The Endometriosis Foundation's founder and CEO Carla Cressy from Essex, England, suffered from most of the obvious signs of Endometriosis from the age of just 13, but despite multiple visits to her GP and being under the care of a gynaecologist aged 14, along with several emergency admissions to A&E, her symptoms were dismissed and wrongly diagnosed for over a decade.
Carla was officially diagnosed with Endometriosis aged 25, over a decade after her symptoms started.
Her late diagnosis impacted much of her adult life, resulting in enduring multiple life changing operations, including a laparotomy (open surgery), several laparoscopies, a unnecessary appendectomy, reconstruction of her bladder, bowel surgery – resulting in a temporary ileostomy (stoma), and a total hysterectomy – taking away the chance of her ever bearing her own child, and forcing her into surgical menopause at just 29 years of age.
To this very day, Carla has never received any information or support outside of her family and friends.
As a consequence of her suffering, she decided she wanted to make a difference. She set up an online support group which now helps thousands of people. She began carrying out talks in local schools which led her to starting a national campaign to raise awareness of Endometriosis in education.
Her campaign was supported by the late Sir David Amess - former MP for Southend-West and Chair of The Endometriosis Foundation, to which on March 14th, 2018, The Endometriosis All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) was formed, and a little over a year later, Endometriosis was included in the school curriculum.
Pictured: The Endometriosis Foundation's founder & CEO Carla Cressy and the late Sir David Amess at The House of Commons.
"I became intimately familiar with the difficulties that can arise when faced with an Endometriosis diagnosis, including the impact it can have on one’s physical and mental health, fertility, and ability to pursue a career.
Through the support of my medical team and my own dedication to my recovery, I was able to emerge from this experience stronger and more resilient than before. Now, I am eager to use my experiences to help others".
"Ultimately, my goal is for this charity to be everything that I never had".
Video: The Endometriosis Foundation's founder & CEO Carla Cressy and the late Sir David Amess discuss Endometriosis and setting up The Endometriosis Foundation: The House of Commons.
On March 7th, 2023, The Endometriosis Foundation official launch event took place at the Palace of Westminster, House of Lords. The event marked the formal launch of The Endometriosis Foundation's initiative to accelerate the availability of trusted and transparent information, awareness, education and support of Endometriosis by taking action on becoming the first choice organisation for people affected by the condition.
You can read more about the launch event over on our blog.