"White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black." --G. K. Chesterton
Earlier this month, my new white dress arrived on my doorstep. I ordered it in celebration of National Fibroid Awareness Month and in support of The White Dress Project, a nonprofit organization that is committed to raising funds for research and awareness for uterine fibroids in hopes that women with fibroids will be empowered and will no longer have to suffer in silence. Tanika Gray Valbrun, the founder of The White Dress Project, had this powerful vision, a vision that I believe in, and so I donated to The White Dress Project this month. I have also used my social media platforms to encourage others to do the same.
According to Compare-UF, seventy-five percent of all women are believed to have fibroids and thirty percent have symptoms, which can include heavy and irregular menstrual cycles, anemia, pelvic pain, and gastrointestinal and reproductive problems. Of the number, African-American/Black women account for 85 percent of women who are diagnosed with uterine fibroids. Black women are 2-3 times more likely than White women to be diagnosed with fibroids (2020 Compare-UF The Problem By The Numbers fact sheet).
As an African-American woman, this is an issue that has touched my life. In my early 20’s, I was diagnosed with fibroids and endometriosis. Over the years, my fibroids and endometriosis has caused pelvic pain, bloating, anemia, and heavy and irregular menstrual cycles. At times, like many women, it also has made me hesitant to wear white.
Now, at 36, I am finally starting to win my battle with fibroids after changing my lifestyle and eating habits. I have cut foods that are rich in estrogen from my diet and I have started to take herbal supplements. As a result, I have eliminated my largest fibroid, which measured nearly 7 centimeters (See Challenging the Status Quo of Fibroid Treatment article). Needless to say, this represents a major health victory for me.
Next month, to celebrate I plan to host a one-hour virtual White Celebration, where I am inviting my close family and friends to join me as I share my testimony and thank the Lord for this breakthrough. Additionally, I plan to play a virtual health trivia game with my family and encourage them to take care of their health, and to support The White Dress Project. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate a health victory. This is my way of moving the needle on fibroid research, raising awareness, and caring for my family and community.
In my view, more research is needed on the role that dietary and lifestyle factors play in the growth of fibroids. In many current research studies, diet and lifestyle are often not considered as possible risk factors for the development of fibroids. I believe this can change with the advocacy of organizations like The White Dress Project, which
inspires hope for women like me.
I wear white because I am a victor and I am an advocate for health equity and change. Will you wear white and be an agent for change? For more information on The White Dress Project, please visit https://thewhitedressproject.org/mission-and-vision/. Donate today! To make a donation, visit https://thewhitedressproject.org/donate/.