Happy 30th Birthday, QENDO!

By Jessica Taylor, QENDO President | Transcript of speech presented at 30 Year Gala Dinner

In August of 1988, while Brisbane was celebrating World Expo, a group of dedicated and determined women and their support groups, joined together to form the organisation that we are celebrating tonight, 30 years later. The Endometriosis Association Qld Inc. OR as we all know it, QENDO.

“I’d like to begin by sharing a story that I truly believe tells the tale this organisation.

A girl was walking along a beach where thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean.

People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said,

”Why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish.
You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girls seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could back into the ocean.

Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

Since 1988, this organisation has supported thousands, making a difference to each “starfish” along their journey. It has survived the decades, despite the storms it has faced along the way. It has picked up the pieces of the crushed and deflated, misdiagnosed uneducated and unsupported...and nurtured, provided guidance and information to help them back on their feet with newly found confidence and purpose. QENDO has revived and hurled their very own starfish back into the sea.

The organisation has seen individuals come and go. It has watched families grow when they were told it wasn’t an option. It has been the sounding board for thousands of women and girls and provided the soil for many to plant their seed and friendships to grow.

And this is because of the people who make up and support QENDO. You guys. The nurturing, optimistic stars who are driven to making this world a better place for their sisters in the community.

There is an endometriosis movement and it coming from the ground up. It’s from the sea of starfish who have raised their voices and decided they were going to do something about it.

QENDO have pioneered endometriosis into the eyes of schools, clinicians, the public and parliament.

From regular support clinics at the Wesley hospital, school talks and education seminars in the early days, to the thousands raised and donated directly to research.

We hold monthly endomeets in over 11 locations across the state.

We launched a jewellery range

We held the first education series over three nights at the university of Queensland.

We partnered with Eve Health, Pelvic Pain Foundation, Gold Coast private Hospital, the Mater, The RBWH the Wesley and many more facilities to hold information sessions for the community.

We hold monthly Hour of Endo sessions.

We are pushing for the Menstrual Education program to be adopted into Queensland schools.

We rebranded and relaunched new brochures.

QENDO assisted in forming the Australian coalition for endometriosis which has lead to the first national action plan and will see the lives of the next generation completely change, for the better.

What an incredible line up of achievements. You all should be so proud.

And all this has been recognised at a national and international level. In the lead up to the organisations 30th birthday, we have received many letters of support and congratulations.

Debra Bush, Endometriosis New Zealand and a long time friend wrote to us with the following:

I’d like to take this special moment to congratulate you on celebrating your 30th anniversary. This is
an outstanding achievement and you have every reason to kick your heels up and celebrate.

Endometriosis New Zealand proudly acknowledges your work, your remarkable achievements, your commitment to support those with endometriosis for thirty years.

Your journey in this field of endometriosis can be shared with only a few others in the world.

In each of those countries decades ago, there were one or two women who realised there was a job to be done and got on and did it.
Women who had a big story with endometriosis themselves, often one that was life altering, but that was secondary to the matter at hand.

The matter at hand was in fact,
the millions of others.

In those days, it was quite a different landscape. There was no social media, money was scarce, judgements were common, stories were not encouraged.

While we can all look back and be proud of our accomplishments, what matters most is what we do together next, how all stakeholders collaborate and turn the tide of fate for those with endometriosis now and future generations to come. Qendo, you are firmly fixed in the endometriosis community world-wide, so here’s to another successful thirty years and beyond.”

-Thank you, Debra for sharing this with us.

The months of planning towards this celebration has been worked at continuously by Cara, Bridget, Jaime, Rebecca, Meredith, Jude and the entire team. And I would like to make a special thanks to Cara and Matt for running the show tonight. Hayley and Drew, from Hang me on your Wall photography, thank you for capturing this celebrations. To our fellow endosisters who will speak tonight, thank you for sharing your story, and to Margaux who has seen a friend struggle through the disease and was so willing to support us. Thank you.

I’ve only been here for a 10th of the journey. But I am so proud of what these incredible people have achieved and I feel honoured to be apart of the ride.

As a very wise woman once said,
It is not one person; it is the coming together of a group of people all with the same aim in life - to make life a little easier, if they can, for their fellow sufferers. (JP OAM 2001)

Please join me in a toasting to our current volunteer team of 44 and extended QENDO family, who continue to work through the storms, pick up the starfish and hurl them back into the sea.

Thank you for the support. Here’s to the next 30. Cheers!

Jessica Taylor, President 2018

The materials available on or through the website www.qendo.org.au [‘QENDO’] are an information source only. Information provided by QENDO does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition.To the maximum extent permitted by law, all contributors of QENDO make no statement, representation, or warranty about the quality, accuracy, context, completeness, availability or suitability for any purpose of, and you should not rely on, any materials available on or through the website qendo.org.au. QENDO disclaims, to the maximum extent permitted by law, all responsibility and all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you or any other person might incur for any reason including as a result of the materials available on or through this website being in any way inaccurate, out of context, incomplete, unavailable, not up to date or unsuitable for any purpose.