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NOVEMBER 15, 2005 - The Preeclampsia Foundation hosted an inaugural benefit gala -- Saving Grace: A Night of Hope - at the Metropolitan Ballroom and Clubroom in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 11, 2005. The evening gala was a huge success with Preeclampsia Foundation raising over $57,000 for the education and research of a common pregnancy disorder known as preeclampsia. Preeclampsia affects over 200,000 pregnant women and their babies each year, sometimes fatally.
Part of the evening gala entailed a silent and live auction with over 50 donated gift baskets and high value items to bid on. Items included an inscripted hand thrown pottery bowl inspired by Grace Ann Nolan, the evening's honoree, to an autographed guitar signed by Paul McCartney
The most enlightening part of the evening was listening to three couples talk about their experiences with preeclampsia. Jaime and Joe Nolan, parents of Grace whom the event was named after, and Miranda and CJ Childers, parents of Garrett both had premature babies due to preeclampsia. Both Grace and Garrett struggled for and lost their lives shortly after birth.
Brenda and Jim Warner spoke about their daughter Shelly Bridgewater, age 25, of Iowa Falls, Iowa. Shelly lost her life due to preeclampsia one week after delivering her daughter Hailey, at 33 weeks.
"We're thrilled with the results of this first event. It has set the bar high for next year's "Saving Grace" event, to be held in San Fransisco," said Eleni Tsigas, chair of the board of directors. "Fundraising efforts like these enable professional and public education that is critical to preventing tragic and senseless deaths, as well as driving research that will move us closer to a cause and a cure."
Affecting almost one in twelve pregnancies, preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during the second half of pregnancy or postpartum and affects both the mother and the unborn baby, sometimes fatally. It is characterized by high blood pressure, swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches, changes in vision and presence of protein in the urine. By conservative estimates, it is responsible for 76,000 maternal deaths and infant deaths each year worldwide.