Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A direct request to my readers

Dear Blog Reader

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope that you find it useful. You may know from a previous blog that it is my 40th birthday soon.

Anyway, it is hard to work out what to get me for my birthday (I know you were not wondering, but please read on...) I have everything really, love, security, a rewarding job, I live by the beach and I meet wonderful people, probably like you, trying to make the world a better place.

So this year, how about something special?

This March 8 will be my 40th International Women’s Day. But back in 1970 my mum was celebrating that day (and mothers’ day too!) by giving birth to me.

Instead of rushing to buy me a fabulous 40th birthday present, can I tell you what I would really like for my birthday?

I would like to smash my $4,000 target to raise money to help women in poverty give birth safely. But I need you to help. Please, will you make a donation here – a big one, it is an important cause and a big day for me.

It is also a big day for many women around the world as they celebrate the achievements of women past, present and future. In many countries, the day is a national holiday.

Please will you make a big, special gift? I know you probably get lots of requests but a donation from you would be wonderful.

And the impact of your donation is huge. It will have a great multiplier effect. You see, your donation will be matched by me (up to $3,000) and I am asking Marie Stopes to only use the money for fundraising, which will multiply its value even more.

Why? Well, please let me tell you about Mya.

Mya, was just shy of her 40th birthday when she visited Marie Stopes in Burma. She was 28 weeks pregnant. She couldn’t afford ante natal care or a midwife.

Mya had tragically lost two stillborn babies but six had survived – every pregnancy and giving birth is a life or death situation for many mothers and babies in Burma. Even back in 1970 – about when she and I were born – this was not anywhere near what could be expected in the UK.

But in the 21st Century it is totally unacceptable.

The staff and volunteers at Marie Stopes agree, so they are out there doing something about it.

The Marie Stopes team visited her at home and educated Mya and her husband about danger signs when giving birth. The delivery of her baby was followed by heavy bleeding causing Mya to lose consciousness.

Thankfully she was taken to hospital immediately for emergency obstetric care supported by Marie Stopes who also covered the cost of transport to the hospital. Without this care, she could have died.

But because Marie Stopes people were there Mya made a full recovery and her children still have a mother. Imagine what might have become of them if she had died.

After learning about family planning choices from a Marie Stopes nurse, she commenced using contraceptives as she has decided seven children are enough. You see, Marie Stopes doesn’t just provide ante natal care and midwifery, they also work with women to explain family planning options – giving women more control over their lives.

This is one of thousands of stories about how Marie Stopes saves mothers’ lives by providing reproductive choices.

We know that if a baby’s mother dies their baby is then 10 times more likely to die before their second birthday, and in developing countries a woman dies every minute due to lack of access to maternal care. Heavy stuff.

Please, make a donation to this appeal on my fundraising site here.

Pic 1: A mother and baby in a post Cyclone family planning clinic in Burma.
Pic 2: My mum and me nearly 40 years after she had me.

Thanks a lot. As a reader of this blog you are probably doing what you can to make the world a better place, but I am sure you can imagine that fundraising for women’s sexual and reproductive health is tough.

So, before this International Women’s Day – March 8th - please dig deep and donate here today to help women in living in poverty in the Pacific region, including indigenous Australians, through the wonderful work of Marie Stopes.

Best regards, and thank you!


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