Olivia was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 13 and during this time, she had no idea what endometriosis was, let alone knowing anybody else who had it! She felt so alone and isolated because at that stage, it seemed as if she was the only teenager in Marlborough who had this disease which she said was “pretty scary stuff.” And like many other girls throughout New Zealand, her health was affecting her school attendance and most of the time she couldn’t do a full day at school. Her family then decided that the best option for her would be to complete her secondary schooling through correspondence.
Later that same year, she was “incredibly excited,” to learn that there was an organisation dedicated to helping girls and women with endometriosis. That’s when she got in contact with Endometriosis New Zealand and went to see our current CEO, Deborah Bush, who she said has made a big (positive) impact on her life. Throughout Olivia’s ongoing experience with endometriosis, she has had an underlying passion to help others who are also diagnosed with this disease.
With the help of Deborah, Olivia was able to fulfil her passion for helping others by travelling to different parts of New Zealand speaking to people about her experience with endometriosis alongside Deborah. Following these presentations, Olivia launched the first ever Marlborough Support Network for Endometriosis New Zealand and has now been promoted to a National Educator! She says she loves this role because she really feels like she is making a positive difference in teenager’s lives.
At the end of 2013, Olivia completed her secondary schooling through The Southern Regional Health School and gained NCEA Level 3 and University Entrance in the process. We think that’s a huge achievement for someone who did ALL her secondary schooling, on her own, by correspondence!
Olivia says she feels “honoured,” to be working for such an amazing organisation and can’t wait for whatever lies ahead!