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Archive for December, 2012

Infertile on New Year’s Eve

By Tracey Minella

December 31st, 2012 at 9:26 am

credit: Simon Howden/freedigitalphotos.net

Let’s see who agrees with my theory on New Year’s Eve and Infertility:

The degree of depression an infertile woman feels on New Year’s Eve is directly proportionate to the number of New Year’s Eves she’s been trying unsuccessfully to conceive, multiplied by the number of complaining mothers and pregnant women she’s surrounded by that night.

In the beginning of my own long infertility journey, I had more hope. I’d be semi-optimistic about the future on New Year’s Eve…toasting my boxers-wearing husband with a champagne glass full of ginger ale. We were the “good” patients… ditching the alcohol, briefs, and any other vices that could have affected our odds of conceiving. So sure that by the next time the ball dropped, we’d be happily snuggled at home with our long-awaited newborn.

Time and losses can change you.

The glass of ginger ale is no longer half full. It’s half empty. And it’s dirty, too. Maybe it’s not even ginger ale anymore. Sometimes we fall off the “optimum fertility lifestyle” wagon and give in to those long forgotten vices. It’s not easy to live so long in a state of constant deprivation. No fun. And no baby.

Tonight, do what you need to do to make it the most bearable night you can…within reason, of course! If you want to stay in, stay in. Be alone or be with friends. If you want to go dancing to try to forget infertility for a night, do it. Go to bed early and skip it all. You don’t need to explain your choice to anyone. Be hopeful. Be depressed. Be whatever you are tonight. You don’t have to celebrate if you don’t feel like it. After all, it’s really just another night.

Regardless of what you do tonight, come tomorrow it will be a new year. It will be a year of hope, whether you feel it tonight or not.

So on your behalf… just in case you’re not feeling it… I will hope that 2013 will finally be your year.

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How do you look at New Year’s Eve? Do you feel hopeful, optimistic, or pessimistic? Do you have any tips or traditions that get you through it?

 

Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/search.php?search=party&cat=

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Finding Gratitude in Infertility

By Tracey Minella

December 26th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

credit: imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos.net

Is it possible to be thankful when you’re infertile? Or is that too much to ask of someone?

A baby is the only thing on the wish list of so many women, but yesterday morning, there were too many couples who didn’t have babies sitting under the tree. They just had each other. Again.

I remember those years…so many of those years…waiting for the positive pregnancy test. I remember the year I finally got pregnant on my third IVF cycle in December. My second beta was the day after Christmas. I remember feeling optimistic about it and telling myself all day on Christmas that by next year, we’d have a new baby. It made getting through Christmas Day a bit easier. Unfortunately, I lost that pregnancy in late January. The following Christmas was unbearable. As were several after that, before we finally had the baby.

 

 

When you suffer a loss, the empty chair factor is ever-present. Especially at holiday tables. You imagine the child you lost and grieve. There should be another chair at the kiddie table. You think things like “Oh, how he would have been this age by now”, or “I wonder if she’d have loved that new Barbie”…

You should be allowed to grieve the yet-unfulfilled longing for the baby you desperately need without having to “just be thankful” for having your soul mate, a good job, a house, or otherwise good health. You shouldn’t have to listen to insensitive young parents complain about long lines at the toy store, or baking cupcakes for a classroom party, or staying up ‘til 3am on Christmas Eve assembling that tricycle. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your feelings for the sake of not disrupting everyone else’s traditional happy holiday. But you do just that.

Even when surrounded by supportive family and friends, being the “infertile one” can make you feel like the proverbial elephant in the room, where everyone is walking on eggshells not to say the wrong thing. That can be awkward.

It’s unfair to further burden infertile folks with the pressure to feel grateful for what they do have during the holidays…especially holidays that focus on little children. If you want to feel bad for yourself, or angry, or jealous, you should be able to feel it. Must you censor yourself for the benefit of others? You shouldn’t have to see the glass as half full when your heart is half, no completely empty.

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What do YOU think? Do you feel grateful during your infertility journey or do you hide your feelings? What was the hardest part of getting through the holiday this year?

 

photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/search.php?search=sad+Christmas&cat=

 

 

 

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Miracle on Old Country Road

By David Kreiner MD

December 24th, 2012 at 7:15 pm

In this season of miracles, I decided to pull out my very favorite old post of Dr. Kreiner’s, edited for the current holiday season. Any infertility patient fortunate enough to conceive will be jealous of this patient’s luck. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate.

Here’s Dr. Kreiner’s story:

I was feeling depressed the other day.  It seemed that we had insurmountable computer issues, staff morale was down and my family was acting rebellious.  My kids were arguing with each other, with me and I found myself mindlessly walking out of my office down Old Country Road.

