Olivia Pfeiffer was at the start of her real-estate career, right here, when she was diagnosed with Endometriosis, a painful but all too common condition where the cells in the lining of the Uterus escape and grow in other parts of the body.
This year she’s launched a fundraising project – The Sunshine Campaign – to raise money and awareness for the condition. She chats to me about her project and what drew her into the industry.
So let’s start at the beginning. I’ve loved working with you as my sales associate for the last three years but what did you do before you came into my agency?
I worked as a florist for several years before I started here however being such a physical job, I found myself unable to maintain my health. I knew absolutely nothing about real estate but I wanted a different career and a long-lasting, fulfilling one at that. I needed a change and a bit of structure. Although I know real estate is not exactly ‘structured,’ it’s different every day and I love it – I have never looked back!
When were you diagnosed with endometriosis?
It happened three years ago. I was only working here for a couple of weeks and I had a wedding to go to when I woke up feeling really, really sick and fainted. I was taken straight to hospital and was sent me to a specialist who diagnosed me a few months later. You were an enormous support, which was really amazing.
What made you start The Sunshine Campaign?
It’s been a bit of a progressive project to be honest. I suffer from Endometriosis, so does my sister and so do some of my closest girlfriends. It’s really common but not a lot of people know about it – and it’s hard to explain and understand because it presents differently in each woman.
The Sunshine Campaign is a project to raise awareness about Endometriosis and to raise funding to find what causes it, what can cure it and the best ways to manage the condition,
Where is the money going?
The funds are going towards research into Endometriosis and Women’s Health at Western Sydney University. They have two research projects going on at the moment, led by Doctor Mike Armour, which I would like to support.
The Sunshine Campaign has a lovely website with lots of sunflower seeds. Does the flower have any significance for you?
I planted some sunflower seeds last year in November and got a lot of fulfillment from planting them. They ended up blooming beautifully in March. March is Endometriosis Awareness month and the colour for Endometriosis Awareness is yellow, it just all resonated.
When it was time to cut the sunflowers down and get rid of them, I was sad to see them go. I thought I couldn’t possibly plant the thousands of seeds from the flowers so I decided to sell the seeds and raise a bit of money.
The pieces of The Sunshine Campaign came together in May this year, when I was going into my second laparoscopy. The operation was on my mind and I was nervous in the weeks leading up to it.
I wanted to distract myself with some fundraising and The Sunshine Campaign evolved from there.
I’ve created a little awareness pack, which I sell at market stalls. It includes the home grown sunflower seeds, a fact sheet about endometriosis and some info about how to grow the seeds.
I love the idea of everyone planting the seeds at the same time and seeing them bloom in March when it’s time for Endometriosis Awareness. I want to create a continuous community where women can do something small together for a greater cause.
Tell me about why you chose the Singleton community to launch your campaign.
A few people have suggested that I should go to Newcastle or go to Sydney but the thing with Singleton is that it is still a relatively small community and everyone backs each other up. With Endometriosis, the statistics are so high: 1 in 9 Australian women suffer. I think it’s important to start talking about the condition with local communities first. Small steps for a big change.
I think there are plenty of women in Singleton who may possibly have it and don’t know. Or their friend might have it, their Sister, or maybe their Mum. Endometriosis is so common. I wanted to start a conversation locally – support the local community first and go from there.
What do you love about Singleton?
I was born in Singleton and I have spent the majority of my life here. It’s been a beautiful town to grow up in. I think when you are growing up, you get itchy feet and want to move to a bigger city or ‘out of the country’ but the truth is, Singleton has a beautiful sense of community and is filled with genuine, kind-hearted people, which is what makes a home town so special. Singleton has been great to me and the people here have made it a really nice place to call home.