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An Exemplary Volunteer

Last Updated on Monday, January 29, 2018

At the Preeclampsia Foundation we pride ourselves on being patient driven. We engage survivors in all aspects of our mission to accomplish the broad scope of our work. We aim to empower women to use their experience to raise awareness and contribute to quality improvement in women’s healthcare systems across the nation. Without the champions for our cause, we simply couldn’t make the strides toward a world where preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome no longer threaten the lives of moms and their babies.

There are several opportunities for Preeclampsia Foundation volunteers to engage in our mission. Many members start in one opportunity and quickly become a champion, holding multiple valuable roles with the Foundation. Debbie Izzo is an exemplary champion we would like to spotlight this month.

Although Debbie, an RN and Childbirth Educator, had experienced preeclampsia five times herself, she didn’t become involved in the Preeclampsia Foundation until she lost her granddaughter Lucy Marie to preeclampsia in 2014.“Pushed with the need to act and to have an outlet for my grief as a grandmother, I emailed the Foundation and received the most loving and compassionate email back from Laney Poye (former Community Relations Director), said Debbie. “She  put me in touch with the ladies (now great friends) who were coordinating our local Promise Walk for Preeclampsia.  I volunteered for my first Promise Walk in 2015 and have been a volunteer ever since.”

After connecting with women in similar situations and receiving the grief support necessary for her own healing, Debbie joined the Preeclampsia Foundation Patient Support Network, providing support to other moms.

“Validating feelings, addressing fears, or helping ease anxiety even just a little, I hope is making a difference,” continued Debbie  “Through the classes I teach, I educate my parents on the signs and symptoms of the condition and hand out many resources that I have obtained from the Foundation.”

Debbie has been an incredible asset to the support focus of our mission, and she hasn’t stopped there. She has continued to use her experience as a survivor and as a healthcare provider to raise awareness and join quality improvement initiatives.

“On top of the Promise Walk events, I have volunteered at many conferences such as the March of Dimes and the Advocate Perinatal Symposium where the Preeclampsia Foundation sets up a table with handouts and answers questions,” said Debbie.  “I also recently began working with the ILPQC (Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative) which is working diligently towards improving the health of pregnant women, mothers, and infants through quality improvement initiatives implemented by birthing hospitals across Illinois.  Acting as a nurse, previous patient, and a grandma missing her granddaughter has helped me to be a better advocate and volunteer with the Preeclampsia Foundation.  My hope is that their work will soon help those affected by maternal hypertension, preeclampsia, and HELLP syndrome, as well as reduce the alarmingly high maternal mortality rate.  

 Debbie certainly adds to the purpose-driven, survivor culture of our community. It is clear that Debbie’s role has been rewarding and given her a sense of belonging within the community.

“Through the loss of our granddaughter and subsequent involvement with the Foundation,” said Debbie,  “it has been a healthy way to grieve, cope, and move on in a positive way – hopefully helping other moms recognize the condition, advocate for better health care, and push for continued research so one day, women will not have to worry about preeclampsia.  A bonus of my volunteer time has been meeting many wonderful, passionate women who are now my “Preeclampsia Sisters.”

We are always looking for rock star volunteers like Debbie. Our group of passionate women continues to grow and makes a large impact on local communities.

“My advice to anyone considering volunteering with the Preeclampsia Foundation is “PLEASE JOIN US!,” she said. “No amount of time is too small; we appreciate and value your time and always want new friends!  We know that everyone is busy with LIFE, but the few minutes you might be able to help us could make a huge difference.” 

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Thank you Debbie, for all you do! If you are interested in becoming a Preeclampsia Foundation volunteer, get involved today!

All of Debbie's preeclampsia survivors!

 

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