I came to a busy intersection and just stood there as cars sped by me.  Honestly, at that moment in time I was thinking, why am I here?  Why put up with all the hard work at the office trying to make the practice viable despite the pressures of the recession?  Insurance companies were denying claims and when they were paying claims, it was at lower reimbursements that threatened to not compensate for our expenses.  The government was planning to lower reimbursements even more.  Patients, also experiencing financial difficulties were either asking for more breaks in the fees or not paying.  I have to admit I gave thought to giving it all up as the pain and aggravations were not worth the efforts.

Suddenly, a white Audi convertible came to a screeching stop right next to me.  It was one of my patients in the passenger seat sporting a very pregnant belly and apparently blowing through what I assumed was a labor pain.  Her husband spoke.  “Dr. Kreiner, Lara went into labor early this morning and we are on our way to the hospital to have the baby…can you come with us?”  Speechless and shocked, I let myself into the cramped backseat and tried to comprehend what was happening as Lara’s husband took off.

We pulled into the emergency room five minutes later.  Lara and I were taken to the labor floor while her husband dealt with the paperwork at the desk.  Nurse’s barked orders, the doctor was called, and Lara started screaming during her pains and in this laboring frenzy I was awakened from my funk.  It has been awhile since I was involved in a delivery but this baby was not waiting for the doctor and I got back into obstetrical mode, checking the baby’s position and heart rate and getting the anesthesiologist to administer the epidural.  Lara’s husband was now at her side assisting her with her breathing.

“Push Lara, push”, I yelled as I saw the baby’s head crowning.  She and her husband acted as if they had trained all pregnancy for this moment, working together as a team, his arm around her shoulders, breathing with her and supporting her back as she pushed.

Well, the doctor got there just before the baby was delivering.  I stood on the side watching this miraculous event…Lara and her husband together pushing the baby out of the same womb that I had implanted nine months earlier.  I remembered the image of showing Lara and her husband the photograph of the embryo and then watching on ultrasound as I injected the drop of media and air bubble containing the microscopic embryo into her uterus.  I thought how sweet life was and I smiled.

Moments later, Lara put baby Adam to breast, her husband a proud new father was beaming as he gave out chocolate cigars to the doctor and nurses and then came to me with tears in his eyes and said, “thank you, so much Dr. Kreiner.  We could never have done this without you.”

What can I say?  It was as if my problems never existed.  I thought the only thing missing for me was to be with my family and appreciate what I have.  And what my wife and I have is truly amazing.  We have my two lovely daughters and two sons, one a newlywed with a fantastic wife and another son who has the best wife and most gorgeous three children one can ever wish for.  Playing with them, having brunch and dinner with the family I love, I enjoyed a very Happy Hanukkah.

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How do you feel about having to leave your fertility doctor once you get pregnant to go back to your OB/GYN? Do you wish your RE could deliver the baby?

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End of the World? Would Infertile Women Care?

By Tracey Minella

December 21st, 2012 at 11:04 am

So according to the Mayan calendar, the world should be ending today.

Most people don’t give such doomsday predictions too much thought. Never going to happen. Nah. It probably won’t happen. But then, what if it did happen?

Events like these cause some people to act impulsively or throw caution to the wind. To do things they never would have done if the world was not ending today, or to do things they always wanted to do. There may be a rush to check things off that “bucket list”…a big purchase or trip, skydiving, a tattoo.

A baby.

There’s only one thing that matters to an infertile woman…having a baby. And there is no way to make that happen overnight. So how do you handle these doomsday predictions?

Infertility is an all-consuming priority for most women. Life is lived entirely around your current or upcoming cycle or treatment. In fact, anything that is not directly related to achieving a pregnancy is just an annoying nuisance of life…including going to work or seeing pregnant people.

Do you even momentarily entertain these doomsday predictions? Do they force you to look past the all-consuming infertility focus of your life and examine and appreciate the things you have accomplished in your life so far…those things and relationships we lose sight of when focused on the infertility journey? I hope that is the case, but worry it may not be.

How these doomsday predictions affect infertile women has always concerned me. Especially near the holidays. Especially in the wake of last week’s tragedy in Newtown, CT. (I vividly remember how difficult 9/11 and its aftermath was for me and many of the other Long Island IVF infertility patients cycling at that time).  Mixing senseless national disasters, holiday stress, a doomsday prediction…and infertility…is certainly a lot to process.

Are you at a point where you simply wouldn’t care if these predictions came true?

