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Going The Distance For Moms, With Christy Turlington Burns

This week at Babble Voices Salon (this is, in fact, the inaugural week of the Salon, so! You should totally check out what we’re up to there!), we’re talking about whether it takes a mom to change the world – that is, whether mothers are uniquely inclined/inspired/able to make the world a better place. Christy Turlington Burns embodies the positive answer to that question – she’s a world-changing mom of the highest order. Here, she tells us about the latest development in her work to improve global maternal health and to inspire others to work in support of that cause – and puts out a call to action to mothers (and others!) everywhere to join her…

Just as I was finally taking a week to unwind late this summer, I got another one of those calls that changed my life. Our friends at Crowdrise checked in to ask, “Does Every Mother Counts want ten spots in the NYC Marathon?” There was no question that we did, but what I didn’t realize was that I would also be running.

Crowdrise is a crowd-sourcing platform that we have been working with since Mother’s Day and more recently worked with to raise funds to send a container of medical supplies to South Sudan. Being the great partners they are, they were offered several slots for the marathon to be used for charities and nicely thought of us.

Distance is one of the biggest barriers that millions of women around the world struggle to overcome when they need to reach a skilled provider during pregnancy or in childbirth. Many women around the world have to walk a minimum of 5 kilometers, often far more, just to seek basic care—even when 9 months plus pregnant! So this marathon opportunity seemed a great way to further engage our supporters AND educate more people about just how big a barrier distance can be for women around the world.

 

As soon as we accepted as an organization, I found myself asking, “Well what if I ran it too? Could I do that?” I have been running over the years on and off and was in pretty good shape when this offer came in. If this effort was going to be for an organization I founded and a cause I feel so passionate about personally, then shouldn’t I take the plunge myself and run the 26.2 miles? And so Team EMC was born. I wasn’t sure how my colleagues would react. Some were practically pro-marathoners and jumped at the chance and others who had never really run more than a couple miles took a bit more time to go from “are you crazy?” to “I’m in.” In total though, it took a mere couple of days before we compiled our team. Not only is the ING Marathon a coveted international event on many a bucketlist, it offers incredible exposure for a small advocacy organization like ours. Our team is comprised of individuals who truly care about this issue and are committed to improving maternal health.

The truth is- we ALL want to be challenged to DO something when presented with issues that we want to change. We don’t just want to hear about crises, we want to know that we can get involved and make an impact. Now we can’t get everyone who has come out to support our efforts a spot in the NYC marathon (not everyone is crazy enough to want to run one anyway). But we do think there’s still a way to get involved no matter where you are, no matter what your fitness level. We’re calling on supporters all across the country to strap on their sneakers and run OR walk a 5k on November 6 in solidarity with us and the girls and women we advocate for. If pregnant women at full term are expected to do it, why can’t we?

Please join us and see how you, your moms group, your book club, your family, or just a few friends can come together and organize your own 5K for Every Mother Counts. If you want to take a step further, purchase a race shirt on our site to wear on race day or print a sign to carry as a show of support, fundraise for us if you want or are able by creating your own team on our Crowdrise page, but most definitely take a picture of the fruit of your actions, if only to share with us and tell us about your team and your experience on Facebook.

This is one of those moments for us to all stand together and DO something about an issue we all feel deeply about.

Christy guest-posted about her work (and about her marathon training) last month, if you want to catch up more on what the life of a world-changing mom. If you want the orthopedically-challenged perspective on going the distance for maternal health, check out Heather Armstrong’s account of her training and injuries and her determination to DO THIS THING for maternal health even if she has to do it on crutches at her blog, which I think you may have heard of maybe.

Oh, yeah, and — I’m going to walk. Or at least wear an EMC t-shirt and cheer loudly from the sidelines of the marathon. Which pales in comparison to crutch-marathoning, but I am so woefully unfit that I would probably not only injure myself, but others, if I attempted to move at any pace beyond stroll. So. Who’s with me?

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