30 Under 30: Dionne McFarlane

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Dionne McFarlane, 21, Edinburgh

Dionne began a successful and growing campaign for awareness of endometriosis, after being diagnosed with the condition. She aims to improve the care and treatment of women with endometriosis, and has approached several clinicians about how women with endometriosis are managed when admitted to hospital due to pain.

She teamed up with Fixers UK, and created a video were she spoke to the camera about what living with endometriosis is like. This got very positive feedback and was shared all over social media. She created the @Endowarrior_x Instagram account, where she documents life with the condition, raising awareness and support fellow sufferers. In September this year she spoke at the Women’s Health Cross Party Group at the Scottish Parliament, giving an account on the diagnosis process and what changes need to happen to improve both care, and treatment.

IN HER OWN WORDS…

What’s your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement is when I spoke at the Scottish Parliament Women’s Health Cross Party Group meeting. It was such a brilliant opportunity, and one I’ll never forget. The MSP’s saw the Fixers video I created, which is helping to raise awareness, and from which the opportunity of speaking at the meeting came about. I must admit public speaking is something I hadn’t done in a while, but to be able to share my experience, and have people listening who could influence change was positive. This opportunity gave me the chance to network with others, and meet fellow sufferers who had been through similar experiences.

Despite being a few weeks post op in the Fixers video, it was good to be able to get my story out there. I had one aim, and that was to reach out to other women and let them know they’re not alone in this battle. It was the chance to get those who make decisions to listen, and stop overlooking our care; and, for educational purposes, so that others are made aware of the condition.

What women have inspired/inspire you?

A lot of women have inspired me. People like my friends, family, and also MSPs. I met Nicola Sturgeon a few years back, and her drive and determination to implement change was inspiring. She has always been someone who has given me encouragement to achieve the things I set out to do.

I am inspired by Monica Lennon, MSP, and find her work on period poverty to be brilliant. It’s good that these issues are being taken seriously, as this will benefit so many women in Scotland.

There are so many other women out there who are determined to raise awareness of endometriosis, despite struggling themselves with the condition. The women who run support groups so that we don’t feel isolated by this illness, and also those that are always there on the good, and the bad days.

I am inspired by those who are passionate about making a difference to the lives of children and young people, doing everything they possibly can to make sure that each young person has the right support around them in order to thrive.

What change would you like to see for girls and young women in Scotland in next 10 years?

There’s lots of changes I’d like to see, but if I listed them I’d be here all day, so I’ll discuss a few:

All girls and young women need not to be afraid to speak out and stand up for what they believe in, even if it does mean standing alone. I hope that there will be a point when all women have this confidence, and are able to believe in themselves.

I really hope that we can erase the negative perceptions about periods, as some people are embarrassed by them when it’s something all women go through. Periods shouldn’t have to be a dirty secret. It’s a natural thing, and one that should be spoken about more often.

I would like to see other young girls and women educated about Menstrual Wellbeing and other gynaecological conditions. When I was at school I had never heard of conditions such as Endometriosis, and it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with it in 2016 I began to research further into what it was. If women were educated about it they would be able to recognise what’s normal and what’s not normal, and seek help sooner – which would lead to a quicker diagnosis.

What can we do to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all?

I think there are many different ways of breaking the glass. Mostly, I think it’s mostly about acknowledging that we are equal. Also, there are a lot of stereotypes especially within the media and this is something that needs to change. The media sometimes portray things that are exaggerated and don’t reflect society.

What 3 women (past or present, real or fictional) would you invite to your dream dinner party/picnic?

I would invite Halsey, as she has really inspired me after opening up about her struggle with endometriosis. Rosie Marcel, as I find her amazing especially with all that she has gone through. Lastly, I would invite Nicola Sturgeon as she has always been behind me in everything that I do.

What would your message be for girls and young women in Scotland?

My message would be to do your best. This was something my mum would always say to me. She would always tell me to try my best and to acknowledge that you’ve tried something. It’s good to have role models and people that you aspire to be like, but you can also be yourself. It’s important that you learn to be independent and stand up for what you believe in even if that does mean your standing alone. Fight for the things that your passionate about and never give up trying.

You can follow Dionne, and her continued inspiring work, over on Twitter @DionneMfx


Looking for more?

You can see the full list of our amazing 30 Under 30 2018 finalists here, and keep a look out as we feature different finalists in each #30Under30 blog!

 

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