The HER Foundation was founded in 2003 by Kimber Wakefield MacGibbon, Ann Marie King, and Jeremy King. Kimber and Ann Marie are HG survivors who know firsthand what it’s like to live with HG.
Beginning in 2000
Kimber MacGibbon is a registered nurse who suffered from nine months of severe hyperemesis. The health professionals caring for her were largely unfamiliar with the possible causes and available treatments. It was only after being treated in the emergency room by a physician whose wife had HG, that she finally began to get the medication she needed to survive. She then began researching the topic in depth all the way back to the 18th century and in 2000 created the first comprehensive HG information and support website, www.hyperemesis.org, to help women and health professionals understand how to manage HG more effectively. She has a son and daughter after two pregnancies with severe HG.
After reviewing the research and literature on HG back to the 1700's, I put a website online to educate others about HG and possible treatments. I also added a forum for women to find support. I called it the Hyperemesis Education and Research Organization (HERO) because these women are hero's. It was the first comprehensive website on HG.
- Kimber MacGibbon, RN
Co-founder and Executive Director -
Becoming a 501(c)3 Nonprofit
In 2001, Ann Marie King suffered from severe hyperemesis and was in and out of the hospital throughout her pregnancy. In despair and searching for answers, Ann Marie asked her doctor if she could speak with another woman who had suffered through HG. The doctor did not know of anyone she could contact. It was then that Ann Marie knew her calling was to help other women who are suffering from HG and let them know they are not alone.
Thankfully, Ann Marie’s husband, Jeremy King, found Kimber and once Ann Marie had delivered a healthy baby boy, the three co-founders created the HER Foundation and achieved 501(c)3 non-profit status. They expanded the hyperemesis.org website, which included a forum for women to support each other and a referral network of doctors who truly understand HG. In addition, they launched a nationwide awareness campaign which included a briefing on Capitol Hill sponsored by several Congressman.
Calling HG morning sickness is like calling a hurricane a little rain.
- Jeremy King, Co-founder -
Finding Answers Through Research
Our groundbreaking research began in 2005 when Ann Marie King, Kimber MacGibbon, and Marlena Fejzo met with T. Murphy Goodwin to establish the HER Foundation's research collaboration with the University of Southern California. Dr. Fejzo met Kimber online in 1999 when Kimber responded to Dr. Fejzo's research survey. Together with other clinicians, they have published over 30 studies breaking the silence and stigma of HG, and bringing answers such as the genetic causes to the forefront of HG literature. It is our goal to increase awareness of available medical care and the potentially devastating consequences if untreated.
HG was 10 unbearable weeks of constant suffering, horrifying for me, horrifying for my family, and deadly for my innocent, unborn child. When I recovered, I was shocked to learn that there was so little scientific research on HG and, there and then, decided to devote my life to studying HG.
- Malena Fejzo, PhD -
Building a Team
The directors, board members, and volunteers at the HER Foundation continue to be motivated by a strong desire to minimize the suffering of women with HG and to eliminate the need for aborting much-wanted babies due to misery, misinformation, and desperation. Every member of #TeamHER has been touched by HG or is a professional who cares for HG patients. HER is part of a team lead by Dr. Marlena Fezjo that has produced ground-breaking research findings highlight:
- the first genetic causes
- impact and loss rates
- best management practices
- long term outcomes of mom and baby.
The research co-published by HER finally confirms that HG has long-standing impact on both mother and child, especially if treatment is delayed or inadequate.
Volunteering at the SMFM conference was completely eye opening. It was sad to witness medical specialists come to the booth with defeated looks on their faces because they didn't know how else to treat their patients for HG. But upon walking away from the booth with resources in hand... that defeated look turned to a look of hope. All these doctors and midwives want to do is help their HG patients. The HER Foundation's role is to help those doctors succeed.
- Nikki Daily, Volunteer -