As many Promise Walk participants know, raising money early in the year can be quite difficult, particularly coming out of the post-holiday slums. Nevertheless, two Promise Walk for Preeclampsia volunteers did not let any excuse stop them from raising the highest funds for an individual and team. Janel Kovarik, the leader of the Chicago “Down with BP” team, raised $750 toward her personal goal of $1000, while Samantha Reyes and her team “Scuderia Reyes” of San Diego have raised an amazing $1,240 to date.
How did these two amazing volunteers do it? Janel, a two-time survivor of severe preeclampsia, explained that for her, it was all about networking with different circle of friends and telling people her story.
“Tell people your story- Tell them! Ignorance is bliss,” Janel explained. Her advice to other teams? Incorporate a cathartic way of telling your story to your friends that emphasizes your personal connection to the condition and your desire to prevent more women from going through preeclampsia.
Samantha, a HELLP syndrome survivor, agreed, emphasizing the importance of supportive friends and family and the presence of her employer’s corporate matching program to her fundraising success. “The ultimate goal is to find a cure. Every dollar makes a difference and brings us closer to ensuring that other families won’t have to experience preeclampsia.”
1. Why do you walk and raise money for the Preeclampsia Foundation? I am walking and raising money for the Preeclampsia Foundation because I am an avid runner (in Chicago, I am a part of the PF team organizing the walk and now 5K!) but more importantly, I am a survivor. I had severe preeclampsia and severe hypertension with both of my children's pregnancies.
2. To what do you attribute your success in raising so much money for the PF? I believe Facebook has helped quite a bit actually! In addition to Facebook, I am a part of a lot of groups within my different circles of friends. Examples: my book club friends, my Ladies Lunch Club friends, former work colleagues and I sent my messages through my personal family blog. I also am organizing a stationary party in which all the proceeds go to the Foundation. I incorporated a cathartic way of telling my story to my friends that HOPEFULLY leads to helping more women that are going through what I went through, as well.
3. What advice would you give other teams and walkers to help them raise funds? Tell people your story. Tell them! Ignorance is bliss and people do not know much about certain medical conditions, so telling your story, openly, helps people, especially those close to you, know what preeclampsia is. It touches them and shows that pregnancy is not all 'normal and perfect and easy', like most of the world would like to think. I cannot tell you how many emails I received in response to my personal email (telling my story) that said, "Janel, I had no idea what you and your son went through. I am sorry."
4. What do you hope funds raised for the PF will go toward? I pray that the funds go towards research for a cure and cause. I also hope doctors can become more educated on the condition, as well.
1. Why do you walk and raise money for the Preeclampsia Foundation? My twins and I almost lost our lives to HELLP Syndrome. My family and I are grateful for the excellent care we received from UCLA. We often think about other people who don’t have access to the same excellent care. Our hope is that through this Foundation, people and healthcare providers will have available to them the information needed to diagnose preeclampsia and HELLP early enough for treatment. Perhaps even some day, the cause and cure will be discovered.
2. To what do you attribute your success in raising so much money for the PF? We have great friends and family who are always there for us. It’s easy when so many people care and genuinely want to help. Also, my company matches donations from their employees.
3. What advice would you give other teams and walkers to help them raise funds? This is a scary life-threatening disorder and some people are not as lucky as we are. However, it’s important to stress the hope that this foundation provides. The ultimate goal is to find a cure; every dollar makes a difference and brings us closer to ensuring that other families won’t have to experience preeclampsia.
4. What do you hope funds raised for the PF will go toward? Research to someday find the cause and cure for pre-eclampsia.