By Ellen S. Glazer, LICSW

Like most of you reading this, I have participated in many pledge walks—sometimes with my feet, sometimes with my checkbook, often both. Rain or shine, large or small, these walks are almost always inspiring. In addition to raising needed funds for worthy causes, they bring people together and foster a sense of community. Last year when I walked in the New England Walk of Hope I realized that it is for me, the walk of walks—the one that touches my heart in countless ways. Hence I was disappointed when I discovered that this year’s walk is on a weekend that I will be out of town. Here are but a few reasons why I wish I could be there to walk this year….

I would like to walk in honor of the countless women and men that I have known on their journeys to parenthood. To highlight but a few, there is the couple who are in the southwest now with their 3 day old daughter. I’ve known them since they first set out on their adoption path and seen them through cycles of hope and disappointment. Yesterday they sent me an email with the words, “We love our daughter so much. We can’t believe how blessed we are.” And in honor of the single mom who struggled for a decade before having her daughter through both egg and sperm donation. If I’m having a down moment, I pull out her holiday card and delight in the playful photo of mother and daughter. And I’d like to walk this September for the woman who pulled me over in the Trader Joe’s parking lot (fresh out of the Y pool, I’m embarrassed to say), to introduce me to her children, 2 and 4 years old, saying, “and we are thinking more about our two frozen embryos –life is crazy already with two so why not a third?” I think of the gay couple who are over the moon excited after waiting several months to find the right gestational carrier. And I would surely love to walk in celebration of the big red plus sign email I received this week. That’s all there was. The PLUS said everything. I knew the sender had been waiting for results of what was to be her last IVF cycle.

If I could be at the Walk of Hope this year, I’d walk for all these people and so many many others. But if the truth be known, I’d be there walking in appreciation for all the ways that RESOLVE New England and the infertility community has been there for me and for my family. Our first go round with infertility was 37 years ago. As dark as those days were, I have fond memories of the people I met and the support I received from that small but hearty embryo that was RNE at the time. Fast forward nearly four decades later to a different form of infertility, the painful kind that assaults us when we see our children struggle with it.

I won’t be there this year on foot but will surely be out walking that morning a few hundred miles away in celebration of and gratitude to RNE and RESOLVE. And I am happy to be able to make a donation to the team from MGH Fertility, the Red Hot Chili Steppers, who brought our family so much joy this summer with the birth of our fourth grandson via Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Spending time with him and his three high energy cousins reminds me over and over again why the Walk of Hope matters.