A Gala for Women's Health and Empowerment: Inside the 2018 Blossom Ball

Over 400 guests descended on Cipriani 42nd Street in NYC on March 19th in celebration of The Endometriosis Foundation of America’s 9th Annual Blossom Ball 2018. The evening highlighted the struggles women with endometriosis face today, and honored the courage and achievements of Grammy-nominated singer Halsey and World Endometriosis Society CEO Lone Hummelshoj. The two women were recognized for helping shed light on the reproductive disease, which affects an estimated 200 million women worldwide. 

The night centered on the theme of women coming together to raise their voices to demand an end to the stigma surrounding endometriosis

“We are in the midst of the global feminist movement that called out the whisper network and brought issues into the open,” said Dr. Tamer Seckin, co-founder of EndoFound and an endometriosis excision specialist. “You know this [event] was almost one or two tables when we started. This is the change we started. We have spent until now close to $750,000 on research to support endometriosis in different universities from Stanford to Massachusetts, from John Hopkins to the University of Texas.”

The evening was filled with poignant patient testimonials which silenced the room. Girls creator and star, Lena Dunham detailed the trauma of her first period, and her first experience with the disease, at the age of 12. “I was at a state fair,” she recalled, “and suddenly I experienced the most searing pain, and I literally just fell to the ground.” Dunham recently made headlines for revealing she had undergone a hysterectomy in an effort to address her lifelong endometriosis pain. “When I tell people that I had a hysterectomy for endometriosis, I say to them it's a painful choice, but if I wanted to be a mother, which I do, there was no way I was going to be able to be a parent with the level of pain that endometriosis was causing and that hysterectomy in many ways freed me.” 

The Resistance Revival Chorus, a group of 25-60 singers who recently performed at the Grammy Awards with singer Kesha, then performed their rousing spiritual, “Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind Stayed On Freedom)”.

Blossom Ball Co-Chair, Dr. Sandra Gelbard, took to the podium to highlight the disparity between the number of women with endometriosis and the lack of knowledge across the medical field. 

Endometriosis is without a doubt the most under-recognized women’s health crisis of our time,” said Gelbard. “As an internist in private practice for the past 12 years, it’s amazing that I only first heard about endometriosis just a few years ago. They never taught me about it in medical school, they never mentioned it in all my years of training, and yet today it’s become an integral part of my practice as I help more and more women manage this disease.” 

Fellow Co-Chair Subrata De, a journalist and television news executive, then took the mic and revealed she is a patient of Seckin and Gelbard. 

“It’s because of doctors like Sandra Gelbard, Dr. Karli Goldstein and of course, the formidable, Dr. Tamer Seckin, that I can stand here tonight, healthy and with renewed hope that my body is my own again. And it’s because of role models like Halsey, that those of us in the endo community have begun emerging from the shadows."

Halsey, resplendent in a J. Mendel gown, took to the stage to accept the Blossom Award in a ten-minute unscripted heartfelt speech that brought many in the audience, including her partner, rapper G-Eazy, to tears. 

“If you’re struggling with endometriosis or any chronic illness for that matter, you need to know it’s not something that makes you weak, it’s about what you have overcome. And every battle that you’re in helps you win the war at the end of the day. Keep talking to your friends, keep supporting your loved ones, to the women in your life, make sure that they don’t feel ashamed to talk about their reproductive rights, to talk about their reproductive experiences, because the only way for this—for us to gain control of this—is to speak about it."

Past recipients of The Blossom Award, which is presented to courageous women in the endometriosis community, have included Susan Sarandon  and Lena Dunham.

 

<< Previous Article
Dr. Tamer Seckin: We Are in the Midst of an Endometriosis Revolution
Dr. Tamer Seckin: We Are in the Midst of an Endometriosis Revolution

By Sheena FosterPhoto credit: Getty Images The revolution will be televised!Ten years ago, Dr. Tamer Seckin and Padma Lakshmi joined…

Read more >

Next Article >>
Do You Suffer From Debilitating Period Pain? You Could Have Endometriosis
Do You Suffer From Debilitating Period Pain? You Could Have Endometriosis

By Tamer Seckin, MD, Gynecologic Surgeon, as told to writer Lauren Urban This story originally appeared on The Well by…

Read more >

Reviews

  • Kim Molinaro

    Kim Molinaro

    Prior to meeting Dr. Seckin and reading his book, “The Doctor Will See You Now”, I knew little to nothing about endometriosis. I was led to believe that endometriosis was not a serious condition. I was told that the pain could be managed by taking the “pill”. I was told that the cysts on my ovaries were harmless. I was…

  • Rebecca Black

    Rebecca Black

    Fast forward 5 years to find out incidentally I had a failing kidney. My left kidney was only functioning at 18%. During this time, I was preparing all my documents to send to Dr. Seckin to review. However, with this new information I put everything on hold and went to a urologist. After a few months, no one could figure…

  • Monique Roberts

    Monique Roberts

    I'll never stop praising Dr. Seckin and his team. He literally gave me back my life.

  • Erin Brehm

    Erin Brehm

    I had a wonderful experience working with Dr. Seckin and his team before, during and after my surgery. I came to Dr. Seckin having already had laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis 5 years prior, with a different surgeon. My symptoms and pain had returned, making my life truly challenging and my menstrual cycle unbearable. Dr. Seckin was quick to validate my…

  • Anita Schillhorn

    Anita Schillhorn

    I came to Dr. Seckin after years of dealing with endometriosis and doctors who didn't fully understand the disease. He quickly ascertained what needed to be done, laid out the options along with his recommendation and gave me the time to make the right decision for me. My surgery went without a hitch and I'm healing very well. He and…