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The Preeclampsia Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing maternal and infant illness and death due to preeclampsia, announced its 3rd annual walk-a-thon in nine cities across the country next month. The annual walk helps raise the money necessary to continue supporting innovative research and raising public awareness of this potentially devastating disease. This year, the fundraising and awareness-building event, which is centered around Mother’s Day weekend, is also available for walkers in other locations who want to help support the cause but can’t get to a nearby walk-a-thon location.
Locations include: Auburn, Ind.; Davenport, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; Madison, Wisc.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Phoenix, Ariz.; San Diego, Calif.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; and Shelby Township, Mich. For some locations, this is the 3rd year they have successfully produced a walk, attracting hundreds of walkers and supporters and raising thousands of dollars; others are participating for the first time. See www.preeclampsia.org for specific information about a walk near you. Registration is also available online and people everywhere are encouraged to participate as “solo walkers” to help drive awareness and contribute to this important fundraiser. Those interested in participating are urged to register at the Preeclampsia Foundation’s website www.preeclampsia.org&, though walk-up registrations will be accepted at each of the sites.
“Mother’s Day weekend is deliberately chosen each year as the time we focus on this devastating disorder,” explained President of the Board of Directors Leslie Weeks. “Over 200,000 women each year are affected by preeclampsia, a number equivalent to breast cancer. Many of those mothers suffer the tragic loss of their babies or endure the challenge of a premature baby, sometimes with life-long disabilities. It’s important that we celebrate Mother’s Day and especially honor those mothers who have endured preeclampsia.”
Preeclampsia, sometimes referred to by its older name – “toxemia” – or pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), is a disorder that occurs during pregnancy and affects both the mother and the fetus. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by elevated blood pressure, swelling and protein in the urine. The cause of preeclampsia is still not fully understood, and the only “cure” for the condition starts with delivery. Approximately 5 to 8 percent of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, and it is responsible for approximately 18% of all maternal deaths.