Blacksburg parents biking cross-country in honor of son born prematurely

#AzzisRide brings awareness to preeclampsia and raises funds for research

ROANOKE, Va.- – It's been eight months since a Blacksburg family lost their son from complications due to preeclampsia. It complicates up to 8 percent of pregnancies worldwide.

Carlie and Dietrich Linde are preparing for a long journey. They'll be cycling on a tandem bike in honor of their son Azzi, who passed away this summer. They've already mapped out most of the trip. The couple will ride from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida. 

It's Azzi's Ride for Research. 

"Azzi was born on July 5. Very early, very prematurely. He was only 27 weeks and a few days. He was 1 pound, 3 ounces," said Linde.

The ride is a promise to their little boy to make the world a better place because of his life. 

"He got an infection, and three days later, he passed away. He was born early, but he was born early because of a disease called preeclampsia."

Linde was hospitalized immediately for the condition after alerting her doctor. She didn't know something was wrong until a friend of her told her about some of the symptoms related to the condition.

"It's a hypertensive disorder. You can get it after 28 weeks of pregnancy, and one of the biggest things is high blood pressure."   

High blood pressure kept her on medication for several days. She was in the hospital for 10 days before Azzi was delivered by cesarean section. 

They won't be making the ride cross-country alone. Azzi will be there in spirit. 

"So this was a swing someone gave to us at a baby shower. So we just cut all the stuff off, and we're going to ride with it on the back," said Linde. 

They're also raising awareness. 

"I was trying to be really calm but just know what's going on. Read the articles. Sign up for the emails," said Linde.

The mission will raise money for preeclampsia research. Their goal is $9,000. The funds donated will go straight to the Preeclampsia Foundation, which awards grants to researchers. 

"Three dollars per mile. For the three days that he was with us. And we're going $3,000 miles. So we are at about $4,000 right now," said Linde.

You can follow the ride by using the hashtag #AzzisRide. Visit their GoFundMe account here.  


Below is more information about the condition from Dr. Allison Durica, Maternal Fetal Medicine physician with Carilion.

1. How common is preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia complicates up to 8% of pregnancies worldwide, and the rate of hypertensive disease in pregnancy in the United States continues to rise. Up to 16% of maternal deaths in high income countries are associated with the complication of hypertensive disease; including preeclampsia. 

2. How can preeclampsia be stressful for mother and baby?
Preeclampsia raises the risk for associated complications of poor fetal growth, low amniotic fluid, placental abruption/bleed, and in rarer cases, fetal death. Maternal risks associated with this pregnancy complication include acute kidney or liver failure, pulmonary edema, seizure, and in rarer cases, death. These significant and sometimes severe associated complications are difficult to predict, and pose a great emotional stressor to the mother and family facing them. The additional necessary medical testing, provider visits, and restriction on ability to work may also add to financial burdens for these patients and families. The placental dysfunction associated with preeclampsia is also a potential stressor for the fetus since it may not readily supply all of the nutrients the fetus desires for normal growth and intrauterine health. In cases of severe and preterm preeclampsia, preterm delivery may be necessary. The additional stress for the mother having a premature infant in the NICU may provider a further burden to her ability to recover from the delivery, and the added burden of prematurity may complicate the infant's newborn period. 

3. How can preeclampsia be prevented?
Unfortunately, despite a great deal of investigation regarding possible preventative strategies for preeclampsia, there is no yet identified supplement or intervention that has shown benefit in a pregnant mother of routine risk. Recent published guidelines by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as the United States Preventative Task Force does suggest that there may be benefit in prevention of preeclampsia by taking an 81 mg aspirin daily starting after 12 weeks gestation. This potential preventative benefit has been shown in women already at increased risk for development of preeclampsia. Risk factors for development of preeclampsia include (but not limited to): previous pregnancy complicated by preeclampsia, preexisting diagnoses of chronic hypertension or diabetes, and multifetal gestation. 

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