My friend Courtney Grace Peterson is running the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon to support Every Mother Counts, a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. I was four and a half months premature and weighed a pound and eight ounces when I was born. My family and I were so fortunate to have exceptional care during my mom’s pregnancy and my time in the neonatal intensive care unit. I hope that all families can have access to lifesaving care and resources.
I interviewed Courtney to find out more about her experience and ways that we can all support Every Mother Counts.
How did you get involved with Every Mother Counts?
This is really a story about the power of social media — I have always known about Every Mother Counts and admired their work. One very cold morning in January I was feeling particularly unmotivated to run and saw EMC post about their upcoming run in Tanzania for their 5th Anniversary. I emailed their Communications Director and 45 minutes later I had committed to running the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon and booking doctors appointments for my vaccinations and organizing my Visa, etc…!
Why is the mission of Every Mother Counts important to you?
Running has always given me a sense of empowerment — it’s a way to connect with something much larger than myself. For Every Mother Counts, it’s about raising awareness that there is a global maternal health crisis — 800 women die a day from childbirth and 98% of these deaths are preventable. In some parts of the world, it’s not uncommon for women in developing countries to travel an average of 5K to get to basic care, or often as far as 26.2 miles away to reach emergency care — even when 9 months pregnant and in labor. That’s why we’re running and raising money….to help break down the distance barrier that too many women face. Investing in quality maternal health care is worth it because women’s lives are worth it.
It’s sure to be a life changing trip, for you and the women you’re running for. What are you looking forward to the most?
March 1st is especially meaningful to me as it also happens to be my mom’s birthday – I can’t think of a better day to run in her honor. The race is mostly uphill in 85 degree heat — so although it will be a tough race — it’s mind over matter. We run so mothers don’t have to.
What can we do to support?
There are two ways you support.
1. Support moms all over the world by donating to my fundraising page. I’ve personally committed to raising $10K by Mother’s Day — any donation is appreciated and no amount of money is too small (and I really mean that). For example, just $5 is enough to provide transportation to a safe birth facility for a pregnant woman in Uganda so she doesn’t have to walk.
100% of this money goes towards Every Mother Counts
2. I have teamed up with Collette consignment for a special children’s clothing drive. February 27th Collette will be hosting a Mama’s Tea Party at their store on 1298 Madison Ave. Shop their selection of children’s designer clothes (either new or just gently worn) and 15% of the proceeds go to Every Mother Counts.
Go Courtney and the entire Every Mother Counts Tanzania Marathon Team! Thank you for your hard work and dedication on behalf of mothers everywhere!
Featured Image via Every Mother Count’s Instagram.