On September 1, 2018, the first day of PCOS Awareness Month, PCOS Challenge: The National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association will kick off the inaugural World PCOS Day of Unity. People around the world will come together in solidarity to promote PCOS Awareness and support those who are impacted by polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS is a genetic, hormone, metabolic and reproductive disorder that affects 10-15% of women in the U.S. and up to 21% in other countries.
“For too long PCOS has been a silent epidemic,” says Sasha Ottey, Executive Director of PCOS Challenge. “PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder and cause of infertility in women. PCOS can lead to lifelong complications as well as life-threatening diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and endometrial cancer. Despite being one of the most common human disorders and its serious health consequences, PCOS continues to be one of the most underfunded and neglected areas of health. With 50-70% of women with PCOS going undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, many healthcare and community leaders are now recognizing the urgent need to increase awareness.”
To recognize this historic World PCOS Day of Unity, cities and landmarks around the world will display teal-colored lights in support of women and girls with PCOS. The event will bring together patients and supporters, researchers, healthcare providers, industry leaders and others in an effort to educate the global community about PCOS and start a worldwide conversation about the need for timely diagnosis and improved treatment, care and outcomes for women and girls with PCOS.
On September 1, World PCOS Day participants will wear teal apparel to promote awareness: at work, in their communities and across social media. PCOS Challenge encourages followers to share personal videos, post testimonials and use hashtags and teal photo overlays to spread the message across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To directly impact healthcare policy and research, PCOS Challenge urges U.S.-based participants to contact their legislators about co-sponsoring H.Res.864, which recognizes the seriousness of PCOS, and sign the petition to the National Institutes of Health, which calls for PCOS to be recognized as a serious health concern that demands national attention and government support.
The PCOS Strong team, a group of women made up of PCOS advocates, activists and PCOS Challenge Patient Advisory Board members, has been instrumental in outreach and organization of the World PCOS Day of Unity.
“I am participating in the first ever World PCOS Day of Unity because we have felt alone for far too long,” says Shelby Eckard. “Women’s stories need to be shared to create the much needed public awareness that drives the change this community desperately needs.”
Jenifer Gutke says, “It wasn’t until I did my own research that I truly learned about PCOS. Countless doctors did not explain PCOS or its risks to me. Now, I am battling uterine cancer. I am participating so other women won’t have to go through what I went through!”
“By joining in this monumental event we are ending the silence and empowering community members to live happier and healthier lives,” says Ashley Levinson.
Ginny Silvestro says, “Uniting worldwide, as one large voice, can allow us all to be heard by everyone – the medical field, government officials, and even ourselves. You are not alone!”
For more information about the inaugural World PCOS Day of Unity, lighting events, other PCOS Awareness Month events or to schedule media interviews, please visit pcoschallenge.org and pcosawarenessmonth.org.