Necker’s Gift of Giving salutes Shelly Bridgewater Dreams Foundation

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ROCK ISLAND - Photos and memories say a lot about the late Shelly Bridgewater.

"Everybody was her friend," recalled her mom, Brenda Warner, on Thursday, October 18.  "She was fun. She was outgoing. She knew everybody."

The young fifth-grade teacher was just getting started.  She had a career, marriage and baby on the way.

"She just embraced everybody," Brenda continued.  "She made everybody feel comfortable.  She loved kids. She loved working with kids.  She just enjoyed life."

But exactly one week after giving birth, Shelly passed away from preeclampsia - a cardiovascular disease that occurs in pregnant women.  She was just 25 years old.

"We just felt like - how can this happen?" Brenda recalled.  "It was the year 2005.  How can they throw up their hands and go, we don't know what to do?"

Brenda and her late husband, John, formed the Shelly Bridgewater Dreams Foundation with the University of Iowa.

"If there was anything we could do in our power to not have somebody else go through it, that's what we wanted to do," she said.

Education is the mission.  Doctors at the University of Iowa are working to develop routine testing and better monitoring.

"If we can educate the doctors in what to look for, we can educate the patients on the signs and symptoms of what to look for," she said.

A portion of October sales at Necker's Jewelers will support the foundation.

Shelly's daughter, 13, is now a healthy teenager.

"We're looking for something better in the future," Brenda concluded.  "We have to have something better than what happened to us in 2005."

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