By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent@StacyBrownMedia
There’s been little question about the dominance of Allyson Felix.
Five-time Olympian and 11-time medalist Felix has won the most medals of any track athlete in American history.
By the way, Felix also earned a gold medal in the 4×400 relay and the 4-400-meter mixed relay from the 2019 World Championship.
Earlier this year, Felix’s activism was on full display.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that Felix had joined the Hear Her campaign to share her story and raise awareness about urgent warning signs that could indicate life-threatening complications during and in the year after pregnancy.
Felix shared her brave story of a diagnosis of severe preeclampsia when she was 32 weeks pregnant.
Test results alarmed her doctor during a routine prenatal visit, and she was immediately admitted to the hospital.
Through an emergency c-section, Felix delivered a baby girl, who spent the first month of life in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Her doctor’s diagnosis and fast actions may have saved Allyson’s life.
Given her level of fitness and training, Felix said she felt prepared for the birth of her daughter and never imagined she would have a severe problem during pregnancy.
While she experienced some symptoms, like swelling, she thought they were a regular part of pregnancy.
“Looking back, I wish I would have been better informed about potential warning signs and talked to the doctor about those symptoms,” Felix stated in a news release.
“I really want women to have information, to know if they’re at risk, to have a plan in place, not to be intimidated in doctor’s offices, and to feel empowered to speak up when they have concerns.”
Because of her bold and tireless work, Felix received the 2021 National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) National Leadership Award for excellence and innovative leadership in Black America.
Drs. James Hildreth and Ebony Hilton, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-Missouri), also received National Leadership Awards from the NNPA, the trade association of more than 230 African American-owned newspapers and media companies.
You can still view the broadcast of the awards ceremony, which took place virtually at www.virtualnnpa2021.com.
Felix continues to share her story and champion the cause of others.
She noted that about 700 women die in the United States each year due to complications related to pregnancy. According to the CDC, Black women are three times more likely to die from these complications than White women.
Through her involvement, Felix also seeks to raise awareness of the higher burden of poor pregnancy outcomes among Black women to generate change.
“We are delighted Allyson Felix has joined us to encourage women to speak up and ask those who support them to listen and act quickly if they raise concerns,” Dr. Wanda Barfield, director, CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health, noted in the news release.
“Allyson’s passion and dedication to improving maternal health, particularly among Black women, makes her a strong partner for this effort.”