Valentine’s Day is the day we all think about “love” and those who we have fond feelings for. I’d like to dedicate this post to 5 organizations whose “love” has touched me one way or another.

my babies1. Preeclampsia Foundation: Both of my daughters were born prematurely due to the fact that I had sever Preeclampsia. Unfortunately 23 years ago I did not know of this organization but now for patients who are faced with this there is a wonderful resource.

The Preeclampsia Foundation is an empowered community of patients and experts, with a diverse array of resources and support to help you have the best possible pregnancy or to help you navigate the questions you’ll have if you don’t. We provide unparalleled support and advocacy for the people whose lives have been or will be affected by the condition – mothers, babies, fathers and their families.

Sarah supporting WalkAmerica for the March of Dimes

2. March of Dimes: After delivering 2 preemies 4 and a half years apart. I can truly appreciate this organizations work to help preventing birth defects and prematurity.

President Franklin Roosevelt’s personal struggle with polio led him to create the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis at a time when polio was on the rise. Better known as the March of Dimes, the foundation established a polio patient aid program and funded research for vaccines developed by Jonas Salk, MD and Albert Sabin, MD. These vaccines effectively ended epidemic polio in the United States.

Its original mission accomplished, the foundation turned its focus to preventing birth defects and infant mortality. The March of Dimes has led the way to discover the genetic causes of birth defects, to promote newborn screening, and to educate medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancy. We have supported research for surfactant therapy to treat respiratory distress and helped initiate the system of regional neonatal intensive care for premature and sick babies.

Since 2003, our fight to save babies has been strongly characterized by our Prematurity Campaign. The rising incidence of premature birth has demanded action, and the March of Dimes has responded by initiating an intensive, multi-year campaign to raise awareness and find the causes of prematurity.

Hadley and her buddies at Halloween Dance

3. Best Buddies: I can’t say enough wonderful things about this organization. Every month when Hadley comes home with a note that she is going to have a Best Buddies event at her school that week a smile overcomes her. She has met some very special friends through this club.

Best Buddies is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).Best Buddies is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership.

Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States, and in 50 countries around the world. Best Buddies’ seven formal programs – Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies, Jobs and Ambassadors – positively impact nearly 700,000 individuals with and without disabilities worldwide. Best Buddies volunteers annually contribute, at no cost to their communities, support services that equate to more than $164 million USD.

4. Shane’s Inspiration: After creating and running Hadley’s Park for about 10 years, I had to hang up my hat for family reasons. Through our work we met another organization in the beginning of their existence with a similar mission. Although they were clear across the country (California) their vision and mission was on par with ours; all children should have a safe and fully inclusive place to play. To this day Shane’s Inspiration works to keep that dream alive, and I cheer for them daily!

In 1998, Shane’s Inspiration gave a gift to thousands of Los Angeles children through the creation of an environment where all children can play together at the highest level of their ability. With the support of visionary community leaders, Shane’s Inspiration created the first Universally Accessible Playground in the Western United States and the largest in the nation: “Shane’s Inspiration.” Located in Griffith Park, “Shane’s Inspiration” provides two acres of fully accessible, sensory-rich and physically challenging equipment.

Since the opening of our flagship playground, Shane’s Inspiration has helped raise millions of dollars to develop over 40 Universally Accessible Playground projects throughout Southern California and as far away as Sri Lanka. We also reach over 2,600children each year through transportation, education and community outreach programs.

5. American Heart Association: Since starting my healthy makeover last year I understand the importance of having a healthy heart! Heart Disease is the number 1 killer amongst women and I wanted to lower my odds and began my journey last year. February is American Heart Month. Their website has a wealth of information, so stop by!

What organizations do you hold near and dear to your heart?

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