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Volunteer Profile: Denise Lang, 2014 Volunteer of the Year

Last Updated on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

d_langHope Award for Volunteer of the Year – Denise Lang: A two-time preeclampsia survivor, Denise began volunteering with the Foundation in 2004. She has held several volunteer roles within the Preeclampsia Foundation over the last 10 years, as a forum moderator and the leader of the Wisconsin preeclampsia survivor group. Denise was instrumental in the 2010 process of rebranding the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia and launching promisewalk.org, helping the event grow to the national presence it has today. She also coordinates her own successful event in Wausau, Wis. and is the 2015 Central Regional Promise Walk Coach, motivating and supporting dozens of volunteers in her region.

In 2003, Denise experienced HELLP Syndrome at just shy of 35 weeks of her first pregnancy.  Her daughter was born small, but healthy.  Within six months, Denise discovered the Preeclampsia Foundation after she began to educate herself on what HELLP was.  In 2004, Denise began to volunteer on the online forum, supporting other survivors.   In 2006, during her second pregnancy, Denise developed gestational hypertension at 32 weeks and was closely monitored until the time of delivery at 37 weeks, at which time her symptoms worsened.  She shared, “Without the support of fellow survivors and volunteers, I’m not sure how I would have made it through my second pregnancy mentally unscathed.”

What started as a need to give back to the community that supported her has evolved into several volunteer roles within the Preeclampsia Foundation over the last ten years.  She started as a forum moderator and then a co-forum administrator.   Along with another volunteer, she organized an active group of survivors within her state.  Denise also assisted with the National Walk Team as a new website was created for the Promise Walks and for the last several years has coordinated the Wausau Promise Walk.  She shared a few of the reasons she volunteers; the first is raising awareness of preeclampsia, providing support to fellow survivors to ensure they do not feel alone, and encouraging women to be able to advocate for themselves and have open discussions with their healthcare providers. 

“I am intensely grateful for all of the support I have received via the Foundation,” Denise said.  “Volunteers and fellow survivors provided me with hope and encouragement when I needed it most and I endeavor to do the same for others.  I cannot change what we experienced, but I can do something positive with the experiences.  We know we are one of the lucky ones; others have suffered tragic loss.”  She said it is a privilege to receive this honor and looks forward to the day when the organization and its mission are no longer needed.

Denise resides in Wausau, Wisconsin with her husband, Jason, and two children, Ariana (age 11) and Phoenix (age 8).   She works as a volunteer coordinator for a local non-profit and has her own travel business.

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