Lauren Przybyl, Good Day Fox 4 Dallas/Fort Worth anchor, is joining the Preeclampsia Foundation as the honorary chair of the virtual Promise Walk for Preeclampsia Wherever event happening Saturday, August 28, 2021, to raise awareness of life-threatening hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.
The cause is personal: Lauren was 33 weeks pregnant with her second child when her blood pressure started elevating. Concerned about preeclampsia, a life-threatening pregnancy condition characterized by high blood pressure and organ dysfunction, her doctors admitted her to the local hospital, where they administered steroid shots to strengthen her unborn baby’s lungs.
Though she was discharged, only a few days later, her husband Shane took her back to the hospital when she knew that something just didn’t feel right.
“It was the worst pain of my life,” Lauren said. “I couldn’t move my neck, my back, my shoulders.” Her care providers found that Lauren’s blood pressure had spiked to twice its normal level and that her liver was failing. She had developed HELLP syndrome, a severe form of preeclampsia that affects the liver and platelets. They would have to deliver her baby immediately.
Thankfully, Lauren and her baby boy Beck made it through their experience and came home to her husband and three-year-old daughter Landry. Some mothers aren’t that fortunate: globally, 25% of all HELLP syndrome cases end in maternal death.
Today, Lauren uses social media, her role as a news anchor, and her partnership with the Preeclampsia Foundation to raise awareness of pregnancy complications.
“As chair of this year’s virtual Promise Walk Wherever, I am using my voice to reach other women and let them know that they are not alone in their pregnancy experiences,” said Lauren. “I look forward to ensuring the Preeclampsia Foundation is around for other moms like me for years to come through the work we do today.”
The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia is the signature awareness and fundraising event of the Preeclampsia Foundation, typically held in 30+ locations across the United States. In 2020, however, the Foundation pivoted to ensure its community stayed connected through the national “Promise Walk Wherever” which challenges the community to participate wherever they are.
“Our mission became even more critical with the arrival of COVID-19,” said Foundation Chief Executive Officer Eleni Tsigas. “We know some prenatal and postpartum appointments have become virtual, but we also know that COVID presents new risk for pregnant patients. Being aware of signs and symptoms and monitoring blood pressure remains critically important to patient care.”
That’s why funds from this year’s Promise Walk will go to support programs like the Foundation’s Cuff Kit™, introduced last year so that at-risk patients can receive a home blood pressure monitor and education kit when being monitored through telehealth appointments. To date, the program has distributed over 10,000 kits. Lauren is encouraging everyone to join her team “Great Mommy Moments” at www.promisewalk.org or start a team of their own.
Then, on Saturday August 28, the public can tune into the Foundation’s Facebook page for a live day of videos, stories, a virtual auction, and healthcare information, including guest speaker Dr. Rachel Bond of the Association of Black Cardiologists, who will speak about the long-term risks of preeclampsia and what women can do to manage their heart health.
At 8 pm EST, candles will be lit in households all over the country to honor survivors and hold in remembrance those moms and babies lost to preeclampsia.
Form a team, walk on your own or join Lauren’s team to win prizes and participate in the walk from wherever you are on Saturday, August 28.
The Preeclampsia Foundation is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2000 to improve the outcomes of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy by educating, supporting, and engaging the community, improving healthcare practices, and finding a cure. We envision 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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