While infertility and depression often go hand-in-hand, sometimes extreme depression can set in. Depression that needs attention. If your infertility is the reason wouldn’t care if the world ended today, please get some help. Talk to someone.

Long Island IVF has counselors to help you deal with the stress of infertility. Our Mind-Body Medicine specialist, Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N., has women’s and men’s groups, and offers private sessions as well. You can contact her for professional help at binabenisch@gmail.com and can learn more about Long Island IVF’s Mind-Body programs and emotional support team by clicking here: http://www.longislandivf.com/mind_body.cfm.

For the locals, there is also a peer-lead infertility support group which meets at Panera Bread on Jericho Turnpike in Mineola on the third Friday of each month, which happens to be tonight*. For details and more information on joining, contact the administrator, Erika, directly at erikaa9221984@gmail.com. *This peer group is not connected to Long Island IVF in any way, but Erika and some of the group’s members came down to our Family Act Town Hall event this week, pledging their support of the Family Act, and offering their contact information to those who may want to join.

With so much hardship and sad news the past couple weeks, this holiday season may be more difficult than past ones. We’re here to help if you need us. Please ask.

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How do you feel about the doomsday prediction and what affect has your infertility journey had on those feelings?

 

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/search.php?search=doomsday&cat=

 

 

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Long Island IVF’s Town Hall Event Was a Success!

By Tracey Minella

December 19th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Long Island IVF, together with RESOLVE the National Infertility Association, would like to thank all those who took the time out of their busy lives to come down a share an exciting hour with us last night at our Family Act Town Hall Event.

There was a chill in the night air as people walked in, tired from the demands of their long days. No doubt, they all had somewhere else they also needed to be. But they came.

They came with a sense of curiosity or responsibility. With a feeling of interest or passion. Whatever the motivation…they came.

They listened to Dr. Brenner and Amy Demma as they discussed the many facets of The Family Act and the impact its passage would have on their lives…on their infertility journeys. They heard how it could provide needed relief in couples’ efforts to build their families…up to a $13,000+ federal tax credit for infertility treatment for IVF. They asked their questions.

They listened to stories of those who have already reached out to their local representatives by email or phone calls…and how easy and fast the process really is. And they became motivated to take action themselves. And those who are open about their infertility struggle considered asking their close friends and family to contact their representatives too.

By the end of the night, the attendees were all ready to act. They had the knowledge. They had the letters and sample scripts. They had links to get more information from Long Island IVF’s website, blog and Facebook, as well as RESOLVE, and Amy Demma, and The Family Act’s Facebook page.

The time to act is now. This legislation is coming up for a vote early in the New Year.

Let’s make 2013 the year infertile couples get the financial break they’ve been waiting for. Let’s do this before more biological clocks run out. Money should never be the reason a couple can’t have a baby.

Thank you again Amy Demma and RESOLVE and to all of you who came out and made a difference last night! And for those who were there in spirit, too. Please everyone, do your part. Together we can make a difference.

Here’s a link to find out how you can make a difference: http://www.resolve.org/get-involved/congressional-call-week-2012.html

 

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If you attended the event last night, what did you learn or what was the most enjoyable part? If you did not attend, will you write to or call your representatives?

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Top Ten Reasons to Attend Long Island IVF’s Town Hall Event Tonight

By Tracey Minella

December 18th, 2012 at 9:40 am

credit: stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock…or have been busy with holiday shopping…you have probably heard about Long Island IVF’s big Town Hall Event tonight at 6:00 p.m.

Here are the Top 10 reasons you shouldn’t miss it:

10.  It is the only event of its kind in New York…and is brought to you by the practice that gave Long Island its first IVF baby, first FET baby, and first donor egg baby.

9.    It’s a chance to learn how you can benefit from The Family Act…pending legislation in both the House and Senate which, if passed, would provide a tax credit for infertility treatment like IVF and fertility preservation for cancer patients.

8.   RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, the leading organization and resource for everything related to infertility, is co-sponsoring this event.

7.  Long Island IVF’s Dr. Steven Brenner will be the keynote speaker, and other Long Island IVF physicians and staff will be there as well. It’ll be more exciting than your annual office holiday party. Plus we’ve got refreshments.

6.  Amy Demma, Esq…. reproductive rights attorney, tireless fertility advocate, and RESOLVE of New England Board member…will be a speaker at the event. She’s a rock star. Don’t miss her.

5.  Bend the ear of your favorite local politician to let them know you support The Family Act. All local representatives have been invited to attend. How often do you get up-close access to them? You can’t be heard if you aren’t there.

4.  Easier than Christmas card-writing. We’ll have letters to your representatives asking them to support the Family Act… pre-printed for you to just sign. We’ll even mail them for you. Don’t you wish someone did that for your Christmas card list?

