Asheville family making strides to raise awareness for preeclampsia

From Preeclampsia Foundation:

Asheville Family Making Strides to Raise Awareness of Preeclampsia

The Hope Family Named the Asheville Promise Walk for Preeclampsia Mission Family to Help; Calls Attention to Serious Pregnancy Disorder Affecting Mothers, Babies

Asheville, NC – June 8, 2016 – The Preeclampsia Foundation is pleased to announce that Sarah Bender Hope and her family are the Asheville, NC Promise Walk for PreeclampsiaTM Mission Family. As this year’s face of preeclampsia, the Hope Family will lead the Promise Walk campaign by sharing their compelling, tragic, and hopeful childbirth story, and encouraging teams around the city to meet their fundraising goals.

Sarah and Nik Hope were thrilled to announce that a baby boy was on his way. In March 2013, in her 23rd week, during a routine appointment Sarah’s doctor determined that she had developed Severe Preeclampsia. She was rushed to Mission Hospital Maternal Fetal Unit where her blood pressure soared to life-threatening levels. As it turned out, Sarah had been experiencing symptoms and there were a number of indicators that it had struck 10 days prior. She had not heard of preeclampsia and until this point thought her symptoms were just a difficult pregnancy. With just a few short hours of being admitted, she was also diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome, a severe variant of preeclampsia that affects the liver and blood platelets. Tests and an ultrasound found their son to be too small and his lungs were underdeveloped. Sarah’s body was crashing and the only option was to undergo an emergency C-section. Isaiah Ellington Hope was born at 11 ounces, 9 inches. The medical team administered comfort care to allow him to remain in a peaceful state before he passed. From that day, the Hope Family continually participates in awareness programs and as become very active in the Asheville Bereavement community. The Hope family turned to the Preeclampsia Foundation heavily, as well as MAHEC’s Maternal Fetal Specialists to determine the possibilities of a future pregnancy. The current research indicated that there was less than 5% chance of HELLP returning and about 30- 40% of preeclampsia reoccurring however typically it appears later in the pregnancy and not as severe. In April 2015, the family was ecstatic to learn that another baby was coming in November. Sarah again turned to the Preeclampsia Foundation to stay current on research as well as connecting with our survivors on their forums. The second pregnancy felt different to Sarah and her OBGYN and MFM Specialist closely monitored her progress weekly with check-ups, scans, and appointments. There were a number of factors that we very different with this pregnancy in her care and treatments. However similar to the first pregnancy with 2 more weeks of gestation, Sarah was diagnosed again with Severe Preeclampsia. Her condition was discovered early enough that she was able to be admitted and receive vital treatment to prolong delivery by 5 days. This was enough time to receive steroids for the baby’s lung development. Sarah again developed HELLP and was forced to go into a second classical C- section. Their son, Solomon Wynstann Hope was born at 25 weeks, 5 days at 1 pound, 4 ounces and 12’’ long. The Mission Hospital NICU team attended the birth and whisked him away for life saving measures. Sarah remained in a critical medical state for the next week fighting for her life. It took her days to be able to bond with her micropreemie. Sarah was discharged while Solomon continued his NICU journey for 106 days. He received several medical interventions while surrounded by unconditional love. Solomon is currently just over 9 1/2 months (6 months adjusted). He is almost 16 pounds and the miracle of miracles. The Hope Family said, “If it wasn’t due to the support and knowledge that the Preeclampsia Foundation provided, I don’t know how we would have been able to thrive.” She sought more information about their family’s traumatic pregnancy experiences and turned to the Preeclampsia Foundation website and the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia as a source of information and to receive support. The walk on June 25 will be the Hope family’s 3rd Promise Walk for Preeclampsia in memory of their first son, Isaiah and the first one with their “rainbow” baby and micro-warrior, Solomon.

The Preeclampsia Foundation is the only national nonprofit patient advocacy organization for the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Through their national fundraising event The Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, the Preeclampsia Foundation works to achieve its mission to provide patient support and education, raise public awareness, catalyze research and improve health care practices.

Through the Foundation’s educational programs, Sarah and her family were able to learn about preeclampsia, and network with a community of preeclampsia survivors.

“Devoting our energy to the Promise Walk and Fundraise for the Preeclampsia Foundation is the best way to keep Isaiah’s legacy alive. We fundraise with a sense of determination because the power of education and awareness of this illness LITERALLY saves lives. Walking with our family and friends, other survivors and their families, nurses, doctors and other participants allows us to come together as a community. It acknowledges the mothers and babies who experienced significant trauma due to this disease. And it honors the women and babies that lost their life.” She hopes she can use her family’s experience to help others dealing with preeclampsia.

“This family is the face of the mission for the Promise Walk and represent the reason that our Foundation continues working to help save the lives of mothers and their babies,” explained Preeclampsia Foundation Executive Director Eleni Tsigas.

Sarah and her family will kick off the festivities and share their inspiring story at the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, on Saturday, June 25, 2016, at Fletcher Community Park. Registration begins at 9am, Festivities & Walk begins at 9:30am. To register, visit

About Preeclampsia:
Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs during pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period, and affects both the mother and the fetus. It is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by elevated blood pressure and protein in the urine; other symptoms may include swelling in the hands and face, headaches, and visual disturbances. Preeclampsia affects the mother’s kidneys, liver and other vital organs and, if undetected or untreated, can lead to seizures (eclampsia), cerebral hemorrhage, failure in vital organs and death. The cause of preeclampsia is still not fully understood, and the only cure for the condition begins with delivery. Approximately five to eight percent of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, which, in the United States, translates to approximately 300,000 pregnancies. It is a leading cause of preterm birth, and is responsible for approximately 76,000 maternal deaths and half a million infant deaths worldwide annually. There are several types of preeclampsia, including HELLP syndrome, a particularly dangerous variant.

About the Preeclampsia Foundation:
The Preeclampsia Foundation is the only national nonprofit patient advocacy organization for the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Through their national fundraising events the Promise Walk for PreeclampsiaTM, the Preeclampsia Foundation works to achieve its mission to provide patient support and education, raise public awareness, catalyze research and improve health care practices, envisioning a world where preeclampsia and related hypertensive disorders of pregnancy no longer threaten the lives of mothers and babies. For more information, visit

About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at

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