On Saturday May 12, Portland joined 35 other cities around the country to host the Promise Walk for Pre-eclampsia. Portlanders walked today, to raise awareness and to find a cause and a cure for pre-eclampsia, which is a life-threatening disorder of pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia claims the lives of 76,000 women and half a million babies each year. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure, swelling, headaches, upper abdominal pain, and changes in vision; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms.
Research is drastically under-funded, and all pregnancies are at risk. Research to find the cause and effective interventions is urgently needed, to understand more about the effects of pre-eclampsia on pregnancy and mothers' and babies' long term health.
Portland Promise Walk Coordinator, Amanda Basom, and Executive Director of the Preeclampsia Foundation, Eleni Tsigas.
Over 150 people gathered Saturday in Sellwood to "make strides and deliver hope" in Portland's first annual Promise Walk for Pre-eclampsia. I read a Proclamation by Mayor Adams declaring May "Pre-eclampsia Awareness Month". Other speakers included Portland Promise Walk Coordinator, Amanda Basom, Perinatologist, Sig-Linda Jacobson, and Executive Director of the Pre-eclampsia Foundation, Eleni Tsigas. Local resident Brooke Booher shared her sister, Brittany's story of the loss of her son, Sam, due to HELLP syndrome. That family's bravery in sharing their heartbreaking story left deep resolve in every listener, to work even harder to fight this disease.
The Portland Promise Walk raised over $10,000, which far exceeded their goal of $7500. Funds will go to the Pre-eclampsia Foundation, whose mission is to provide patient support and education, raise public awareness, catalyze research, and improve health care practices. Thank you to all the organizers and volunteers who gathered today to draw attention to this disease that claims the lives of women and babies worldwide.