( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) The White Dress Project (TWDP) is a Non-profit Organization Created by Tanika Gray Valbrun in 2014 to Raise Global Awareness About the Uterine Fibroid Epidemic
ENSPIRE Contributor: Alexandra Rivera
TWDP advocates for research funding, highlighting reproductive health inequities and educating many on fibroids and treatment options. Their goal is to empower the community to advocate for their own health choices and no longer suffer in silence.
TWDP is primarily a woman-run organization lead by their fibroid journeys. Because having fibroids can cause heavy bleeding-related conditions, many women choose to not wear white fearing they will bleed through their clothes. The project uses the “white dress” as a movement to give hope and strength back to women who suffer from fibroids.
From July 15 – 17 TWDP hosted an event in Washington DC for Fibroid Awareness Month. The EmPOWERment Experience featured several community events that included a Welcome Happy Hour, 5K Walk/Run, BloomReady Hour, Yoga session, wellness vendors, EmPOWERed Patient Luncheon, and their highly anticipated fundraiser dinner, “A Night in White.”
By the age of 50, 90% of African American women and 70% of White women are diagnosed with fibroids. Despite it being so common in the United States, fibroids have been left out of the national conversation on women’s health.
“A Night in White”, known as their signature event, brings together a multitude of community advocates dressed in semi-formal white attire to raise funds that help improve the quality of life for women living with uterine fibroids. As many women with fibroids shy away from wearing white, wearing white showcases community support and encourage women not to suffer in silence.
The EmPOWERment Experience raises funds and awareness, provides women with a safe space to share their stories, and gain expert advice from doctors and health advocates.
“We’re so excited to launch our first EmPOWERment Experience. This will be an opportunity for our organization to connect with our audience throughout the weekend. We are blossoming as an organization and we want our audience to feel empowered to blossom as well. The voice of the patient is incredibly powerful and we want to foster an environment for our audience to share their stories and be heard,” said The White Dress Project founder, Tanika Gray Valbrun.
Valbrun became passionate about women’s health after she struggled with uterine fibroids. Valbrun has successfully worked with doctors, health advocates, and elected officials across the country to get legislation passed declaring July as “Fibroids Awareness Month”.
The White Dress Project’s event the EmPOWERment Experience was created to bring awareness to and empower women with fibroids. Their goal was to create an environment where their audience would feel comfortable sharing their story. With their organization holding event’s like this more women will get checked for fibroids. The organization is not only building awareness but also creating a safe place for women being affected.