I can remember the day like it was yesterday, September 14, 1991, I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. At the time of my diagnosis, it was really unheard of for an African American teenager to be diagnosed with Stage 2 Ovarian Cancer. Normally, this story would be told by an older woman that has already reached her menopausal years. Well, that's not at all the case in my life.
When I was diagnosed with a juvenile granulose cell tumor on my right ovary, I had no idea how much this would effect my life as an adult. At the age of 14, I began months of radiation therapy following the removal of my right ovary and fallopian tube. Unfortunately, the radiation therapy caused my left remaining ovary to shrink and become non-functional. Shortly after my treatment, I went through an early menopausal stage. With being so young, going through puberty and menopause all that the same time was more then my 15 years could understand.
Since that time I have been on a series of hormone replacement treatments due to me going through premature menopause. During my adolescent years, I have always had to explain why I was different from the other girls growing and why I would never be able to bare a child, like my other peers.
During my early 20's, I began maturing and starting to plan for my future. I had to think about my next steps such as going to college, starting my business, getting married, having children, raising my children, and seeing my grandchildren in the future. Consequently, that's when the truth hit me, the compelling thought finally stared me in the face:: when I get married I will not be able to have children.
Just the consideration of that thought brought on significant depression and insecurities for many years. In my late 20's I started to look into different options that I could use to conceive without adoption. Those options led me to discovering exploring the benefits of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). However, I hit a HUGE bump in the road because I had no idea the cost attached to this process. With the cost of IVF using a donor egg would cost at $30,000 each cycle, there is no way in the world I could afford that! So of course that meant, NO FAMILY!
The feeling of inadequacy is an understatement of how I felt at that point. Being devastated, I became paralyzed from the thought of ever having children to a degree that I just lived life without a purpose. Having nothing to dream for, strive for or really live for at that point in time. It was truly a very dark point in my life.
Shortly after I turned 30, I began to look for any spark of hope to be able to continue my dream of motherhood. Watching my peers have children and start families. I wondered "why me," why could I not do the same. So one day I prayed and asked GOD for help. That's when it came to me to search for infertility grants and scholarships. Finally, the opportunity of a lifetime, my lifetime; the opportunity potentially given back to me that was once taken.
I am now in my mid 30's and married. So What's next :Time to start a family!!!!!
This grant has truly been an answer to my prayers, its what I have dreamed for and lived for. To have once a dark place, have such a bright light at the end of the tunnel. I am literally in awe and thankful for the opportunity to become a recipients of the INCIID grant. I now have the opportunity of Motherhood, I am forever grateful.
In past and present years, I have volunteered my service to a number of organizations for Ovarian Cancer and Gynecological Cancers. Specifically I have spent a great deal of time volunteering with OCNA (Ovarian Cancer National Alliance) based in Washington, DC for several years. I have been featured in Ms. Magazine, BET Nightly News, The VIEW w/Barbara Walters, and a host of other media outlets. I have also taken time to educate other African American women on the Ovarian Cancer once known as the "Silent Cancer". Not to mention, I started my own non-profit called YSOC (Young Survivors of Ovarian Cancer). This outreach became GOD sent for other parents who experienced young daughters living with or dying from Ovarian Cancer.
With great excitement, I am happy to share that Jay and I have been selected as recipients of a grant from the International Council of Infertility Information Dissemination (INCIID, pronounced "inside"). As a requirement to receive the grant from INCIID we will have to raise funds on behalf of INCIID a non profit. Once we complete our fundraising obligation, INCIID will match us with a fertility specialist. With help from the donating specialist and INCIID, we then begin the wonderful journey of building a family of our own!
We would love the opportunity to be able to share what INCIID organization has done for me while giving more exposure to families that are in need of INCIID's help. In sharing the story of my journey to parenthood. We are excited to be given the chance of a lifetime to experience the joy and blessing of carrying a baby and being a mother and father through a natural pregnancy. We thank God for this organization and what they are doing to help off set the cost of IVF treatment.
We have been fortunate and extremely blessed in receiving all of the prayers and support from family and friends. Although our newest journey is only beginning, all we ask is that you continue to support us in prayer.
YOUR DONATION WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!! ALL PROCEEDS WITHIN INCIID'S GUIDELINES WILL BE A TAX DEDUCTION!!!!
INCIID IS A 501(c)3 ORGANIZATION.
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