Terrell and Kimberly Smith began 2012 with joy and anticipation as they planned for the arrival of their baby girl. But on March 12, they received the worst news of their lives: Kimberly's blood pressure hit 200/100 and her vitals were rapidly deteriorating. Their baby girl, Lauren Kelly, was gone at just 22 weeks due to severe preeclampsia.
The Smiths refused to let their tragedy go unheard: Kimberly reached out to the Preeclampsia Foundation and asked what she could do.
"South Carolina has never held a Promise Walk before, and even in conversations with various public health professionals, pregnant women, and women impacted by preeclampsia, many had not heard of the Preeclampsia Foundation," explained Smith. So she decided her goal was to bring awareness and support to the "wonderful work the Foundation is doing throughout our nation" by bringing the Promise Walk to her home state.
She has since partnered with local health care providers throughout the state and used her passion and the memory of her little girl to start making a difference in the health outcomes for other women. Kimberly also has a robust social media presence: not a day goes by that Kimberly isn't seen tweeting life-saving preeclampsia tips (check her out @MrsKimSmith and @SCPromiseWalk).
Although the first Columbia Promise Walk is only a few months away, Kimberly is already excited for what is shaping up to be an amazing event, with fun kid zone activities, a beautiful survivor and memorial storytime, music, and lots of activities with community partners. Ultimately, she hopes that her event can help give others who have shared similar experience the hope that they are not alone.
The first Columbia Promise Walk for Preeclampsia will be on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at Riverfront Park in Columbia, South Carolina. Volunteers, sponsors and walkers welcome!