BENEFITING: The Fistula Foundation
On March 3rd, 2013, I'll run the Kilimanjaro Marathon in Tanzania. For each of the 13 miles I'll run, I am raising money for 13 charities. The Fistula Foundation is one of the 13.
Looking back on my pregnancy, I can easily recall every moment. I was 28 years old. I remember all of the prenatal care I received over the course of my pregnancy, the education that taught me what to expect, the careful packing of my overnight bags. The planned induction because of my high-risk status, the team of doctors, nurses, and medical staff overseeing every moment of my time at the hospital. The immense feelings of love and adoration after seeing my son for the first time, and love and support of my husband and mother who remained by my side. My birth experience was easy, and all because of who I was. I was an American, giving birth in an American hospital. Giving birth in the poorest countries in the world? That’s a completely different story, and one that is difficult to tell.
For a young pregnant woman in Ethiopia, she’s only 14 and her body isn’t developed for childbirth yet. She will labor long hours at home, without the assistance of a maternal health professional. There is no epidural to ease the pain nor has she taken classes that taught her how to breathe through a contraction. When she experiences complications, when her baby’s body isn’t able to clear her small pelvis, there is no doctor to perform an emergency cesareans-section. As her body and the baby attempt to clear the pelvis, its fragile head pushes against the bone, killing off tissue and creating a hole. Hours can turn into days, and only then is the girl taken to the closest hospital, only to learn that her baby has died within her. And now her body is an open wound, she has an obstetric fistula, where urine, feces, and blood can leak through. She returns home to a husband who has left her and a family who can’t stand the stench that she carries with her. She is not only mourning the death of her baby but of her life as she knew it.
273 women will develop an obstetric fistula today.
273 in addition to the 500,000 currently diagnosed.
Until I read “Half the Sky,” I had never heard of obstetric fistula…. and it would be easier to pretend like I never did, but I can’t.
273 women today. Everyday.
However with the sadness comes an overwhelming need to say ONE LESS. We can help one woman. As part of the 13 for 13, I’ve become a Circle of Friends Volunteer with The Fistula Foundation, one of the partners of the Half the Sky Movement. The Fistula Foundation is doing amazing work funding established, in-country programs as well as a variety of new programs. These include motorcycle ambulances and the Global Fistula Map. Through the Fistula Foundation, I learned that if we raise $450 dollars, we can financially support the repair surgery of one woman who has obstetric fistula.
That’s it. $450 US dollars.Please consider donating to this worthwhile cause.