F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Christy Turlington Burns proves he was wrong. Christy’s second act is her tenacious fight against maternal mortality. After the birth of her first child, she suffered postpartum hemorrhage. In the U.S., it’s a common complication of labor, but it’s almost always manageable. In developing countries, it can be deadly. Christy’s realization that her life and her baby’s turned on the luck of geography inspired her to take action.
She made the documentary No Woman, No Cry to raise awareness of maternal mortality. Then she founded Every Mother Counts, which provides health education, medicine and emergency care in poor countries. Christy focuses like a laser on efficiency. Every Mother Counts promises that a $1 donation means $1 in the hands of the people saving lives. And the wind is at her back. Maternal mortality is down by almost half since 1990, a leading indicator of a better world, because mothers are the beating heart of communities. When they are healthy, everyone thrives. Christy is helping make that happen.
Gates is a co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation