By Kate Merrill

BOSTON (CBS) – She was one of the original supermodels, world famous for her looks and her talent. Christy Turlington Burns was jetting around the world, but after the birth of her daughter twelve years ago, her life almost stopped.

“I suffered from a postpartum hemorrhage,” Turlington said.

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A near death experience post-birth gave Christy a new look at life and how lucky we are with medical care in the U.S.

She realized that is not the case all over the world. It’s why she started the group “Every Mother Counts” to raise awareness for maternal health around the world.

“This is one of those situations that as tragic as it is, and unknown as it is as an issue, it’s one that we can do something about,” Turlington says. “Ninety-eight percent of these deaths are preventable.”

Christy Turlington (WBZ-TV)

Christy Turlington (WBZ-TV)

To help the foundation early on, she decided to run.

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“I had never observed the humanity that exists on marathon day,” she said. “We’re all in this together and we’re all doing this for something greater than ourselves.”

“Her first marathon was in New York City in 2011. Her training started slow, just two to three miles a time. This year Boston will be her fifth marathon. She didn’t consider herself a runner before. She does now.

“As soon as a I ran two marathons, I was like ‘OK I can say I’m a runner.’”

The fundraising effort ended up changing her life. More than helping the cause, she was bettering herself and Boston was the next step.

“I travel around the world and I’ve talked to runners, people who are like ‘Have you done Boston? This is what Boston’s like’ and there’s such an allure about this race,” she says.

After all she has done, she says running Boston will be one of her greatest accomplishments.

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“I don’t want to rush through because I can’t wait to enjoy every minute of it,” she says. “But I really want to get to the other side of those hills and say ‘Oh those weren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be.’”

Kate Merrill