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Mission Monday: Team “Bennett Strong” Strides Toward Philadelphia Goal

April 7, 2014

Mission Family Monday is when we take the opportunity to spotlight the real stories of families affected by preeclampsia, who have chosen to share that story in their local community to raise awareness of this cause. These individuals shine a spotlight on the work that the Preeclampsia Foundation supporters do through the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia. Please feel free to share this story in your own community!

Gary, Mary and Bennett Pellegrino

Greg, Bennett and Mary Pellegrino

Mary Pellegrino was no stranger to the term “preeclampsia”: her own mother was a HELLP syndrome survivor. But even knowing the symptoms of the condition, she admits that her own symptoms were hard to identify. She was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome at 25 weeks with the birth of her first child, son Bennett.

“My symptoms began and progressed quickly,” said Mary. “When I discovered my chest pains, realized that my blood pressure was high, and that I had gained 20 pounds in three weeks, I pulled up the Foundation’s website while I waited for a return call from my Ob/Gyn. I knew what was going on and I was prepared to focus on getting myself safely to my doctor to learn what could be done to keep myself and Bennett safe. ”

Bennett was born weighing only 1 lb, 2 oz due to interuterine growth restriction (IUGR). Mary and her husband Greg spent 220 agonizing days watching their son struggle and grow in the neonatal intensive care unit. It took Mary herself a week to be released from the hospital, and would be another six months before her blood pressure began to stabilize.

The Pellegrinos were incredibly excited to discover a Promise Walk location near their hometown of Warrenton, Penn., and to celebrate their story as the 2014 Philadelphia Promise Walk Mission Family. They see the Promise Walk as an opportunity for families to come together and celebrate their common journeys, while raising awareness and funds for an organization that works to save lives.

“We have an awesome opportunity to educate our moms, empower our moms, and find cures for preeclampsia and HELLP,” said Mary. “I think that with information and preparation comes the hope and the greatest promise for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. The Preeclampsia Foundation provides the greatest vehicle for this hope and promise.”

The Philadelphia-metro Promise Walk, located at Challenge Grove Park in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, will also include children’s activities, snacks, coffee and several raffle and silent auction items. Teams and individuals can join “Team Bennett Strong” register at: www.promisewalk.org/philadelphia

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