by Maria Mamora
Photo by Kevin Zhang
In 2017, four of the founding members of the Endometriosis Foundation of Houston (EFHou) met at a screening of Shannon Cohn’s “Endo What?” hosted by our friend, Melissa Tison. During the screening, my sweet husband consoled me as tears streamed down my face. I heard sniffles throughout the room, and oddly enough, that sound was comforting knowing that I was not alone. After the Q&A panel with Dr. Dulemba and Dr. Garza, several of us exchanged contact information to keep in touch, and that's how the Houston Area Endometriosis Group was born.
What is our mission?
The mission of EFHou is to raise awareness about endometriosis and related conditions, and to improve the quality of life of individuals affected by this disease in the greater Houston area.
Advocate is a verb
What inspires me?
Going undiagnosed for over 22 years inspires me to help others. I have had four surgeries, pelvic floor physical therapy, worked with a functional medicine doctor, mental health therapy, and I am still continuing my work on healing and recovery. This is the first year where I have truly made peace with my body. I didn't want others to go through the heartbreak of losing faith in their own bodies, feeling isolated, or feeling helpless. After decades of being gaslit and undiagnosed, it's easy to doubt yourself and your body. While I may not be the best with technical terms or citing all the different studies (that’s Alison—and thank goodness for her!), I can offer community organization. I like to bring people together and make things happen.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge those of you who have taken steps to seek better care for this disease. You deserve praise for your perseverance and courage. I know it hasn't been easy, but you made it this far. Now, it's time to focus on your recovery, healing, and celebrate your body. For those of you who are waiting on surgery, please hang in there. You will get through this, and we are here to support you. For those who lack the resources to get the care you need right now, please know that we will continue to fight for you. Our goal is to ensure that everyone has access to the care they need, and we won't stop until we achieve that. You all continue to inspire me.
Endometriosis Awareness March in Dallas (2019)
What are our accomplishments?
In the past 4.5 years, we have made incredible strides. We launched the “Rethink Endo, Break the Cycle, Be the Change” campaign, which aimed at increasing awareness about endometriosis and empowering individuals to take control of their health. In the midst of the pandemic, we revved up our online interactive speaker series, Tea Talk, to highlight multidisciplinary care for endometriosis. To support our focus on the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to endometriosis care, we launched the Healing Hou: Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Scholarship Program in 2022. We partnered with Empower Yourself PT to award a total of 20 pelvic floor therapy sessions to two scholarship recipients (10 apiece). This year, because of the generous support from the community, we are able to award THREE scholarships! And there’s more for us to share soon!
Members of EFHou and Baylor College of Medicine (2022)
We need your help
We are now down to four board members, and it's a lot of work for us. We are also fortunate to have two dedicated and hard-working interns. We are emotionally, mentally, and physically tired. In order to continue this work, we need your help. You can step up and apply to steer EFHou to the future by becoming an ambassador. As an EFHou Ambassador, you will help bridge the gap by providing individuals with the information and support they need to manage their condition effectively. Many individuals who suffer from endometriosis often struggle to get a timely diagnosis, and even when they do, they may not have access to the right treatments. This can lead to years of pain and suffering, as well as a host of other health problems, including infertility, chronic fatigue, and depression. We need our community and healthcare providers to Rethink Endo. This is how you can help.
An EFHou Ambassador is someone who is a trailblazer in advocating for awareness, education, and research around the condition. This person may be someone who has personally experienced endometriosis and is taking an active role in sharing their story, raising awareness, and advocating for improved treatments and support for others living with the condition.
The EFHou Ambassador Program is also a way for our supporters to become more involved with EFHou and in helping shape the landscape of endometriosis awareness and education in our Houston Area community.
Melissa & Maria at the Endometriosis Summit (2020)
Funding and support are crucial for the Endometriosis Foundation of Houston. Without the support of the community, the organization will be forced to cut down on its involvement and endometriosis activism. We need your support to continue to turn our pain into purpose and Break the Cycle.
To learn more about the EFHou Ambassador program, please visit: https://www.efhou.org/ambassador
Maria Mamora is one of the co-founders of the Endometriosis Foundation of Houston and currently serves as the Chairperson. She enjoys traveling with her family, spending time with their four dogs, and doing quick getaways to Las Vegas.