g and EMC: the beginning
As I write this post, I am sitting on a plane en route to Kilimanjaro. I am catching my breath from the whirlwind of the last few weeks and find I’m pinching myself that this is actually happening. Every Mother Counts, g, Tanzania. These aren’t random pieces of a marketing strategy or socially responsible programs that were chosen by focus groups. This is the manifestation of people, issues and places that I have been passionate about my entire life.
Ever since I was a child, I have been drawn to the plight of orphans. I remember wanting to donate all my stuffed animals to orphans, hoping to share some small bit of comfort with these children who lived in hardship. Having a loving mother, father, sister, uncle, aunt, cousins and grandparents of my own, it was incomprehensible to me that children were growing up without a family. Different issues resonate with each one of us, and for me, orphans especially pulled at my heart.
In my early twenties I volunteered in an orphanage in Mexico for 9 months and fell in love with one-year-old Hugo. Through g, we have supported Hands to Hearts International and have donated gPants around the world to both private and public orphanages. But each time my heart hurt. Donating diapers is nice, but when you see these gorgeous smiles, big loving eyes, and faces begging to be held, it just isn’t enough.
In 2011, I was honored as an entrepreneur at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business Summit. There, I met Christy Turlington-Burns, who spoke about her passion for maternal health and of the non-profit she founded – Every Mother Counts. She talked about the shocking statistics of one woman dying every two minutes from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. But then she said something that struck me to my core.
“90% of these deaths are preventable.”
I am sure I missed the next few minutes of her presentation as I sat with this incredible information.
90% of these mamas do not have to die. If they survive, their precious babies aren’t at risk of being orphaned by fathers who simply don’t have the physiological means to produce milk to feed and nurture an infant.
I knew in that moment that g needed to support EMC. When I later introduced myself to Christy, I was even more taken aback by her intelligence, her compassion, and her commitment. There is a reason we all think she is so beautiful, and it is not only because of her looks; it is because she glows – literally – from the inside of her soul.
So began our journey, and now we find ourselves together again. This time, we’re in Tanzania, about to run this half marathon to honor every mother who deserves a safe and healthy childbirth. I’m thrilled to share this experience with all of our gMums and Dads and I’ll be posting updates throughout my journey.
Join us in a walk, run, cycle this Sunday, March 1st, while Kim and the EMC team run in the Mt. Kilimanjaro Half Marathon to raise funds for Every Mother Counts. We’d love for you to change your Facebook profile pic to show your support for making pregnancy and childbirth safe for all mothers.
You can also donate to Crowdrise to support EMC’s work and awareness efforts.