The response to my last blog was bewildering. So much so, it's difficult to put into words exactly how I feel (as if that'll stop me!). For a start, I heard from people I never in my wildest dreams ever expected to pop up. People I hadn't necessarily forgotten but simply never considered as someone willing to help. There is little more humbling for a man who has a potent disliking for the human race (and I do I really, really do) to discover there are so many folks out there with decent hearts encased in their rib cages. Whether it was because our story touched a nerve, people recongised something of us in themselves, they love Steph or - god forbid - they have a fondness for yours truly, I don't really know or wish to guess. There are occasions when trying to be logical about things just doesn't feel appropriate and this is one of those times. So I don't know if they will ever read this (even with all of my advertising of this blasted blog) but I want to take a moment to personally thank a few people. In no particular order, they are:
Mark West - cheers for your good words and constant advertising of my blog on your own FB profile
Val Walmsley - thank you for your "if I were younger" comment and your continuous plugging of our plight
Georgi Billington - when you told me you wanted to do this for us I was so rocked I thought I had to be standing on an earthquake! Both Steph and I will always be grateful for someone so young even considering such a massive decision. And despite it not being possible yet, we will both be there for you should the situation change - even if it is on our behalf or not (as I know you have considered making a donation in the past)
Pat Baniowska - woman, you're a star. I don't understand how a 37 year-old-mother is less acceptable than a 20 year-old mother of none but rules are rules. Thank you for spreading our begging letter to your circle and your heartbeat comment - lovely! (and you'll always be Fone to me!)
Kerry Morris-Thuriot - sorry for scaring you into thinking I wanted my ex-girlfriend to be the donor. Far from it. It was more a case of asking you to spread the news. But thank you for being so repulsed ;-)
Liz McQuinn - I've never been called an inspiration before. Not sure it sits well on my shoulders but thank you for it.
Alun Aindow - Another man full of support for everything Steph and I are going through. Cheers, Bud.
But beyond these folks there is one special person I need to thank. One person who not only went the extra mile, but went the extra 500 miles - driving from Paderborn, Germany to our home in North Wales: Leanne Hamilton; sister-in-law; my brother's wife and mother of my two nieces and nephew.
Back at the start of August, she drove across the countries to pay a visit to Liverpool Women's Hospital where she partook in various tests and sat through numerous discussions, all with the intention of letting the hospital take stock of some of her eggs. It had been discussed for a while and after our plea, Leanne took it upon herself to get the ball rolling. She called the hospital, made a date and packed herself and the kids in the car. Three days later and she was back in Paderborn, shopping completed and blood removed.
While nothing in life is certain, it seems we might be inching our way towards success. Next week Leanne is back in the hospital, collecting results, exchanging information and possibly arranging a time for the collection. I don't know if the hospital's sudden willingness to call on Leanne's services is because of her own eagerness or because of the publicity this situation is generating in the press at the moment we can't be sure, but why question it? Take the good with the bad and move on.
(we saw the report on The One Show on Monday and it has to be said the woman who told reporters she wanted her own children to have a bond with the donor child carrying some of her DNA has got what we believe to be totally the wrong attitude. There should be a complete break in relations. Has to be. Otherwise, what is to stop that woman from trying to enforce her own parenting on the couple using her egg? Surely this woman is volunteering to be a donor to make herself feel good rather than helping the childless couple? Doing something as massive as donating eggs has to be a completely selfless act. If it isn't, if the donor wants to be a 'third parent' to the child or insists on what should happen during its upbringing, there is always the threat of 'if it weren't for me you wouldn't have any children...')
So despite Steph and I telling her - and everyone else - how much her sacrifice means to us, it will be impossible for Leanne to truly understand because it's impossible for us to truly convey. This isn't like saything 'thank you for that cup of sugar you lent me' or 'ta for that DVD of the two women doing that thing with their mug' and yet the same phrase is used in all three situations. So they might only be two words which seem desperately inefficient but they hold so much and mean even more.
Normal hateful service will soon resume