Hello, my name is Mary Duke, LCCE, owner of My Sunshine Birth Services. I am in need of your financial assistance in order to be an advocate for mothers and families across Kentucky.

On Oct 23 – 24th, 2017, the Lamaze Advocacy Summit (LAS) will be held in Washington D.C. This event is open to anyone (Lamaze member or not) and my job as a state champion is not just to show up and advocate, but to encourage other Kentuckians to join me at the LAS.  I will be there to guide them along the way!  This is essentially what I already do in Frankfort, KY, every year as a Kentucky Home Birth Coalition (KHBC) Steering Committee member and Community Liaison.  I make appointments for constituents to meet with their state legislators and then sit right there with them, offering my full support, as they go to their meeting.  I help them understand the ways of the capital to enable them to confidently speak, or I can speak on their behalf during the meeting.  This event will simply take those skills to a national level.

I’ve been an LCCE (Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator) for 2 years and take great pride in my affiliation with Lamaze International. I have been a volunteer for the KHBC for 6 years as a community liaison and a steering committee member. I’ve lobbied in Frankfort for increased maternity care options for the last 3 years, my family has hosted fundraisers for KHBC and gathered hundreds of letters to send to legislators, hosted letter writing parties and advocacy meetings in multiple KY cities, promoted personal advocacy as a trained birth doula and LCCE, made hundreds of appointments with legislators for lobbying days in Frankfort and played a role in bringing over 200 people to Frankfort in a grassroots movement in 2017.

Mary and Sam
Samantha Steen and I

As a business owner, I established the My Sunshine Birth Services Network to create opportunities for like-minded birth professionals willing to educate, support and advocate for KY families. Samantha Steen is one member of that network and she will be traveling along with me. Sam is the owner of Samantha Steen Photography, providing birth photography & videography in all settings to clients in Bowling Green, KY and beyond. Sam is a volunteer with Now I lay Me Down To Sleep as an area coordinator and photographer. She greatly believes in supporting me in all of my endeavors to increase access to quality childbirth education, quality maternity care and birth options in KY.  As a witness to numerous birth experiences she is constantly reminded of the importance proper education, support and advocacy. Her role in this trip is to not only advocate and speak with legislators, but to also document the experience and bring the story of KY voices being heard back home. By attending, we will work together to strengthen our role in advocating, to assist Kentucky Home Birth Coalition with much needed changes to Kentucky’s currently outdated legislation.

A few examples of the needed changes are:

  • Increasing access to quality childbirth education through insurance coverage
  • Bringing dedicated and caring birth centers to Kentucky
  • Improving birthing options for rural families
  • Licensure for Certified Professional Midwives
  • Lower cesarean rates
  • increased VBAC care access
  • decreased maternal mortality rate
  • …and more!

About The Event


Register today for the Lamaze 2017 Advocacy Summit, October 23-24, 2017. This unique event will replace the traditional annual conference for 2017, and will strengthen our voices on Capitol Hill and beyond!

Individual advocacy and stakeholder advocacy are two of the core competencies of a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. The Lamaze Advocacy Summit is an excellent way to develop – and build upon – these competencies. Join us in Washington, DC to learn about advocacy strategies and techniques that you can use during our meetings on Capitol Hill and in your communities and workplaces.

Advocacy is an invaluable skill that you can use on a local level, to broaden your business within your community, and to help further spread the reach of Lamaze International. Two days in Washington, DC, valuable contact hours, networking with peers, and meeting members of Congress and their staffs is an opportunity you can’t miss!

Want to attend? Here’s the info you need:

Advocacy meeting I organized in Bowling Green, KY last winter.

Why We Need Your Help

Lamaze International is the name synonymous with quality childbirth education around the world, for all birth plans, regardless of your preferred delivery setting. What many people don’t know, is that Lamaze International is made up of a community of volunteers who work tirelessly to improve maternal health around the world. As my involvement in Lamaze has grown, I’ve been amazed by the work and outreach they do.  A lot of their work is providing resources, encouragement and opportunity for birth professionals who can make a difference in their own communities (exactly what my network does on a small scale).  They also spend time on the hill talking to senators and congressmen and women about the needs of childbearing women and their families.  I’m proud to be a part of Lamaze. To be asked to fulfill my first volunteer role with them is an opportunity I’m so honored (and excited!) to have.

About Lamaze International

Lamaze is a nonprofit organization that promotes a natural, healthy and safe approach to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. Knowing that pregnancy and childbirth can be demanding on a woman’s body and mind, Lamaze serves as a resource for information about what to expect and what choices are available during the childbearing years.

Lamaze education and practices are based on the best, most current medical evidence available. They can help reduce the use of unnecessary interventions and improve overall outcomes for mothers and babies. Working closely with their families, health care providers and Lamaze educators, millions of pregnant women have achieved their desired childbirth outcomes using Lamaze practices.

As a nonprofit organization, the work of Lamaze International is supported by many actively engaged  unpaid volunteers who give generously of their time and talent.  Volunteers serve on the Board of Directors, the Education and Certification Councils and on various Lamaze committees and task forces.  Volunteers are the heart of Lamaze International!

How You Can Help

  • We need $3000.00 to cover all expenses for both.
  • Plane tickets: $900.00 (or 9 people to donate $100)
  • Registration for advocacy workshops: $650 (or 13 donations of $50)
  • 1 hotel room for 3 nights: $700 (or 14 donations of $50)
  • Transportation: $150 (or 15 donations of $10)
  • Food and incidentals: $600 (or 24 donations of $25)

Send donations directly to Mary at: 

Donation Progress

We reached our goal, thank you!



Fine Print: Mary will pay PayPal’s transaction fee, but otherwise, all of your donation will help to ensure this important trip is successfully funded. If we do not raise enough money to go, you will have the option of having your donation refunded (minus PayPal fees) or to apply it towards local lobbying efforts during the 2018 legislative session.

NEW Donation Incentive!

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Lamaze Summit 2017 Fundraiser

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