When you are struggling with infertility sometimes it seems like you have nothing to do but wait. It’s pretty easy to begin to feel powerless inside the emotional roller coaster of the infertility health care journey. First, you realize you have no real control over your body when it won’t do what you want it to. You may feel like you have no control over doctors, nurses, or test results. Even your life plan is turned on its head when your body won’t conceive. You hoped to have a child by 30. You hoped then for 32, then 34, 35, by 40? You dare to hope it will happen at all. An infertility diagnosis can cause you to question everything and leave you feeling entirely disillusioned and disheartened. There is so much waiting. Time passes, and the waits add up, and you begin to feel insignificant, angry and sad. Or maybe, like Cheryl and Nick, a couple in Edmonton, you try to take some of that control back by helping others through the process and you turn waiting for infertility treatment into action.
Cheryl and Nick Willard, of Edmonton, have been trying to conceive for eight years. Three years ago they tried their first IVF, in vitro fertilization. The IVF procedure was not successful the first time. It was heartbreaking for the couple. Cheryl is a real estate agent and Nick is the owner of an instrumentation business. The couple loves to travel and spent some time in Peru a few years ago volunteering at a school there and backpacking through the country. When they returned from that trip they began a silent auction that would grow into a tradition. The very first silent auction was incredibly successful raising $9,000 and Cheryl recalls the excitement of the event itself.
“It was so busy, it was gong show insanity.”
The money raised that first year helped build bathrooms for the school in Peru. It also helped give more children there the ability to attend school. The couple remains in touch with the school they helped fundraise for three years ago. After that first treatment, the couple went out of country for IVF. They were successful in achieving pregnancy once, but then they had a miscarriage. They are currently in the process of using a surrogate.
This year the Willard’s fundraising tradition will go to help people just like them who are struggling to conceive, people who need Generations of Hope Fertility Assistance Fund for a grant. The third annual silent auction organized by the Edmonton couple, takes place Sunday, November 2 at Woodcroft Hall in Edmonton. The auction donations range from children’s toys to Epicure to iPads. This year they are also raffling off an iPad Air.
“Nick Willard and I struggled with infertility for the last 8 years and know first hand the physical, emotional and financial strain it can cause a couple. We are coming to the end of our treatments and have decided to dedicate this next auction to a wonderful organization called Generations of Hope Fertility Assistance Fund.”
Cheryl says they learned about Generations of Hope when a friend sent her the link to the web site and told her what the group was doing. Cheryl was still going through treatment in Edmonton. The human stories at the heart of Generations of Hope appealed to Cheryl and Nick, and they love knowing so many families are being helped by Generations of Hope. But there was more to it. The couple also loved that Generations of Hope spends time advocating for public funding so IVF can be accessible to all who need it. In Alberta public funding for IVF is not in place and can range from $8,000 to $14,000 for a cycle. That is a cost that few couples can afford. In fact when people are trying to figure out how to pay for IVF in Alberta they often end up doing several things: working multiple jobs, taking out a loan or a second mortgage, borrowing from relatives. The cost of this health care treatment is staggering for many. Blogger and Mom Brooklyn Berry has often written about her struggle to conceive and the price of infertility treatment for her family.
This year the Willards expect 180 at the silent auction. They hope to raise $10,000. The event is sold out.
“We have chosen this particular group because not only do they provide funding to families going through the IVF process, they also advocate to the government on behalf of their patients to have fertility treatments covered by Alberta Health Care.”
This fundraiser is a great family event, with face painting, games for kids, popcorn, Lots of Great Auction Items, Adult and Children Door Prizes and much, much more!!
Adult Ticket: $12
Kids 10 and Under: Free
Tickets include a BBQ Lunch, Dessert and Refreshments:)
This is one example of some proactive things you can do to help endure the wait. Here are several more ideas.
Right now it is a crucial time in Alberta to advocate for public funding for IVF. An Alberta report clearly indicates there is a significant cost savings to the government and taxpayers should the procedure be funded and tied to single embryo transfer. It’s never been more important to contact your MLA and tell them your story. For more information visit: Generations of Hope. For details on how to guide the conversation with your MLA read this: How to Talk to Your MLA.
I am community manager for Generations of Hope and as such I am compensated. This is an issue I wholeheartedly support and urge all Albertans to contact their MLA. An in person visit is best, but email or phone calls are also good tools.