Gift of Hope 2011
Wow! What a great year for the Gift of Hope program! Many of you don’t know how this program was started or is carried out. My wife and I initiated the program in 2006 with the intention of providing a full IVF cycle for one deserving couple who otherwise may not be able to afford it. Sounds pretty simple right? Here’s the catch – it’s not easy to determine who is more deserving. It’s simply impossible.
This was made very evident this year. For the record, I am a bystander in the process. My job is to make sure the applicants, in fact, need IVF. Some applicants have better prognosis than others and the committee asks me (in times of tie breakers) which couple may have a better chance. But in reality, it’s a hard job. This year, as in most years, I read the applications even though I am not on the committee to choose. My motivation is, admittedly, out of curiosity. I also admit it has made me much more aware of my patients’ plight with a very frustrating disease. The letters in the applications put more humanness behind each patient that I see. The unsolicited letters from family and friends confirm how important this is to each of my patients. When I saw a couple for a consult this morning, I thought of how many people they would tell about the consult; how many family members would call to see what I recommended; how many friends they would share this journey with. It’s not unlike a diagnosis of cancer – treatment options filled with uncertainty and oftentimes long duration of therapy with only a possibility of success.
Thank you to all who applied for the Gift of Hope. Ultimately my dream would be free IVF for all who need it. (and I won’t get on my soapbox of why insurance companies choose to ignore this diagnosis as a true disease, but instead classify it as a sort of elective diagnosis – as if you all volunteered to by childless). Our winner this year is an awesome couple: Jill and Michale Crommelin of DeRidder, La. Jill is a school teacher and Michael is an active duty soldier in the Army, currently stationed in Afghanistan. They have been patients for a long time. They have been “patient” for a long time. I cringe each time her pregnancy tests are negative after less invasive treatments have proven unsuccessful. (as I do with all of the negative tests). They both keep a positive attitude despite Michael fighting for his life and our freedom and despite their childlessness.
The program is not however, as described by one applicant as “that free-baby-program”. I can not guarantee anything. I can only help give patients some more hope to build their family. For all of you who applied and were not chosen, please don’t lose heart. Please don’t think you were not selected because of a deficiency or because some “greater power” doesn’t want you to have a child. Keep focused and God will open a door for you. I truly believe this.
For those of you that know anything about baseball, you will be happy to know I am a Chicago Cubs fan. The Cubs have not won a world series in 108 years. (The longest drought in major league baseball) Yet each year, I scour the web for draft picks and trades in hopes that this year – is our year. Since I was 15 years old, each year I honestly think that the Cubs can still win it. I am just an optimistic person. Please share in my optimism for your chances of building your family. For now though, join me in congratulating an absolutely awesome couple in winning an opportunity to become parents. Jill and Michael – congratulations! Thanks also to my wife, Amelie and to the GOH committee for the numerous hours that they spent reviewing each application . Till next blog,