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Strides of a Champion

Each year, thousands of champions for change walk in our Promise Walk for Preeclampsia events across the nation. Each participant has his or her own reason for walking. Husbands who lost their wives, both women and children survivors and affected friends and family come from all over to make strides for moms and babies! It is no small feat to coordinate, plan and execute a successful walk. Erin Bangle became the Chair of our Indianapolis, IN Promise Walk for Preeclampsia in 2014 and has since raised over $30,000 for preeclampsia education, awareness, and research. Erin's dedication to this cause makes her our February Champion of the Month. 

Like most, Erin became involved with the Preeclampsia Foundation through her personal experience. "I had a very easy pregnancy until about 26 weeks when I became tired and sluggish. I felt like I couldn't catch my breath sometimes and my rings were not fitting due to swelling. Two things that can be blown off as "normal" pregnancy symptoms. At 27 weeks exactly, my sister (who is an ICU nurse) thought my feet looked swollen and took my blood pressure using her home cuff. My blood pressure was 210/105. After a phone call with my doctor, we quickly went to the hospital. I was monitored very closely in the labor and delivery unit at Indiana University Methodist and after five days I was taken for an emergency C-section due to my platelets plummeting to 60,000, my kidney functions deteriorating, pulmonary edema, and uncontrollable blood pressure. Benjamin was born at 2 lbs and 1 oz and he would spend another 95 days in the IU Health Riley NICU with lifesaving support. I stayed in the hospital for another six days waiting for my body to recover before being discharged, while my husband shuffled back and forth between two hospitals trying to get updates from all of our doctors. Once discharged, I was seen weekly for another eight weeks for blood pressure checks and labs. I would stay on blood pressure medicine for another 10 months. Today, Benjamin is a happy four year old and we are all healthy today. We know we were some of the lucky ones!"

After this life-changing experience Erin's sister attended a Promise Walk for Preeclampsia near her home in California. When Erin recovered she quickly located the Indianapolis Promise Walk for Preeclampsia and has been involved ever since. This year marks her fourth year as Chair!

IMG 01091Preeclampsia can be a very isolating experience. Rarely does someone expect this of their childbirth experience and feeling alone after preeclampsia strikes is all too common. Being a part of the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia has reduced Erin's feelings of isolation. "My favorite part about volunteering with the Foundation is meeting all of the amazing families and moms who have been through similar situations. I truly hate our common bond but being able to connect with other moms who experienced traumatic births was really helpful for me. I also like being a Patient Advocate and using my story to spread awareness about the signs and symptoms to people everywhere. If I can help just one person recognize their signs and symptoms early, then all of my volunteer work has paid off. "

Erin is currently ramping up her 2018 Promise Walk for Preeclampsia season. "My advice is to get involved with your local Promise Walk group. There are all sorts of volunteer opportunities that you can do locally, and sometimes from your own home. Every little bit helps! I would also say keep advocating. Each year, I try to make our walk bigger and better by reaching out to more healthcare providers and hospitals. This year, our elected official guest speaker is Dr. Kristina Box (OBGYN), Indiana Health Care Commissioner. We are so excited to have her support for healthy moms and babies!"

We are so impressed with Erin's heart for the cause and proud to have her as part of our champion team! If you are interested in joining a Promise Walk for Preeclampsia near you, click here and search for the name of your city!






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