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It's hard to imagine the impact that a public awareness event like The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™ can have on the consciousness of the public, our elected officials, health care providers and researchers, but with 44 walks scheduled in major markets across the United States, we are making strides and delivering hope!


Ten years ago, I daresay not too many people had heard the word "preeclampsia."  Now the media often cover the latest research or provide helpful education, for example, CNN's February article on five things you need to know about eclampsia, and stories about real lives that have been impacted, like these Kansas City and Dallas mission family stories.


We are enormously grateful to our national sponsors who join hundreds of regional and local sponsors to make this event possible and contribute to the impact we are making! Interestingly this year, I feel a personal connection to all our 2013 national sponsors:  

  • BabyCenter has an extremely robust website, used by about 80% of all pregnant women and is the top referral site (apart from search engines) to our website. Thank you to our national media sponsor and for naming us one of their Global Giving partners!    
  • After my first son was born with a straw-sized dried-up umbilical cord (how he thrived is beyond me!), I researched cord blood and found out that it is a rich repository of stem cells, providing oodles of controversy-free building blocks that could advance medical research. Determined to harvest cord blood from any other pregnancies I might have, my second son was born with a veritable "fire hose" making the local cord blood bank all the richer! ViaCord from PerkinElmer also believes in the power of cord blood, and we're grateful for their support of the Promise Walk.   
  • And, what brand of infant and toddler car seats did I purchase when my sons were small? That's right - Britax, whom we welcome to the Promise Walk and to the Preeclampsia Foundation as a first year national sponsor. Their focus on the health, safety and well being of our babies is a shared passion. Thank you, Britax!   
  • Finally, Creative Counsel, based in Portland, Ore., is owned by a dear friend who has consistently provided the most competitive pricing four our t-shirts and other merchandise for several years. He and his wife, Jennifer, were married on a day that, for my second pregnancy, turned into a horror as I left their wedding and went home to cry over a sure-to-be pregnancy loss. It's a scary story that ended well as my baby survived, not only that mid-pregnancy scare, but also a severe case of preeclampsia, to become my now delightful teenage son. We're so thankful for Creative Counsel's continued support! 

That may sound like a lot of disconnected threads, but it all comes together to fill my heart with gladness and gratitude. It truly takes a community of caring to move the needle. Thank you readers, for allowing me to get a bit personal with my experiences!   


The Preeclampsia Foundation exhibited at the annual international meeting of the Society for Gynecological Investigation (SGI) in March.
Another indicator of the impact the Preeclampsia Foundation is having is evident through our presence at
ajor medical science conferences.

2013 Research Grant Funding Available

The Preeclampsia Foundation has announced that competitive funding is available for preeclampsia research and that applications are now being accepted for its 2013 Vision Grant program.


Up to two medical research grants will be awarded, up to $25,000 each. Vision Grants are intended to provide initial funding for innovative research focused on the pathophysiology, diagnosis or treatment of preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. All novel, well-considered research topics will be evaluated, although projects that demonstrate potential to alter clinical management and improve patient outcomes will receive priority. Preference is given to junior investigators, although senior investigators with innovative, high-risk proposals will also be considered. International applications will be accepted, but they must be in English.


The application deadline is May 17, 2013, with award notification by August 23, 2013. More information and instructions for application can be found at


Research initiated by the Vision Grant program has yielded many promising findings, which have, in turn, generated additional funding from the National Institutes of Health, earned scientific presentations at major conferences, and inspired young investigators to commit their efforts to a preeclampsia.


"I'm impressed by the breadth and quality of applications we receive," remarked Dr. Thomas Easterling, director of the Preeclampsia Foundation's Medical Advisory Board. "Our interest is in funding creative minds, early in their careers, who have the potential to make an impact if given a start, a leg up. This has proven to be a fruitful approach for the Foundation."


Easy Things You Can Do to Raise  
Awareness During May

Click here to see Five Easy Things You Can Do to Raise Awareness During May. We are counting on all of you to share messages the Preeclampsia Foundation will be issuing throughout Preeclampsia Awareness Month. If you have not already done so, please click the following links and join the Preeclampsia Foundation on multiple social media websites. 


