On April 1st we were able to award our first ever infertility grant, Maddy’s Miracle Grant, to a wonderful couple in order to help get them one step closer to building their family. For many couples, the road to parenthood is complex and complicated by a variety of factors, many of which are unpredictable and unavoidable. With the blessing of our inaugural grant recipients, we wanted to give you a glimpse into their journey to grow their family and what being a grant recipient means to them. We hope you enjoy their testimony, in Ashley's own words, below!
“If I were to be completely honest with myself, I always had that fairytale dream of "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage" for my life. This dream got a bit delayed in my twenties as I chose to establish my career while being faced with the reality of student loans. As if that wasn't enough to concern me, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin's lymphoma which was found in my neck, chest, spleen, and inguinal glands. As my oncologist ran down the prescribed cycles of chemotherapy and radiation, she mentioned a number of potential side-effects.
The thought and risk of infertility stopped me in my tracks. What was I supposed to do with that information as a 24-year-old single woman? As I reflect back, there was never a discussion about options and fertility preservation steps that I could take. In 2007, there were not a lot of fertility resources available for women in my situation and if there were, I was not privy to those opportunities. After a week of research and stressing myself out, I just decided that I would step out on faith and go through chemotherapy and radiation without taking any fertility preservation steps. All I knew was that I couldn't afford it and felt the rush and immediate need to focus on saving my own life. I let faith guide me and meditated on the fact that if God wanted me to have children, then it would happen when I was ready.
While that was definitely the most traumatic moment in my life, I wear my cancer battle and 13 years of remission as a badge of honor and am very transparent about my story and cancer journey. Now I find myself with an amazing husband named Paul and have been able to check off the Love & Marriage part of the fairytale vision of my life story so far.
After celebrating our 3 year anniversary we were struck with the news that I had fibroids that were impacting my fertility and as well as additional unforeseen fertility challenges too. After trying on our own unsuccessfully, we sought the assistance and advice of a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). Once we met with the RE, he discussed our options which included a myomectomy and potentially IVF. Shortly before Christmas, our RE performed the myomectomy to remove the fibroids and get my uterus ready for pregnancy. We are one step closer to making this dream a reality, but the IVF process just felt so far away because of the expense. Despite the many medical setbacks that my husband and I have faced, we are still praying for our miracle and just need support on our journey. We sincerely want to make starting a family a priority and firmly believe that receiving Maddy's Miracle Grant will help us get closer to accomplishing that goal.
The two constants on our journey have been Faith and Family! We have faith that despite our current challenges that we will be able to have a family of our own one day to create those family moments and build a legacy”.
~Ashley & Paul, Maddy’s Miracle Grant Recipients