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Endometriosis Research Center
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“ART FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS” EVENT PLANNED
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Artist with Endometriosis Organizing Important Awareness & Fundraising Event
Artist Audrey Fisher, herself diagnosed with Endometriosis at age 14, is coordinating an important event to increase awareness and raise crucial donations to facilitate disease research. Bringing together the Art and Endometriosis communities, “Art for Endometriosis” hopes to raise and contribute $20,000 in donations to the Endometriosis Research Center (ERC). The ERC, an established 501(c)3 tax-exempt, tax-deductible organization, was founded by early 1997 to address the growing international need for Endometriosis research, education, awareness and support. Unlike similar organizations, the ERC is free for all those concerned with the disease and is supported solely through charitable donations and fundraising efforts.
The event, to be held in conjunction with the ERC’s National Endometriosis Awareness Month effort, will be hosted on March 7, 2009 in Denver , CO (gallery and location to be announced closer to the date). There are many ways to participate in this important effort, from artists who wish to donate their own work to the cause, to those who wish to donate financially or otherwise show their support.
Endometriosis is an incurable reproductive and immunological disease afflicting over 7 million women and teens in the United States alone with an estimated 70 million more worldwide. A leading cause of female infertility, pregnancy loss, chronic pelvic pain and gynecologic surgery, the disease also accounts for nearly half of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the U.S. annually.. It is more prevalent than breast cancer, yet continues to be largely treated as an insignificant, obscure ailment. With Endometriosis, tissue like that which lines the uterus (the endometrium) is found outside the womb in other areas of the body. Normally, the endometrium is shed each month through menses; however, with Endometriosis, these aberrant implants have no way of leaving the body. The implants still break down and bleed, but result in far different effects than in women and girls without the disease: painful internal bleeding, degeneration of blood and tissue, inflammation of the surrounding areas, and formation of adhesions and scar tissue all occur. Depending on the location of the growths, interference with the normal functions of the bowel, bladder, intestines and/or other areas of the pelvic cavity can also occur. Endometriosis has even been found at such extrapelvic locations as the lungs and brain.
The disease knows no racial or socioeconomic barriers, and can affect women of all ages from adolescence to post-menopause. Studies have shown that Endometriosis may actually have an even bigger impact on younger patients: one such study discovered that in patients under 22 years of age, the rate of disease recurrence was double that of older women (35% versus 19%). The study also revealed that the disease behaves differently in younger women, leading researchers to believe it is a different form of Endometriosis altogether. Some researchers feel that symptomatic, adolescent-onset Endometriosis is most often a lifelong problem that will progress to severe fibrotic disease. Important research over the past decade has also shown an elevated risk of certain cancers and autoimmune disorders in those with Endometriosis, as well as malignant changes within the disease itself.
Despite today's age of medical advances, researchers remain unsure as what actually causes Endometriosis, though studies point to multifactorial genetic/immunological origins. There is no definitive cure for the insidious illness, despite the continued propagation of such myths that “hysterectomy, pregnancy and/or menopause” are curative. Invasive surgery remains the only certain means of diagnosis, and current therapies remain extremely limited and often carry significantly negative and long-lasting side effects; none offer long-term relief. Despite the hallmark symptoms associated with Endometriosis, the average delay in diagnosis remains an astounding 9 years, and a patient will seek the counsel of 5+ physicians before her pain is adequately addressed. Once diagnosed, it is not unusual for a patient to undergo repeat surgeries and embark on many different medical therapies in an attempt to treat her symptoms.
While some patients may not have obvious symptoms, pain is often the first hallmark sign. Pelvic pain at any point in a woman or girl's menstrual cycle, infertility, pain with sexual activity, gastrointestinal difficulties, urinary tract difficulties, fatigue, allergies, and immune system dysfunction can all be indicative of the disease and should be investigated.
Fisher, who lost her job as a designer for an architecture firm because of her painful symptoms and life-altering effects of Endometriosis, has undergone four laparoscopic surgeries to date in an attempt by doctors to remove her disease. She has also gone through two rounds of hormone treatments, which put her into medical menopause - once at age 14 and again at age 22. Unfortunately, as is so often the case for many women with Endometriosis, the surgeries and medical suppressive therapies did not bring long-term relief. Now able to focus on her fine art, portrait and wedding photography, she uses physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, herbal therapy, kinesiology, nutrition and supplements as a part of her every day life in an attempt to overcome the layers of pain and trauma Endometriosis has caused her in the last 14 years. To visit her work, please visit Audreymichel Photography at http://www.audreymichelphotography.com and http://www.audreymichel.etsy.com.
To join, donate or otherwise support this crucial awareness and fundraising event, “Art for Endometriosis,” please visit http://apps.facebook.com/causes/172819?recruiter_id=34834020. Supporters need not be in attendance to donate or otherwise assist in this event. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
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