Preeclampsia Foundation Official Site

Preeclampsia Foundation Supporter Group

Preeclampsia Foundation Twitter Page

In memory and honor of all those impacted by preeclampsia, eclampsia and HELLP syndrome.

Are you a Pinterest addict? Enjoy expressing your life experiences visually? Then join our 2013 "Virtual Memorial & Survivor Quilt" board. The Virtual Quilt board is a compilation of images from any individual who wants to contribute in honor or in memory of loved ones impacted by preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome, or other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Share your feelings and experience with preeclampsia through pin art!

Having your pin as a part of the quilt only requires three easy steps:

(1) Create or choose an image with a personal significance to you and your pregnancy experience. It might be a personal creation, a photograph, or a quote.

(2) Pin the image to one of your own boards and tag the Foundation in the comments by typing @Preeclampsia, or if you don't have a Pinterest account, send an email with your image to Director of Community Relations Laney Poye.

(3) We will re-pin your tagged pin onto the Quilt board within 48 hours of being tagged, as you join other survivors and their families to create a work of beauty and unity.

At the end of May, Preeclampsia Awareness Month, we will be doing something very special with the Virtual Quilt board, so the more pins, the better! For more information, contact Laney Poye.
American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists President James T. Breeden, MD, raises awareness in his March blog about the trend in cesarean sections. "Today, one in three babies in the US are born by cesarean - the delivery of a baby through an incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus," wrote Breeden. "The rate of labor induction is also at an all-time high. Unfortunately, many of these births occur before the pregnancy is considered 'term' at 39 weeks. These upward trends have long been a source of concern in the medical community, especially considering the increased risks to a baby who may not be fully developed at delivery."

Dr. Breeden also wrote about the urgent situations - such as preeclampsia, eclampsia, multiple fetuses, fetal growth restriction, and poorly controlled diabetes - that may make it necessary to deliver the baby before the onset of natural labor. Read Dr. Breeden's March blog.


The Preeclampsia Foundation is an active member of the Preeclampsia Task Force under the auspices of California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC). Here are several items of interest from CMQCC's most recent report.


Maternal Mortality Review (CA-PAMR):

CMQCC continues to work with CDPH/MCAH to review maternal deaths in California and use our findings to inform maternal quality improvement efforts. To date, we have completed review of maternal deaths from 2002 to 2006. The CA-PAMR project team has been working on manuscripts to submit to scientific journals on the CA-PAMR methodology, the top five causes of maternal death, and preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia Toolkit: We are finishing the final edits on the CDPH/MCAH-CMQCC Toolkit entitled, "Improving Health Care Response to Preeclampsia" and plan to have it available for release later in May. The toolkit provides 18 best practice guidelines and various tools and algorithms gleaned from the "lessons learned" from the CA-PAMR review. The toolkit algorithms are straightforward, focus on the critical actions and are flexible for use by a wide variety of practitioners and practice settings.

Preeclampsia Collaborative: The CMQCC Preeclampsia Collaborative launched in January 2013 with a webinar introduction followed by a very productive and successful Learning Session on February 5 in Oakland, Calif. The 25 participating hospitals are evenly distributed in both northern and southern California, representing 82,000 births in 2011 (1:6). The aims of the Collaborative are to: 1) reduce the rate of severe morbidities in women with hypertension and 2) reduce the percentage of women (with hypertension) who have prolonged length of stays.   




Preeclampsia's subtle symptoms share so many commonalities with other conditions that a diagnosis can be delayed or missed. The Preeclampsia Foundation advocates for what is known as "translational" work on new screening and diagnostic tests, which attempts to quickly turn basic bench research into bedside applications. In December, the Preeclampsia Foundation's Executive Director, Eleni Tsigas, sent a video message of support for an Irish research team's bid for a grant to fund a research center. Now a substantial new funding announcement has been made.


