CRANFORD – Advocates for the Preeclampsia Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing maternal and infant illness and death due to preeclampsia, a life-threatening disorder of pregnancy, will be participating in and raising money for the Foundation’s annual The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia™. The annual event, which happens around the country to support innovative research and raise public awareness about the warning signs of preeclampsia, will be taking place here in Cranford at Nomahegan Park on May 19 at 9 a.m.
The walk day will include a 5K walk, refreshments, raffle prizes, and opening speeches from Patrick Dignan, former Chairman of the Board of the Preeclampsia Foundation and Marissa Steiner, a middle school student who is a preeclampsia survivor along with her mother Stephanie. Both Marissa and Stephanie Steiner will be coordinating the Cranford walk event. Marissa has embraced her role as our youngest Promise Walk co-coordinator 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.
The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, with the tagline “Making Strides, Delivering Hope,” makes a clear connection with the mission of the Preeclampsia Foundation – a commitment to better outcomes for those whose lives have been or will be touched by preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. That “promise” includes finding a cure, supporting families, and ensuring education and awareness for all pregnant women.
“We are delighted with the enthusiasm our volunteers have demonstrated for The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia this year,” said National Promise Walk Director Becky Sloan. “Last year’s Promise Walk was an overwhelming success raising more than $250,000, walking in more cities and reaching thousands of people with life-saving information. We are very excited to continue this momentum in 2012, since we know that greater awareness and knowledge results in healthier birth outcomes. We take great pride in our staff and our volunteers for this bold undertaking.”
For the city of Cranford, this will be the second year they have produced a public walk, attracting an unprecedented number of supporters with the goal of raising $15,000 toward helping women and their infants who suffer from the devastating effects of preeclampsia. The event’s national goal is to raise $400,000.
New Jersey Governor Christie has issued an official proclamation for the State of New Jersey declaring May as Preeclampsia Awareness Month. “May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month, deliberately chosen to coincide with Mother’s Day weekend,” explained Executive Director Eleni Tsigas. “Almost 300,000 women each year are affected by preeclampsia, with approximately 25 percent of those resulting in serious adverse outcomes to either mother, baby or both.
Visit www.promisewalk.org/cranford for specific information about the Cranford Promise Walk and other walks around the nation. Registration is available online. Non-walkers are encouraged to support other individuals or teams to help meet Cranford’s fundraising goals. Those interested in forming teams or participating individually are urged to register at the Promise Walk website, though walk-up registrations will be accepted at each of the sites.
Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs during pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period, and affects both the mother and the fetus. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine; other symptoms may include swelling in the hands and face, headaches, and visual disturbances. Preeclampsia affects the mother’s kidneys, liver and other vital organs and, if undetected or untreated, can lead to seizures (eclampsia), cerebral hemorrhage, failure in vital organs and death.
The cause of preeclampsia is still not fully understood, and the only cure for the condition begins with delivery. Approximately five to eight percent of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, which, in the United States, translates to approximately 300,000 pregnancies. It is a leading cause of preterm birth, and is responsible for approximately 76,000 maternal deaths and half a million infant deaths worldwide annually. There are several types of preeclampsia, including HELLP syndrome, a particularly dangerous variant.