Pastime with a Purpose - Husband-and-wife Duo Launch an Annual Golf Outing to Raise Money for a Cause Close to Home
By: Abbey Fenton
On July 31, 2014, Elliott Charles Vehovic was born a healthy baby at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. Bill and Noona Vehovic were thrilled to have a healthy baby boy after several in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempts. Soon after bringing Elliot home, Noona started to experience feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious. It was not until Bill found her inconsolable on the floor that he realized it was time to find help. Noona was admitted to UPMC Magee and diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum anxiety (PPA).
“Women are strong,” says Bill. “Women can look good on the outside and could be really hurting on the inside and you are never going to be able to tell.”
After going through this experience together, Bill and Noona wanted to do something to raise awareness about PPD and PPA and help others in similar situations. So, the event Pars for Postpartum golf outing was born. Bill and Noona created and co-chaired an event for the Pittsburgh community to not only raise awareness about the signs of PPD and PPA, but also to educate our community about the resources available to them. Those attending this event enjoy 18 championship holes at the Edgewood Country Club, dinner with keynote speakers, raffles, and more.
“If I can help coach men, spouses, partners, whomever to know what to look for and know who to reach out to for help when you recognize those things, I’m solving half my mission,” Bill says.
With the yearly event raising awareness for PPA and PPD, the second half of the Vehovics’ mission is fulfilled through their support of programs for patients going through similar experiences.
Since its creation five years ago, this successful event has raised more than $175,000 for programs at UPMC Magee and UPMC Western Psychiatric hospitals. One of the programs benefiting from this event is the New and Expectant Mother Skills Training Program (NEST). This program was created to bring PPD- and PPA-specific therapy to the Pittsburgh community. NEST includes both group therapy and intensive outpatient therapy for expectant mothers or up to one year postpartum. The program also includes a broad range of treatments including stabilization of symptoms and crisis behaviors, medication counseling during pregnancy and lactation, specialized care for mood disorders, and encouragement for mother-infant bonding.
“Being diagnosed with postpartum disorder is very isolating,” Noona says. “Being able to participate in a group setting and seeing that you are not alone and that other people going through what you are going through gives you a sense of community.”
Thanks to the funds raised by the Pars for Postpartum outing, the NEST program was able to add a childcare room to their Wexford location. NEST encourages and facilitates mother and infant bonding during treatment. The childcare room was created in hopes that mothers who have older children can utilize childcare while bonding with their newborn.
For more information on the Pars for Postpartum event visit: http://mageewomens.org/PARS