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What do pink hair, a tattoo and a Bat Mitzvah have in common?

No, not the latest reality show teaser!

They are examples of the creative and unconventional genius of preeclampsia survivors around the country who are turning their life experiences into stories of hope and promise for others. I'm constantly amazed and inspired by the originality of our families!

First time Promise Walk coordinator Laura Morrison in Oklahoma City has embraced her calling to raise preeclampsia awareness in Oklahoma's capital city, where almost 4,000 women will get preeclampsia in 2012. To do this, Laura vowed that if their team achieves their fundraising goal of $10,000 she's going to dye her hair pink. For this grandmother and Logistics Management specialist for the Air Force, it'll be a fashion statement with an important message. 

Thirteen years ago, Marissa Steiner came into the world quite dramatically, as her mother Stephanie suffered from severe preeclampsia. Today, Marissa has embraced her role as our youngest Promise Walk co-coordinator (Cranford, NJ) as her special Bat Mitzvah project. She is using this Jewish rite of passage to express her gratitude for the lives of herself and her mother, as well as to take steps to combat this disease that threatens her own future childbearing.

In Lehigh Valley, Penn., two volunteers are taking their commitment to preeclampsia awareness very seriously, getting permanent tattoos of the Promise Walk logo while raising thousands of dollars. Talk about a great FUN-raising idea; what a great conversation starter!

Superbowl champs New York Giants have donated signed memorabilia to the only Promise Walk that doesn't have a zip code. That's right, the Brooklyn Bridge has no zip code. Add that to your random-trivia-to-amaze-your-friends, but be impressed that the first ever New York CityPromise Walk snagged the rights to cross this famous landmark.

Amanda Basom, first time walk coordinator in Portland, Ore., has capitalized on a popular local amusement park to host the start and finish lines of that city's Promise Walk. Families can turn their cause walk into a day of fun on rides and amusements. (As a former resident of Portland, which was home to my three pregnancies, I'm especially excited to be returning to this special city to walk with friends old and new.)

In Atlanta, Ga., Lori Harrison is having her photo taken with Governor Nathan Deal as she receives a statewide proclamation declaring May Preeclampsia Awareness Month in Georgia. Later at her walk, CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is a featured speaker, sharing her perspectives as producer of The Empowered Patient AND as a preeclampsia survivor herself.

Butterfly or dove releases at several Promise Walks including San Jose, San Diego, New York City, and Oklahoma City, always bring a tender moment to the festivities - a way to memorialize those mothers and babies lost to preeclampsia.

So many different ways to make strides and deliver hope! I wish I could be at every one of our 30+ walks this year, but if there's one near you, please go, walk, give, learn and tell 'em Eleni sent you! You won't be disappointed.

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Facts About Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a life-threatening disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Consider...

  • In the U.S., a woman is diagnosed with severe preeclampsia every 6 minutes.
  • Worldwide, preeclampsia claims the lives of an estimated 500,000 babies and 76,000 mothers each year.
  • Preeclampsia accounts for 15-20% of the 13 million premature births worldwide.s
  • Half of all pregnant women do not know the warning signs of preeclampsia.
  • The cause, and therefore a cure, still eludes us, though there are steps we can take today to reduce adverse outcomes.

We are extremely grateful for the support of our 2014 Saving Grace sponsors. The Preeclampsia Foundation does not endorse any opinions, beliefs, or findings of any sponsor at any time.

The Preeclampsia Foundation (PF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Tax ID# 91-2073087.
For more information about the Saving Grace gala, please email Saving Grace co-chairs Jaime Nolan or Kristy Heer or call the Preeclampsia Foundation office at 321-421-6957.
For more information about the Preeclampsia Foundation, please visit our website.