Several women from Georgia and across the country battling a health disorder petitioned Congress for more help finding a cure.
Celebrities and everyday women all dressed in teal Thursday on Capitol Hill, and they had a resounding message for lawmakers; Support for PCOS Awareness, Research and Funding.
TV Stars Maci Bookout, of MTV’s Teen Mom and NBC Superstore’s Lauren Ash led a determined group of women in the Nation’s Capitol for PCOS Advocacy Day.
“I know a lot of us have gone to many, many, many doctors trying to get answers, trying to get hope really,” Bookout said to the group prior to advocating. Miss Capitol Hill DC for America Megan Eunpu also advocated.
After training, women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a serious genetic, hormone, metabolic and reproductive disorder impacting 15 percent of women, marched to their respective congressional leaders’ offices to request support for their cause. It is a cause 9-year-survivor Maci Bookout told NewsChannel 6 can be life threatening.
“Diabetes, heart disease, all of those things. It’s definitely something that we need help and research and funding for because it can prevent the very serious, life threatening illnesses,” she explained.
Advocates came with two main requests for lawmakers; to co-sponsor the PCOS Awareness Month Resolution recognizing the month of September for the disorder and to co-sponsor the PCOS Awareness and Research Act, currently co-sponsored by Congressman Roger Marshall.
“The cancer and those types of things, the Alzheimer’s get all of the headlines, but I think the gene therapies that are going to work for some of those maybe will have an opportunity [to work for PCOS] as well,” said Marshall (R) Kansas.
Dr. Mark Trolice, an Orlando based Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist, shared with the group that he wants to help find a solution.
“It’s really the number one ovulation dysfunction in women. And they are devastated. They feel broken. They feel failure,” he said.
Georgia Representative Rick Allen said he would like to explore more about how PCOS can receive the help it needs.
“It’s not something that is talked about in the research or the medical community,” Rep. Allen told us. “We need to find what causes it and we need to find a cure for it.”
In order for that to happen, advocates point to the need for more National Institutes of Health funding, which PCOS Challenge: The National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association reports currently gives less than point one percent to PCOS.
“The PCOS Awareness and Research Act calls for a study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other government agencies to evaluate and make recommendations for PCOS research as well as a strategic public awareness and education campaign,” said William Patterson, Director of Public Relations for PCOS Challenge.
A spotlight is also being made on servicewomen who deal with being rejected by the military due to the impact of weight gain in the abdominal area because of PCOS.
Alaska Advocate Dawnkimberly Hopkins, who researches PCOS and treats service women with the disorder told us, “We have our abdominal circumferences measured. It can pose a challenge if we know that this process causes us to have a larger abdominal circumference.”
Only a handful of states did not have advocates present to meet face to face with lawmakers, but advocacy letters from every state will be emailed to congressional leaders following the event. There is also a PCOS petition with more than 31,000 signatures.
To learn more about PCOS or get involved with advocacy, click here.