Watch the 2023 May AAPEC Walk on YouTube!

Welcome Speech

Welcome everyone to the Australian Action on Preeclampsia walk for 2023. Before we begin, I would like to pay my respects to the tradition owners on the land that we are on today. We acknowledge that the Bidigal people of the Eora Nation are the original inhabitants and custodians of all land and water in the Georges River region, which includes Oatley Park. I pay my respects to Elders past and present and extend this respect to any First Nations people who are here walking with us this morning.

Hello! My name is Lynne Roberts, I am the president of AAPEC. Some of you will know me as a research midwife or work colleague, some as a friend, some call me mum. Some don’t know me, but I look forward to chatting with you later today. I welcome you all and thankyou for coming along to support AAPEC in our aim to raise awareness of preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

The month of May is preeclampsia awareness month and May 22 is a special day on the AAPEC calendar as it is World Preeclampsia Day. It is great to have a day that acknowledges preeclampsia all around the globe and great that we can get together today to acknowledge this day.

Preeclampsia affects up to 8% of pregnancies and can harm the mother and/or her unborn baby. It is a leading cause of preterm birth and admission to the special care nursery or NICU, and a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. Around the world, many mothers and babies die each year because of preeclampsia. It has been estimated that there are 76,000 maternal deaths and half a million baby deaths, each year globally due to preeclampsia. Let us pause for a moment of silence to reflect on this, and give thought to those lives lost.

We now know that preeclampsia is a life-long disorder as it increases the woman’s risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, having a stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease. There is some evidence that the baby may have issues with blood pressure later in life. It’s important for all of you here who have experienced preeclampsia, to live a healthy lifestyle and see your GP every year to have your blood pressure checked and have some blood and urine tests done.

AAPEC was established in Melbourne in 1993 and offers support to women and their families who have experienced preeclampsia. APPEC also aims to inform the public and raise awareness of preeclampsia, while at the same time supporting and promoting research. The annual AAPEC walk began in Melbourne in 2011 and Sydney joined them in 2021. We walked on the same day in two cities. This year AAPEC ran the campaign ‘AAPEC is walking all around Australia’. We have organised walks taking place this morning in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and here in Sydney. We also have a virtual walk option for those who could not attend today or could not get to an organised walk. We are hoping to have someone walking in every state and territory this month in recognition of preeclampsia. The virtual walk option has gone above and beyond the ‘All around Australia’ concept as we have people walking in New Zealand and Portugal which is fantastic. Please let your friends and family know that it is not too late to register for a virtual walk – this can be done any time in May so there is more than a week left to get walking! Just scan the QR code for details and registration. And while they are on the website, and you can do this too, consider becoming a member of the AAPEC community.

So now for the walk briefing:

Please stay safe! We are walking on a shared road so we will come across cars, bicycles, and other pedestrians. Stick to the left and don’t take up the whole road. Helpers will spread out between walkers making sure that someone is in the lead and another at the end to make sure everyone stays on track and doesn’t get lost or left behind. Keep an eye out for the helpers wearing the white or purple AAPEC shirts. It is a sealed road so suitable for prams, scooters, bikes etc.

We will be walking at least one lap of the park which is 2.5km, but you can walk as many laps as you like.

We will meet back here after the walk for morning tea, mingling and a play on the playground equipment.

We have a volunteer who will be staying here minding the tables while the walk is going on so you can leave belongings behind if you wish.

We have a first aid kit – please see someone in a white or purple shirt for help.

Toilets are in the front oval of the park via a track from the children’s playground.

We will be taking a group photo before we set off. This photo may go on the AAPEC website and/or social media platforms. If you prefer to stay out of the photo, that is fine. We have Jenny and Jasmine taking photos all morning and they will put a short video together. Please let them know if you prefer to stay out of the photos/video. If you would like a copy of the video, please record your name and email address here and I will send the video to you once it is created.

So please wear your bandana, hold your shopping bag, or drink bottle and huddle up for the group photo. Once that is done, we will set off.

President of AAPEC, PhD MMid MHSc
Lynne Roberts