Family and Friends,
My name is Melissa Terhune, and I’m writing to ask for your support [as I run the Chicago Marathon] for an organization I am very passionate about. My passion for this organization, Every Mother Counts (EMC) is a result of my second pregnancy with my daughter Sloane. Finding out I was pregnant was more than shocking as I was actively preventing pregnancy with an IUD (intrauterine device). Because of this, my risk of losing Sloane was high, and I spent my first months of pregnancy making multiple trips a week to the OBGYN for monitoring. It was an isolating and terrifying experience, but through it all I had access to maternity care that walked me through what was happening, weighed the risks, and helped me make decisions based on that information. Ultimately, this resulted in our beautiful, healthy baby girl. Not everyone is so fortunate in access to resources.
It is incomprehensible that my outcome could have been vastly different due to lack of access to care. Yet women here in the United States and across the world struggle with this daily. In fact, every day 800 women die due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, which means a woman dies every 1.8 minutes. Additionally, this is not just a problem isolated to far and away places. The United States consistently ranks last among developed nations in infant and maternal mortality. With the medical knowledge and resources we have related to pregnancy and childbirth, I find this number horrifying. No one should have to lose their mother, daughter, child, or friend due to a lack of care or resources.
Every Mother Counts is working to bridge that gap around the world. They envision a future where all women have the opportunity to enter motherhood and not only survive, but thrive. They work to achieve quality, respectful, and equitable maternity care for all by giving grants and working with partners and thought leaders to increase awareness and mobilize communities to take action. This includes funding childbirth education, providing pre and postnatal care in the United States, mobile clinics and skilled care in Haiti, birth attendants in Bangladesh, and many other programs across the world, which brings me to why I chose to run for EMC.
Running is a physical manifestation of one of the largest barriers preventing women from accessing healthcare of any kind. In some parts of the world, many women have to travel as far as 26 miles to reach a clinic or provider, even when in labor, and often on foot. Therefore, I will run on Team EMC to amplify the voice for those who need our help. My goal is to raise $2,000 for EMC. I would be honored if you would come along side in support to reach this goal, and help EMC continue their global mission.
There is an increasing need in the world today, and I know that I am one of many voices making a case for a good cause. As a mother and a woman, I feel passionately about improving the birth experience for everyone, and it is something I see affecting many of the people in my life. If that resonates with you, I would deeply appreciate the support. Thank you so much for your time and your empathy.