The Science Foundation of Ireland announced late last month a considerable investment of €300 million (taxpayer and industry-supported) that will fund seven new centers for translational research, including the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (NFANT), hub based at University College Cork. This bench-to-bedside translational research center will focus on creating novel pregnancy screening and diagnostic tests, as well as new monitoring methods.

New screening tests could predict those likely to develop the syndrome, which would encourage closer monitoring and more intensive care.  


Metabolic markers identified in a screening test might be targets for  therapeutic intervention. A diagnostic test would eliminate that period when doctors are trying to puzzle out whether or not we really have preeclampsia, or just have something else with similar symptoms. New ways to monitor for the syndrome might provide advance warning and maybe even reveal patterns that we don't recognize right now that lead to further treatments or basic research findings.  


This new funding gives researchers the opportunity to quickly advance this bench-to-bedside research.   


Survivors & Sisters: Rebeka Whitman and Rikki Ziska.

It wasn't until my sister Rikki became pregnant with her first child that I understood the full meaning of pregnancy problems. She was 35, had Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disease, and had difficulty becoming pregnant. She and her husband were looking forward to the birth of their son. On November 8, at 22 weeks, she developed HELLP Syndrome and the only option was to deliver the baby. Rikki's liver, heart and lung functions were deteriorating significantly. As I waited at the hospital with other family members, I asked the doctor, "Can't you wait until he is a few weeks older so that he has some sort of chance?" The doctor told me if they could, they would, but unfortunately, looking at Rikki's vital levels, they couldn't wait."


That evening, Rikki and Nick made the most difficult choice any parent can make. They were told the baby would likely be born alive but there was little chance that he would make it. If they did not deliver, neither baby nor mother would survive. Rikki spoke with one of the NICU doctors and was assured that as long as the baby was at least 450 grams in weight, he could be intubated if he was struggling to breath. They attempted to induce labor and during the night Rikki's health deteriorated.


My nephew Reid Nicholas Ziska was born into heaven at 1:46 a.m. He did not take a breath, which I truly believe is a blessing because he was just short of the weight for intubation. He was the size of a Barbie doll. After my sister and her husband had time alone with him, the family was invited to see him. He was beautiful and looked like his daddy. We all held him and said goodbye. His birth and passing have truly changed my family and its life.


To learn what Rebeka did to honor her nephew's life that others can do, too, read more. 

APRIL 2013
The Promise Walk for Preclampsia will take place in 44 cities. Register for a walk near you!

Upcoming Activities
Plymouth, MN
April 13, 2013

New Orleans, LA
May 4-8, 2013

San Francisco, CA
May 15-18, 2013

Philadelphia, PA
May 19, 2013

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
May 28-30, 2013

Boston, MA
May 28-June 1, 2013

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Julie Allen
Deborah Bush
Meredith Drews

Laney Poye

Caryn Rogers 

Eleni Tsigas

Amy Walker
Rebeka Whitman
2013 Preeclampsia Awareness Month Proclamations to Date

Here is a list of the proclamations and resolutions we have received so far for May 2013's Preeclampsia Awareness Month.


State Proclamations: 
Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas


State or County Resolutions: 
New Jersey (Senate), Pennsylvania (House), Pennsylvania (Senate),  
Virginia (House)
Local Proclamations: 
Addison, Texas
Brielle, New Jersey 

Charlotte, North Carolina
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Clark, New Jersey

Denton, Texas
Easton, Pennsylvania
Farmer's Branch, Texas

Livingston, New Jersey

Milburn, New Jersey

Morristown, New Jersey 

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Plano, Texas
San Diego, California
San Jose, California

Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Springfield, New Jersey

Wausau, Wisconsin 

Union, New Jersey

Washington Township, New Jersey   

Mission Moments

"I'm happy to support The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, as it is supporting me. I lost my baby last year due to severe preeclampsia; raising funds to help find a cause and a cure to this devastating disorder of pregnancy helps to give me hope that I may be a mother again someday."


~ Naomi L. via email
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