This past Saturday night I had an objective to have a fun night out with my husband at a local school fundraiser, because the last few weeks have been quite stressful for me. Little did I know that the evening would be not only fun, but an opportunity to talk about preeclampsia. I was walking around the silent auction tables getting ideas for the upcoming silent auction I would be running for my local Promise Walk, when the event coordinator, who I am friends with, asked me if I recognized that the MC was the local TV weatherman. My brain instantly thought….walk media OPPORTUNITY! The city I live in is huge, which can be beneficial to a non-profit organization, but also has numerous events going on daily and one can easily get lost in the non-profit media shuffle. I have found it is easier to get your event or story on the news if you know someone. I certainly don’t know the weatherman, but I did recognize him, as I have watched his broadcasts on occasion, so I felt comfortable enough to approach him.
I thought for over an hour about what I should say to him (you need to know that just walking up and talking about my story is not my strong suit, despite my strong personality). I figured the easiest way to start the conversation was to talk about the weather. I walked up without introducing myself, but acknowledging I watched his broadcast before, and asked him to make the sun shine next Saturday. He asked me why the sun needed to shine. I pointed across the bay to the Promise Walk site and told him about the walk. I explained that my son was born 8 weeks early due to preeclampsia and I was a code blue eclamptic seizure survivor. I gave him a few preeclampsia stats, told him about some of those we have lost, some who continue to be sick, and those who struggle to make sense of ‘why me?’ I also told him that while it is important for the walk to raise funds for research grants, another goal and objective of the Foundation is to spread awareness. He immediately said that more people needed to know about this disease. His next comment made me freak out inside. “You should come on our morning show to tell people about this disease!” I immediately panicked thinking that while my ‘spiel’ with him was going well, I can’t go on a morning show, but maybe my co-coordinator could. She loves to get in front of a crowd, especially to a crowd that could reach thousands about preeclampsia. As I was thinking about how great an opportunity this may be, the weatherman said he didn’t have a card to give me. “No problem,” I say, “I have one, I will be right back!” I gave him my card, he gave me the name of the morning show person I should contact, and thanked me for talking to him. Who knew (although I secretly hoped and am still hoping) that asking for the sun to shine on May 8th would lead to a possible media connection.
The Promise Walk has a monetary goal that we are confident we can reach, but just as important, we need to keep our awareness objective in sight at all times. As my new weatherman friend said, “People need to know about this disease.” I am still hoping that my interaction with the weatherman will lead to media coverage for my local walk, but at the very least, one more person is now aware of preeclampsia.
May is Preeclampisa Awareness month, so take this opportunity to spread a little sunshine and awareness of your own!