overall, in the end, many women in numbers that we can't count, we can't measure. It's gonna, it will hopefully change a lot of things.

- [Interviewer] Do you feel that we're on the cusp of an endometriosis revolution considering all the talk in the media about it, and now people being so open about it?

- That's right. I do strongly believe in that. Well, the world, it is revolution because look, it is these kind of moments that will change the attitude of public. This is a taboo issue. A social issue, and it extends to reproductive justice and women's health. Let's think about Betty Ford. If she didn't come 45 years ago from her breast cancer, she wasn't open about it, we may be late talking about it. She did open the subject of big taboo issues about the boobs. And all of a sudden, breast cancer are very early diagnosed, and deaths from breast cancer, deaths have diminished to less than 10%, in five years I expect them to have diminished less than five, ten percent. This is a significant achievement. The value of early diagnosis is gonna be doing the revolution, yeah.

- We're the Resistance Revival Chorus. We're a group of 60 plus women who come together to sing in community and to sing protest songs, and to sort of uplift the message, that joy is an act of resistance. But, when we heard about this event, we were like, "you're gonna participate." Cause this is an issue that directly affects women and we're a huge group of women, all ages, all races, all ethnicities, all religions, who come together to sing in community. And we thought it was a really important issue to stand up for.

- [Interviewer] And now, seeing the progress that they've made, what are your thoughts about that? Have they overcome it? Do they feel better? You know.

- I think that raising awareness, speaking about it openly, and making sure women don't feel shame. I think women are shamed by so many, not just diseases and medical issues, but so many things in culture and society and I think that's part of what we stand for as a chorus. Is that we're gonna be heard. That we're women with a message and we're not gonna be ashamed to speak up and to speak out for issues that are important, that we care about, that we're willing to get behind.

- [Interviewer] How did you guys come together as a group? I'm curious to hear about the story, about the women's movement and how it kind of took off? That sounds really interesting.

- Well, after the Women's March, as Ginny Mentioned, some of the organizers after speaking with Mr. Harry Belafonte, and he said "when the movement is strong, the music is strong." And so that message is so powerful. You know, these women felt that it was time to really start putting music back into the movement of our time right now. But if we can bring joy into doing all of the work that needs to be done right now. If we can bring sisterhood to the organizing. If we can bring happiness to the protesting, and the meeting, and the getting together, that really helps move things forward.

- It's also really important, right, you know in this moment of health care, and knowing that this is something especially, I don't know the numbers around brown women, and black and brown women, how this impacts them, but, I can only imagine. Knowing that they are often at the low end of the totem pole of having health insurance, that this is something that probably directly affects them, I'm sure. And this brings to light, the fact that this needs to be you know, health insurance, needs to be something that everyone has access to, can afford, especially those of folks in color, and those who livin' in poverty. This is, health insurance needs to happen. This disease doesn't just hit folks who have dollars, right? It's those who do not have money. And we've been making sure that we are taking care of everybody in this moment we're in right now.