‘Super excited’ ME happening

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by Rachael Comer

A Timaru schoolgirl’s fundraising efforts will benefit young women in the region.

Emma Brown (17) was diagnosed with endometriosis three years ago and has had five surgeries since then to treat the condition.

The Roncalli College pupil spoke to The Courier in March about her plans to raise money to bring the ME (menstrual health and education) programme to South Canterbury schools.
Since then she has raised enough money for the courses, the first of which will be held in Timaru in August.

“I’m super excited that’s finally happening,” Emma said.

“The support has been overwhelming and I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported the cause.”

She hoped the courses, which will be presented to 550 Timaru girls, would raise awareness of endometriosis.

“It’s a subject that not many people want to talk about, but it has to be talked about,” she said.

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is found in places outside the uterus. Symptoms include period pain and pelvic pain and the disease can cause infertility.

Emma said she suffered from “intense” abdominal pains which were not always eased with pain relief.

Through her diagnosis she learnt about Endometriosis New Zealand and the menstrual health and education programme it ran in schools.

She thought the programme would be beneficial for South Canterbury schools, so contacted Endometriosis New Zealand to find out more.

She organised a charity concert to raise money to run the programme. She also received a $500 grant from the Coffee Culture Charitable Foundation, as well as one from Altrusa Timaru.

“When I first started this, I thought it seemed like a really big job, but I gave it a go and everything started to fall into place,” she said.

“It was just a dream of mine to do this, so to get it to happen is amazing.”

The menstrual and health education course runs in Christchurch, Nelson, Marlborough, Auckland and Wellington schools and is funded by grants, businesses and community organisations.

The course would be held at Roncalli College next Tuesday from 12.30pm and would be compulsory for years 9 and 10 girls, Emma said.

“Then, at lunchtime, there will be a get-together for year 12 girls and anyone else who has questions.”

Times and dates for courses at Timaru Girls’ High School, Craighead Diocesan School and Mountainview High School were still to be confirmed, Emma said.