WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman in Grand Rapids is joining other women today to spread awareness about preeclampsia, a condition that affects pregnant women after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Juliet Meyer is the chair of the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia. She was diagnosed with the condition last August while carrying her second child.

“It was very scary. I hadn’t heard of preeclampsia before this. So it was all new to me. It was the scariest time of my life,” Meyer said.

Preeclampsia affects pregnant women’s blood pressure and kidneys. It can lead to dangerous and life-threatening complications for the mother and her baby.

It’s something Meyer says she experienced as she suddenly gained 70 pounds of fluid when her kidneys started to shut down.

She was hospitalized for five days before undergoing an emergency C-section. Following the birth, her daughter spent nearly three months in the NICU.

“I actually had another occurrence that happened where I was just minutes away from passing away. That’s how severe this is,” she said. “I had 10 minutes to say goodbye to family and friends before they rushed me to a second and third emergency surgery, where I then had to follow up with physical therapy and was in a wheelchair for five weeks.”

Meyer says she and her baby girl, who is now 10 months old, are thriving. Her experience has encouraged her to share her personal story to bring light to something that almost took her life.

“Currently there’s no medications for preeclampsia. They are finding there are different prescriptions that could help it and ease it a little bit but that’s a lot of what we are fundraising for, is to try and
figure out a cure or a cause to why this does occur to so many women,” Meyer said.

Meyer and other women gathered for an awareness walk at Grant Pavilion located at Millennium Park on Saturday. The walk began at 11 a.m.

Members of the Grand Rapids Gold were in attendance. There was also kid-friendly games and food.