Anouska Black has been incredibly busy these past few months, campaigning for a cause very close to her heart.
Anouska has been raising awareness about endometriosis, an illness she was diagnosed with at the age of 19, and has been going the distance to educate people on the life-changing impact it has.
“March was Endo awareness month and myself and many others have spoken up on social media, taken part in the Global EndoMarch and many other awareness activities,” shares Anouska. “The EndoMarch saw sufferers, politicians, medical professionals and family members marching right across the world - in places ranging from London to California - on 19 March to raise awareness!”
Since her diagnosis seven years ago, Anouska has made it her goal to support other women like her:
“Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age - that’s 176 million women worldwide and 1.6 million in the UK. These statistics show that endo affects more women than breast cancer and is as common as asthma and diabetes, yet many suferers - as well as the public and medical professionals - have still never heard of it.”
Anouska’s illness means she is often in excruciating pain, has a weakened immune system and has struggled with infertility:
“Along with the physical pain of the disease, there are life-changing consequences. Myself and my partner have now been accepted and are on the waiting list for IVF, however a lot of women are worse off than me and have been rejected for IVF - they have the heartache of never being a mother.
“I am blessed to have my miracle baby, Bailey, who turns 9 this year.”
In addition to her partner, Chris, and mum, Alison, Anouska has found a sisterhood of support: “Endo Support Group NI is a group that meets every month in Belfast, founded by the amazing Ana Jamison. She and its members have been campaigning for the past 4 years to get a specialist centre for Northern Ireland.”
Last year, Anouska became the Irish administrator of a global support group on Facebook, ENDOvisible - a role that she considers a privilege:
“It has really helped me on a personal level and in spreading awareness. There are many support groups on Facebook but this one is great as we have different groups for different aspects of the disease: teen groups, infertility, pain management, health and nutrition, etc.