Crowdfunding For Change

Headed to D.C.

As most of you know my life’s work has become advocating for improved maternal health and increased birth options for KY families.  This fall I have the opportunity to take that work to a national level while learning advanced advocacy skills to help me better serve KY families.

Daughter Marley ann and I at KY house health and welfare committee hearing.

On Oct 23 – 24th, 2017, the Lamaze Advocacy Summit (LAS) will be held in Washington D.C. This event is open to anyone (Lamaze member or not) and my job as a state champion is not just to show up and advocate, but to encourage other Kentuckians to join me at the LAS.  I will be there to guide them along the way!  This is essentially what I already do in Frankfort, KY, every year as a Kentucky Home Birth Coalition (KHBC) Steering Committee member and Community Liaison.  In KY I make appointments for constituents to meet with their state legislators and then sit right there with them, offering my full support, as they go to their meeting.  I help them understand the ways of the capital to enable them to confidently speak, or I can speak on their behalf during the meeting.  The Lamaze Advocacy Summit will simply take those skills to a national level.

I’ve been an LCCE (Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator) for 2 years and take great pride in my affiliation with Lamaze International. I have been a volunteer for the KHBC for 6 years as a community liaison and a steering committee member. I’ve lobbied in Frankfort for increased maternity care options for the last 3 years, my family has hosted fundraisers for KHBC and gathered hundreds of letters to send to legislators, hosted letter writing parties and advocacy meetings in multiple KY cities, promoted personal advocacy as a trained birth doula and LCCE, made hundreds of appointments with legislators for lobbying days in Frankfort and played a role in bringing over 200 people to Frankfort in a grassroots movement in 2017.

As a business owner, I established the My Sunshine Birth Services Network to create opportunities for like-minded birth professionals willing to educate, support and advocate for KY families. Samantha Steen is one member of that network and she will be traveling along with me. Sam is the owner of Samantha Steen Photography, providing birth photography & videography in all settings to clients in Bowling Green, KY and beyond. Sam is a dedicated advocate for families who suffer infant loss as a volunteer with Now I lay Me Down To Sleep. She volunteers as an area coordinator and photographer and provides invaluable services to local loss families. She greatly believes in supporting me in all of my endeavors to increase access to quality childbirth education, quality maternity care and birth options in KY.  As a witness to numerous birth experiences she is constantly reminded of the importance proper education, support and advocacy. Her role in this trip is to not only advocate and speak with legislators, but to also document the experience and bring the story of KY voices being heard back home. By attending, we will work together to strengthen our role in advocating, to assist Kentucky Home Birth Coalition with much needed changes to Kentucky’s currently outdated legislation.

Samantha and Mary

A few examples of the needed changes are:

  • Increasing access to quality childbirth education through insurance coverage
  • Bringing dedicated and caring birth centers to Kentucky
  • Improving birthing options for rural families
  • Licensure for Certified Professional Midwives
  • Lower cesarean rates
  • increased VBAC care access
  • decreased maternal mortality rate
  • …and more!

How you can help.

In order for Sam and I to attend LAS we need your financial support.  We have currently raised $1650 of the $3000 goal and we are asking that you donate to cover travel and registration cost.  You can learn more about LAS, myself and Sam by visiting our DONATE page. That is also where you can make your donations or you can send money to  Every little bit helps and most of our donors have sent $20-$40, but it all adds up!

Sharing is Caring!

If you can donate or not everyone can share.  Please use the graphic below or share this blog post to help us reach our goals.