Lake Stevens, WA
Growing up in a good Lutheran family in Anchorage, Alaska, no
one, least of all Anne's high school science teachers, could have imagined she'd end up the poster child for preeclampsia and a champion for an educated, informed pregnancy experience.
Not a quick learner, Anne needed five pregnancies, three emergency surgeries, four ridiculously healthy boys, and a couple slaps upside the head, to realize that while she excelled in conception, she absolutely sucked at delivery.
During the delivery of boy #4, she offered to tie the tubes herself.
After the second near-death experience, she was sent home and put on six weeks of "stroke watch" which she assumed was where one sits around waiting for the seizure to kill you. The doctors, friends, and family patted her on the back and told she was lucky.
She decided to use this position of fortune – not being dead – to do something for the women and families she met along the way, and in 1999 founded the Preeclampsia Foundation which she led until 2005. Since then, she has gone on to found three other nonprofits, including the Microsoft Alumni Foundation.
For better or worse, the preeclampsia poster child moniker
stuck and people had a way of finding her. Soon her list of Facebook friends included hundreds of women with similar near-death experiences, and dozens of families whose mothers weren't so lucky and hadn't survived.
In 2012 she and Jenn Carney formed the Unexpected Project and pooled their combined talent as writers, advocates, pregnancy survivors, and pissed off women, to develop a movement - starting with a documentary about the unacceptable rate of maternal death and near-misses in the USA.
When not commiserating with her fellow survivors about
the failure of the American public health system, Anne spends her time painting, knitting, watching Netflix, playing Angry Birds, and writing the great American novel. She's a huge fan of the band Vantage, the Northwest Boy Choir, Oxford University rowing, and random acts of baking.
When pushed, and to her husband Steve's horror, she will burst into a rousing rendition of "Um Ya Ya" – her St. Olaf College fight song – anytime, anywhere, and shamelessly bribes her kids for cuddles now that they are too "big" to offer them freely.