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2012 Hope Award for Volunteer of the Year Goes to Texan Nicole Purnell

Last Updated on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Purnell to be recognized at annual dinner gala in Alabama

MELBOURNE, FL – September 26, 2012 – The Preeclampsia Foundation announced today that Ms. Nicole Purnell is the 2012 recipient of its annual Hope Award for Volunteer of the Year.  This prestigious award will be presented to Purnell at its annual benefit gala, Saving Grace – A Night of Hope, on Friday, October 26, 2012, at the Clearwater Polo Club in Point Clear, Alabama. The award recognizes an individual who epitomizes the true spirit of volunteerism and has made significant contributions to the Foundation in the past year. 

“Nicole has been instrumental in so many areas of the Foundation’s mission, particularly in our national volunteer program and raising our visibility in the Dallas/Ft. Worth market,” said Eleni Tsigas, Executive Director of the Preeclampsia Foundation. "For the past two years she dedicated herself as the Southwest Regional Coach to support the growth of our signature public awareness event, The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™ and hosted numerous local fundraising, education and awareness events. She continually demonstrates innovation and teamwork in every role she fulfills as a volunteer.”

Nicole Purnell's life was tragically changed in 2005 when preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome caused her to suffer multiple organ failure, and placental abruption that resulted in the stillbirth of her son, Cooper, at 34 weeks gestation.  As she researched to understand what had happened to her and Cooper, Purnell found support and valuable information through the Preeclampsia Foundation. A year later, she hosted an information booth in her local community and began reaching out to other families who had been tragically impacted by preeclampsia.

In 2009, she hosted the first Dallas-Ft. Worth Promise Walk and has continued to coordinate the annual walk while also acting as a Regional Coach to help start walks in other cities in Texas, Oklahoma, and neighboring states. She contributes regularly to the Foundation's monthly newsletter and leads the Patient Support Network, a community of women who offer peer-to-peer telephone or in-person support for other families who have suffered a loss due to preeclampsia.  Purnell works as a project manager for RR Donnelley and resides in Sanger, Texas with her husband.

When asked to comment on her award, Purnell says, “As a volunteer for the Preeclampsia Foundation, I work to help families make sure this doesn’t happen to them.  I believe that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I reflect back on the short life of my son and know that I never would have made such a difference if it wasn’t through the loss of my son.  He might be gone, but he lives on in me and in the work I do… His life wasn’t wasted and neither will mine be.”

About the Preeclampsia Foundation:  The Preeclampsia Foundation is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization established in 2000. It is dedicated to providing patient support and education, raising public awareness, catalyzing research and improving health care practices, envisioning a world where preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy no longer threaten the lives of mothers and babies. For more information, visit www.preeclampsia.org.


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