The UK charity for women living with PCOS is called Verity. Each day throughout this month of PCOS awareness, they are recommending topics to discuss. Today is ‘My PCOS Pledge’. Some women with PCOS are pledging to walk 100 miles in September to raise money. Other women are painting one nail purple and pledging to start conversations about the common nature of PCOS.
My PCOS Pledge is to continue to raise awareness of what it is really like to live with PCOS, day in, day out.
I first heard about Verity from my hospital consultant Mrs Anju Kumar – who was at the time working with Rotherham NHS Trust. She encouraged me to reach out to other local women with PCOS and to start a Verity Local Group in Rotherham. Mrs Kumar allowed us to use the clinic waiting room to hold our monthly meetings, and our first official meeting saw over twenty women attend. Each month I would arrange guest speakers, or share the latest information on research and treatments. We teamed up with a superb local beautician Fiona who had her own beauty business in Sheffield, which later moved to Rotherham. Fiona and some of her staff would come along to the meeting, discuss the various options for facial hair removal, and do free taster treatments of electrolysis. I met Fiona at the PCOS joint clinics as she offered electrolysis on the NHS, based at the hospital. In fact my first TV appearance was being interviewed by Carol Smillie as I lay on a hospital couch while Fiona performed electrolysis on my chin!! Over the years Fiona became a great friend – she was professional, friendly, and above all, empathetic. It REALLY made such a positive difference to my life.
As well as regular meetings, the group also did some fund-raising for Verity. One very memorable (!) day’s fund-raising involved travelling along each of the three tram lines in Sheffield, getting off at each of the 40+ stations and getting a total stranger to take a photo of our little group of women underneath the station sign, then jumping back onto the tram before it left the station!! We each carried a placard saying what we were doing and why – spreading awareness of PCOS and having some great conversations as we went. The ladies concerned have just about (maybe?!) forgiven me for coming up with that idea! 🙂
My latest endeavour to raise awareness of PCOS is by contributing to new knowledge through my PhD research at Huddersfield university. I am looking into the impact of living with PCOS long-term and how women can improve their physical health and mental wellbeing. It was great to have my main supervisor Dr Matt Haines with me at the last Verity annual conference in Leeds (2018). We were also joined by my good friend Ms Sarah Bagshaw with whom I did most of my exercise and fitness qualifications and teaching. The conference was a great day of information gathering from the many varied speakers, and catching up with the Verity team – who all do such a fab job as volunteers!
And talking of the Verity Annual Conference… tomorrow’s blog is all about the books and resources that I have found useful on my 38-year journey with PCOS.
Until then… Sharon 🙂