Woman cycles across country fighting for preeclampsia and her son

By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 8, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – A Virginia woman is riding more than 2,000 miles across the country to raise awareness about preeclampsia, which affected her life less than a year ago.

Preeclampsia affects between 2-8 percent of pregnancies worldwide and causes about 15 percent of premature births. Many of the symptoms and signs can be undetectable or seem like regular pregnancy symptoms.

For Carlie Linde, she's doing what many call the impossible, but for her, it is a tribute to her son. As Linde takes off on her last leg of a more than 2,000-mile trip, she has one thing on her mind.

The cyclist shares, "When you're biking, your thoughts can just wander off and I think a lot about Azzi and what he would be like now and what our life would be like, so it's a good time to think."

Linde, who was diagnosed with preeclampsia almost a year ago, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Azzi Ricky. Ricky was the name of her father who has also passed. Three days after his birth, Azzi passed away and Linde was left wondering how it all happened in a blink of an eye.

Linde recalls the day she realized she had the disease, "So, I was sitting at a coffee shop and 30 minutes later I was in the hospital with a ton of drugs. I mean, it's really quick how fast it can go downhill."

Now, she's riding throughout the US, always with a family member or friend accompanying her on her tandem bike. For the last part, Linde's mother, Dottie Wallace, took on the challenge.

Wallace says all they hope for is to inform others before it is too late.

"Well, we don't want anyone else to go through what she's been through and what we've been through. So, if she can help a few families or even a couple of people not go through this and be able to bring their babies home, than that's been worth it," Wallace said.

Linde says although some may call her crazy, the ride is worth it if it's in Azzi's name.

"I'm not a cyclist, I could never do it, but I am doing it," she said. "It's about having motivation, but also just putting one foot in front of the other and you'll get there."

As Linde shares her story, Wallace beams, "Yeah, she's probably the strongest person I know."

Wallace and Linde are proud of the work and awareness they have spread throughout their travels.

The Preeclampsia Foundation mentions key ways to see if you or someone you know may be suffering from the disease. You can visit their website by clicking here.

Although Linde has raised her fundraising goal of $2,000, the amount needed for a research grant, any money that will continue to be donated will go towards research for preeclempsia. To donate or learn more, click here.