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The grassy field of empty cradles is a poignant reminder to all that pass by of the devastating impact of preeclampsia.
This is the scene that walkers at the first Boston Promise Walk for Preeclampsia will experience on July 24, 2011 at Castle Island Park. The exhibit is the vision of writer, exhibit organizer and walk coordinator Susannah Pabot.
With this traveling public exhibit, Susannah hopes to increase awareness of preeclampsia and its symptoms and raise money to support the Preeclampsia Foundation's programs. Each empty cradle holds a handcrafted blanket and poem written in memory to a child who lost his or her life, while gentle lullabies play in the background.
Susannah, herself a two-time survivor of severe preeclampsia, worked with families from across the country to hear their stories, hopes, grief and undying love for the babies they lost to this condition in developing the final pieces of her project. The poems written for and to each baby remembered in the exhibit were created from the language shared by their parents and grandparents.
The cradles were designed for the exhibit by RISD furniture design graduate Rebecca Lee, and the blankets displayed in the cradles were individually designed and knitted by RISD textile art students Alyssa Fu and Eliza Squibb. The colors used were chosen by the families of the babies.
The exhibit's sound environment was composed by Brown/RISD student Ling Zhou and includes recordings of the poems and three original songs written and sung for the exhibit by the award-winning lullaby singer Amy Robbins-Wilson. Inspired by her involvement in the exhibit, Amy has created an album dedicated to all parents who have lost a baby (www.angelbabylullabies.com). She will be singing from this and her other albums at the Boston Promise Walk.
Preeclampsia survivor Diane Stern, co-anchor of WBZ-AM afternoon news will emcee the event, and one of the mothers who took part in the exhibit will speak of her personal experiences with the disease. Also just announced, Dr. Ananth Karumanchi, of the Karumanchi Laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, will be a featured speaker and participate in the walk with members of his laboratory. (He is one of our generation's most innovative preeclampsia researchers and recipient of a Foundation Hope Award.) The walk with close with a butterfly release to honor the memory of all mothers and babies lost to preeclampsia.
For more information about the exhibit, please visit www.fieldofcradles.org or register for the Boston Promise Walk.