An online circus cabaret event is set to raise funds for a charity supporting people with endometriosis across the UK.
Ring-side seats are available to all for 24 hours from 7pm this Saturday.
And the cabaret promises a feast of feats and acrobatic entertainment from performers based across the globe.
Keri Dixon, 35, a mum-of-four from Nottinghamshire co-founded Endo Support United, with Yorkshire mum, Angela Bradley Wells.
The two teamed up to provide support for their young daughters who were both diagnosed with endometriosis in their teens, but found there was very little help for sufferers of that age.
Endometriosis – or ‘endo’ – is a long-term condition that causes tissue similar to the lining of the womb to grow elsewhere such as around the ovaries and other organs as well as inside the pelvis.
The tissue thickens and breaks down with each menstrual cycle, but becomes trapped as there is no way for it to exit the body.
It can act as an irritant, causing scar tissue and adhesions – abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other.
Endo causes painful or heavy periods and can lead to infertility, fatigue, bowel and bladder problems, as well as mental health issues.
Keri said: “I’ve been a member of social media support groups for a long time, and they have been fantastic. But some of the important conversations around impacts of endo – such as miscarriage or pain during intercourse – were not what my daughter needed when she started having symptoms aged just 10. I realized very quickly there was nothing for her age group.”
Keri and Angela launched a support group – Teens with Endo – which later evolved into the charity Endo Support United.
The charity aims to raise awareness of the condition, provide support for adults and adolescents with the illness, and campaign for better understanding in schools and healthcare settings. Keri said: “Most doctors still believe that teenage endo is a myth. Young people are presenting with symptoms and yet doctors and school staff tell them ‘it’s just a period, get over it. Teenagers are missing school and daily activities because of the pain, but they start to think it’s just a normal period because that’s what everyone is telling them. Parents don’t always realise there’s something wrong, because the doctor has told them it’s normal. But living with endo can lead to mental health problems – we get messages on a daily basis from teenagers who are having a hard time. It’s a life-long condition, but it is possible to have manageable spells. However, the longer treatment is delayed, or the condition ignored, the worse it can be when the surgeon goes in. I don’t want others to go through this. Things need to change.”
As well as offering support, the charity also campaigns for change. Last year the group launched Project Prepared – a campaign to tackle period poverty by providing care packages including free sanitary products to young people under 19 across the UK. The charity has also created an information package for healthcare and school settings to educate professionals on the symptoms and impacts of endo on teens.
Keri said: “Everyone involved with the charity is a volunteer. Angela and I have an enormous amount of help from our team, who are located across the UK. One of our members is a circus artist who has just had surgery for endo and she has organised an online circus cabaret with circus artists from around the world. People will be able to watch it for 24 hours and the proceeds will support all our work by helping to pay for the campaigns as well as postage and packaging. Like so many charities, we’ve struggled to fund-raise through the pandemic, so now we’re trying to rally support to help us keep going.”
The online circus cabaret is on Saturday 25 September 2021 at 7pm. Tickets are £8 and are available via Eventbrite.
Teens with Endo and Endo Support United are run by a group of volunteers, who provide support, information and advice as well as campaigning for change. Press release issued by Nat Wakefield, Nat Writes freelance writer, journalist, PR: [email protected]