To take on the role of a true friend requires far more than most are willing to invest.
Meet Julie – friend extraordinaire.
Julie (aka @JulieRay916) is Deborah‘s friend and graciously agreed to a #LemonChallenge interview.
My name is Julie Christy, I am a twenty-five year old wife and mommy to a ten month old baby boy. I am from Danville, Virginia and live in Melbourne, Florida where I grew up (I moved from Virginia to Florida when I was a baby, moved back to Virginia as a teen and came back to Florida when I was twenty one.). I am a full time nanny taking care of two children and my own son in the process, I will be “retiring” in May to be a stay at home mom and wife.
Have you ever been diagnosed with endometriosis?
I have never been diagnosed with endometriosis.
How did you initially become aware of endometriosis?
I was first made aware of endometriosis when a childhood friend mentioned having it, nothing was really researched or explained in detail because we were young and just didn’t understand the importance of it. I really became aware of endometriosis and how it can affect someone when I met Deborah Bradshaw.
As someone who has not received the diagnosis of endometriosis, what role do you see yourself having with regard to endo awareness/support?
I want to take on whatever role will bring awareness and support at it’s best. I do not have endometriosis and will never know truly how someone with endometriosis lives on a day to day basis but I have been with Deborah since before she lost her sweet angel Avery and through it and now to this day and I think it is so so so important that not only the women who may have or do have endometriosis should be educated and supported but that the people who do not have it are educated and understand. So many women take for granted every day things that women with endo would die to have. I thank God every day…every.single.day for my son because I know that God could’ve chosen a different path for me.
What responsibility do you feel, or have you assumed, regarding sharing your knowledge of endometriosis with others, and why?
I think my responsibility in sharing my knowledge of endometriosis with others is like my responsibility in sharing my faith of the Lord, you may not get through to hundreds of people BUT if one person hears you, you’ve made a difference. Endometriosis is a HUGE deal and I feel my responsibility as a woman, whether I have endometriosis or not, is to spread the word, to get the awareness out in the open so girls can be diagnosed sooner and research can flourish and so that women like Deborah know that even though I may not be going through it, I am sympathetic and I care and want to understand as much as I can.
Tell me about #LemonChallenge – how did you come to be involved with it?
#LemonChallenge is something that came about because Deborah and I were text messaging back and forth discussing that we needed to come up with something to raise awareness for endometriosis like they have ALS. My next thought was that yellow was the color for endo awareness so what could we do with something yellow and we decided on lemons!
What do you hope will be accomplished through the #LemonChallenge?
I hope that we can make endo awareness huge and educate more people on what it is and how it affects people, not just the women but their family and friends also, and to raise money for the research center so they continue to have enough funds to find a cure for this horrible disease.
Please share the link to your #LemonChallenge video and tells us what it was like to produce it.
I made two videos because my first one was so long and I don’t have rights to the music.
It was awesome to produce these videos knowing that if we could share them all over we could educate women and girls and their families and friends and get awareness all over the place.
What advice do you have for others who are interested in creating a #LemonChallenge video to raise awareness about endometriosis and funding for a cure?
If you’re interested in creating a video, do it! There aren’t any real stipulations, except to suck the lemon for five seconds and nominate as many people as you want and make sure to donate to the research center. Share with your family and friends what you are doing so they can share it too.
How many girls/women do you know of, personally, who have received the diagnosis of endometriosis? How many people do you know who have ALS?
I know of at least four or five women I am close with who have endometriosis, at all different stages. I do not know anyone with ALS.
How has endometriosis changed / affected you? As the friend of someone with endo, you have been touched by it.
Endometriosis has changed me in that it has humbled me, it has made me more caring and cautious when people write off bad period symptoms as it being just “that time of the month” or when people throw around pregnancy talk and treating women like their only purpose in life is to conceive and have babies, because it’s not. Period symptoms sometimes aren’t just period symptoms, they are real pain caused by something extremely hard to live with when someone has endo. People rarely think about a woman being infertile, and I’m not saying people should walk around on egg shells but just have some compassion. It has made me realize that there are absolutely amazing, beautiful mothers out in this world who don’t have children of their own so to speak but that mother step children better than some mothers treat their own children.
Is there anything you would like to say to women who have been diagnosed with endo?
I would like to say although I know that sometimes it doesn’t seem like much coming from someone who doesn’t have endometriosis, I care, and I sympathize with you and I want you to know that I never take for granted anything. They need to know they are beautiful inside and out and that this disease will not take over their lives as long as they don’t allow it. God is always with you even in the darkest moments and the most important thing is that it’s okay to cry and be angry, just don’t stay angry.
What advice would you like to share with family and friends of women with endometriosis – any tips you can offer on how to support, what role to play, how best to help?
Just educate people, make people aware that this disease is real and happening every day to millions of women. Share facts with EVERYONE and let them know about the research center and how they can donate. Be supportive, just let them know you are a shoulder to lean on and you have an ear to listen, even if it’s to let them cry or vent.
What is the biggest challenge to women with endometriosis that you see from your standpoint?
The biggest challenge to women with endometriosis that I have seen is not being diagnosed soon enough and infertility and accepting those circumstances.
What period wise challenge would you like to share?
What one word sums up endo for you?
Is there anything else you would like to share that’s not covered in the questions?
Women who suffer from endo need to be reminded all the time that they are beautiful inside and out and that although things seem unfair and challenging, God is always working.