RESOLVE New England is honored to announce that we have received a renewal of our $10,000 grant from the TJX Foundation to support our Lisa Fenn Gordenstein Access Scholarships. A RESOLVE New England member and volunteer shares how these scholarships have benefited she and her husband in their family-building journey.
For one glorious fall weekend last year, I was pregnant.
It wasn’t a pregnancy that would last, and I knew it. When the nurse called on Friday with my HCG levels I heard a familiar guarded tone in her voice from the moment she started speaking. “You tested at 27, so we are just going to have you come back in on Monday to re-check it.” I had been here before. Turns out you can be “a little bit pregnant” – not a Yes, not a No, but a we’ll-test-again-and-see-but-the-likelihood-is-heartbreak Maybe. It had happened to us two years before on our first IVF cycle, when the HCG number was in the 40s, doubled for a few weeks, then resulted in a miscarriage at 10 weeks. Five cycles later, I knew what a low number meant.
Luckily I had reminded my husband before the phone rang. “Remember,” I cautioned, “The choices aren’t just positive or negative.” This was our last try under insurance, with the only frozen embryo that had thawed successfully. My friend Susan optimistically nicknamed it “Super Embryo” and sent supportive emails. But I knew the way this story would end. So I decided to make the most of it and “be pregnant” for two days, without worry or regret, and enjoy the information blackout for just a bit longer.
Because you see I had a backup plan; if this cycle failed, I knew I had someplace to go for answers to my next step – the RESOLVE New England Annual Conference on November 5. And the only reason I had that to hang onto was due to a person I had never met: Lisa Fenn Gordenstein.
I still don’t know enough about Lisa Fenn Gordenstein, to my regret. I hope to learn more. I know this much: Lisa was an assistance vice president of TJX Companies who was traveling on business on American Airlines Flight 11 when it crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. After her death, the TJX Foundation dedicated a $10,000 grant to RESOLVE New England. This grant funds the Lisa Fenn Gordenstein Access Scholarships, which provide assistance to anyone in financial need who wishes to attend RNE educational programs and/or become a member of RNE.
A few months after I was laid off from my job last year, drowning in IVF expenses not fully covered by out-of-state insurance, I needed answers but couldn’t afford to attend the seminars I saw offered on RNE’s website. I was looking for a lifeline and found one: a link to apply for Lisa’s scholarship. Because of that scholarship, I was able to attend RNE support groups and the Annual Conference, where my husband and I could help process our grief and find a different path to building our family.
Lisa Fenn Gordenstein was building her own family; she was a mom with two daughters. It was reported that the morning she left, she insisted on waking and kissing Samantha, 7, and Carly, 3 and a half. The night before, she had left a note under her husband’s office door. It was a poem about keeping a positive attitude no matter what happens in life.
Lisa was 41, the same age I was when I applied for and received the scholarship in her name. She grew up in Dedham and was living with her family in Needham. I could have passed her in the supermarket. I might have driven past her house every day on my way to work. But I never met her. Instead, her legacy to me and my husband is much like the poems and notes she often left for family and friends: She’s helping us keep a positive outlook, no matter what happens in this life, no matter the cost.
Thank you, Lisa.
To learn more about the Lisa Fenn Gordenstein Access Scholarships and to apply online, click here.