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by Rachael Comer

A Timaru schoolgirl will use her tap-dancing skills to help raise funds for a programme close to her heart.
Emma Brown (16) was diagnosed with endometriosis three years ago and has had five surgeries since then to treat the condition.
It has also meant she missed half a year of school in year 10, and is not always able to take part in extra-curricular activities.
She has organised a Timaru variety concert on Wednesday next week to raise funds to bring the ME (menstrual health and education) programme to South Canterbury schools.
“I think people need to be more aware of endometriosis and that’s really the whole aim for me,” Emma said.
“It’s a subject that not many people want to talk about but it has to be talked about.”
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is found in places outside the uterus. In most cases, symptoms include period pain, pelvic pain and infertility.
Emma’s condition means she has “intense” abdominal pains which are not always eased with pain relief.
“People ask what it’s like and it’s really hard to describe. It can be really sharp pains or it can be dull and achy.”
The diagnosis came about after she woke up one day with intense pain.
“I went to the hospital but no-one could tell me what it was.”
Endometriosis was initially ruled out and no-one else in her family had the condition.
She waited a year to get an appointment at Oxford Women’s Health in Christchurch where a laparorrhaphy showed she had the condition.
“It was a relief to know that I wasn’t going insane,” Emma said.
“It was hard to hear though that I had it, as it is quite a severe condition.”
She now takes the contraceptive pill to manage the condition and pain relief, including codeine and morphine.
The surgeries she has had involve a camera being placed in her abdomen.
With her diagnosis Emma learnt about Endometriosis New Zealand and the programme it runs in schools.
“I thought this would be a good thing to have in South Canterbury, so contacted Endometriosis New Zealand and talked about the programme.”