3.  Meet others who are suffering from infertility…or who help those suffering from infertility. The faces behind the blogs, the authors of the books, the advocates. Become an advocate yourself. Be part of a change for the better. In only one hour.

2.  $13,000+. That’s money back in your pocket for IVF if The Family Act is passed.

And the number 1 reason you should be at Long Island IVF’s Town Hall event tonight is….

1.  For many, The Family Act could be the difference between having a baby, or not.

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Here are the details:

Event: Long Island IVF’s Family Act Town Hall Event

Place: Long Island IVF, 8 Corporate Center Dr., Melville, New York

Date: Tuesday December 18, 2012

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Or click here and share this event with your friends and family: http://www.facebook.com/events/455924451132402/

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Can’t wait to see you tonight.

 

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Remove Your Fertility Roadblock Tomorrow

By Tracey Minella

December 17th, 2012 at 9:48 pm

credit: stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net

If you are infertile, what is preventing you from getting, or remaining, pregnant? For many it is a financial roadblock. Especially in this economy.

Infertility treatment has become more mainstream over the past twenty five years, with most people knowing someone who used assisted reproductive technologies, like IUI or IVF, to conceive. Happily, even the social stigma surrounding infertility is finally starting to disappear as people speak out about their infertility struggles and seek support from groups like RESOLVE and from infertility blogs (like this one!) and Facebook sites.

Success rates for IVF continue to rise and, depending on the clinic used and other variables may exceed 60% per cycle.

Despite these advances, few states mandate infertility coverage and most insurance policies do not cover IVF. Those lucky few who have IVF coverage may exhaust that benefit’s maximum without conceiving. That leaves the majority of people who need IVF unable to afford it to start or grow their families.

Many of today’s women cannot continue to wait out this poor economy in order to afford IVF. The stress of being denied access to the medical care needed in order to conceive is unbearable. And it’s made worse by hearing that proverbial ‘biological clock’ ticking louder and louder as more time passes.

But you can take action today…actually tomorrow…to try to change all that.

The Family Act is legislation pending in both the House and Senate which if passed will provide a federal tax credit of over $13,000.00 for infertility treatment like IVF (or for fertility preservation in the case of cancer patients). We have never been so close to getting federally mandated assistance with the costs of IVF. But we need your help.. and we need it tomorrow night!

Long Island IVF and RESOLVE the National Infertility Association have teamed up to present New Yorkers with a unique public forum to discuss and advocate for the passage of the Family Act. It is a Town Hall event open to the public, our patients, local politicians, and national fertility advocates. Dr. Steven Brenner and well-known fertility advocate Amy Demma, Esq. are two of the speakers. Follow Long Island IVF, RESOLVE, and Amy Demma on Twitter so you don’t miss any updates on this legislation.

Please join us tomorrow night. One hour. Make a difference. Together we may have the power to take away the pain of infertility for many…those suffering today and those who will suffer in the future.

Would $13,000+ make a difference in your journey?

Here are the details:

Event: Long Island IVF’s Family Act Town Hall Event

Place: Long Island IVF, 8 Corporate Center Dr., Melville, New York

Date: Tuesday December 18, 2012

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Or click here and share this event with your friends and family: http://www.facebook.com/events/455924451132402/

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We need you. Are you coming?

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Your Infertility “To-Do” List For This Week

By Tracey Minella

December 16th, 2012 at 5:25 pm

credit: david castillo dominici/freedigitalphotos.net

It’s the weekend before Christmas and people are busy with last minute preparations. Today, you may be making your final checklist for the week. Here’s an important item to add:

  • Attend Long Island IVF’s Family Act Town Hall Event on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.

If you or a loved one is struggling with infertility…especially with the inability to pay for infertility treatment like IVF (in vitro fertilization)… Our Town Hall Event is a “MUST” on your to-do list this week.

There will be a public forum on the Family Act… very important legislation pending in both the House and Senate…which seeks to provide a tax credit over $13,000.00 for costs associated with IVF treatment. It also provides a similar credit for fertility preservation for cancer patients.

This important event… the only one of its kind in New York…will bring together not only Long Island IVF patients, but also members of the public, politicians, physicians, and fertility advocates. It is time to let our elected officials know how important financial relief for fertility treatment is so that they will fight to get it for us. We’ve never been this close to an IVF tax credit. Please come out and support the effort.

Long Island IVF’s Dr. Steven Brenner will be a keynote speaker. He will be joined by Amy Demma, Esq., a Board member of RESOLVE of New England and a passionate advocate of the Family Act. Other speakers are still being lined up and will be announced as we know the details. Light refreshments will be served.

