Planning and organizing a Promise Walk and 5K Run are no easy task, but the contributions of critical sponsors and donors makes it all worthwhile. For the Chicago event, local sponsors do more than contribute financially, as is evident by these diverse conributions:
One of the local Chicago suburban hospitals, Northwest Community Hospital and a stationery company sales associate, Dee Dee McCoy, contributed financially as Gold Sponsors. Runners High 'n Tri, a popular local running store, provided bibs for Walk and race participants and two days of packet pick-up; DJ Eric Rain of Hanover Park and AMP Entertainment kept the crowd upbeat by spinning tunes and entertaining our many families and kids; CTI Industries of Lake Barrington donated more than 100 colorful, helium balloons; WomanCare OBGYN offices of Palatine, donated giveaways for goodie bags and high-dollar raffle prizes, and the local T-Mobile helped staff the day-of registration booth with a hotspot that enabled immediate credit card processing. Without these sponsors, the Chicago walk would not have been able to raise more than $25,000 to help fund research and raise awareness.
One donor, Tracey Abdelhadi, the manager for the Lake Zurich Panda Express, had a personal motivation for contributing to the Chicago Promise Walk: she is a fellow survivor. Her restaurant donated food for the volunteers the day of the event, a case of bottled water, fortune cookies and coupons for the goody bags to be stuffed and had a Team Panda with about 10 walkers. I also became friends with Tracey and through that personal connection got to hear her story.
Tracey explained that as a mother of five children and survivor of preeclampsia, she was honored to support the work of the Preeclampsia Foundation and to help every mother and child survive to tell their stories.
"Twenty-nine years ago (with my oldest), doctors were just not aware," Tracey explained. "The first time I saw my beautiful baby boy, he was in high risk with IV's in his head, scary stuff for any mother." She adds that while she hopes never to need it, she has memorized the warning signs and symptoms for her sons' wives and her daughter in the future.
Tracey praised the efforts of the Chicago group as well as the national outreach of the Preeclampsia Foundation for "doing a great service for mothers-to-be."
She finished by saying, "If only one mother with this disease was reached and saved, it was worth it! We are looking forward to next year for a bigger and better event."