Please take an hour out of your busy week to learn about and show your support for the Family Act. Show your legislators that it is important to you. Stop by on the way home from work. Take a break from other activities and swing by briefly with a friend. Sign a letter to your elected representatives (we will have them waiting for you!) so we can mail it in and let them know that Long Islanders want assistance with the costs of IVF and fertility preservation!

Passage of the Family Act could mean the difference between someone having a family…or not. Please stop by on Tuesday night and make a difference in your life or in the lives of countless others.

It’s the most important gift you can give this season.

Event: Long Island IVF’s Family Act Town Hall Event

Place: Long Island IVF, 8 Corporate Center Dr., Melville, New York

Date: Tuesday December 18, 2012

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Or click here and share this event with your friends and family: http://www.facebook.com/events/455924451132402/

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Will you be there?

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Long Island IVF Sponsors 12-12-12 Heels and Handbags Holiday Event!

By admin

December 11th, 2012 at 11:41 am

image courtesy of WBLI radio

Do you have plans for 12-12-12? Now you can party mid-week and maybe even holiday shop at the same time!

Long Island IVF is one of the sponsors of tomorrow night’s Heels and Handbags Holiday Event. WBLI radio describes it as “the hottest ticket in town”. There are freebies and giveaways, including designer shoes and purses…hence the name “Heels and Handbags”!

Long Island IVF enjoys sponsoring community events and will be sending our own Lindsay Montello down to the occasion. If you’re there, be sure to say hello. Better yet, why not snap and upload a photo with Lindsay and share it on Long Island IVF’s Facebook page, so everyone can see the fun they missed.

Ladies, ladies…you do not want to miss this amazing event. So, click on the link below to learn more about how you can win tickets to get in.

There will be drawings every ten minutes for free handbags and shoes, plus the promise that when your friend wins, you do too! When you enter the event, you are entered in the drawings automatically. And there are other giveaways from the sponsors, including a beautiful basket from Long Island IVF.

Now is the perfect time of year check out a party and maybe win some gifts to lighten your holiday shopping list… or to keep for yourself!

The Heels and Handbags Holiday Event is tomorrow Wednesday, December 12, 2012 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.at the Hamlet Golf and Country Club in Commack. For more information, including a list of sponsors click here: http://wbli.upickem.net/engine/Welcome.aspx?contestid=75868

Looking forward to seeing you there if you’re able to nab a ticket!

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Will you try to get tickets? What kinds of raffle prizes interest you most?

 

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Long Island IVF Hosts Important Family Act Town Hall Event!

By Tracey Minella

December 10th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Long Island IVF, in conjunction with RESOLVE the National Fertility Association, is extremely proud and excited to host the New York metropolitan area’s Town Hall event where the public can learn more about how to support the Family Act bill and meet their elected officials.

The Family Act will provide a tax credit in excess of $13,000 to help offset the costs of IVF infertility treatment. It also provides a credit for fertility preservation costs for those facing cancer. (For more information on the Family Act, please read the article below).

The Town Hall event will be held at the Long Island IVF office at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 101, Melville, New York, on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. Local representatives have been invited. Come out to show your support for this important bill. And bring your friends.

Long Island IVF’s Dr. Steven Brenner will be the keynote speaker at the event. Additional speakers, including elected officials or RESOLVE Board members in attendance, are possible as well. Local OBGYNs and oncologists also support this legislation and will be present. Light refreshments will be served.

The purpose of the event is to discuss the Family Act, show your elected officials that you support a tax credit for IVF, and to learn how you can help advocate for its passage. There will be letters available for attendees to fill in and sign, which LIIVF will forward to the appropriate political officials.

Please encourage your friends and family to attend this important event. We have never been so close to obtaining federal assistance with the costs of IVF as we are right now. But we need everyone’s help to make it happen. Share this information. Ask your OBGYN if they will attend this event, or share the details with their patients. Share it with anyone you know who has been touched by infertility or fertility-robbing cancer treatment.

For many people, the passage of the Family Act may be the difference between becoming a parent someday or not. Do it for yourself. Do it for future generations.

With a potential $13,000 + tax credit on the line for IVF, can you afford not to come out and support this bill next Tuesday? Please make the time. Even one hour.

In this busy season of miracles, your support of this legislation could be the best gift you’ll ever give.

There is no cost to attend this event. Please RSVP to Long Island IVF: Email nlanier@liivf.com or bhogan@liivf.com or call Nicole or Bridgette at 631-752-0606. We look forward to seeing you there! Please bring your friends.

 

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Will you come to the event? Will you share it with others?

 

 

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