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Archive for the ‘TTC’ Category

The Potential Benefits of Fertility Acupuncture

By David Kreiner, MD

June 22nd, 2018 at 4:37 pm

 

 

A study published in May 2018 in JAMA and led by Professor Caroline Smith from Western Sydney University, Australia, compared the birth rate in women who received traditional acupuncture during their course of in-vitro fertilization (“IVF”) to those who received a sham acupuncture treatment.   The clinical trial followed over 800 women from 17 fertility centers across Australia and New Zealand as they had IVF treatment. The women were split into two groups, those receiving traditional Chinese acupuncture, and those receiving a sham treatment, where a non-invasive needle was placed on the skin away from known acupuncture points.

 

They received one session of acupuncture during the period of follicle stimulation, prior to retrieval, and two sessions on the day of the embryo transfer: before and after the transfer took place.

 

The study found a small difference in the number of live births between the groups, with 74 of 405 (18.5 percent) women receiving acupuncture going on to have a baby compared to 72 of 404 (17.8 percent) women receiving the sham treatment.

 

Acupuncture has been a popular choice for treatment of fertility for many women either as an adjunct to Western assisted reproduction or alone.  In the Australian study at 17 different centers patients underwent acupuncture treatment three times, two of which were on the day of transfer. We do not know how much patients needed to travel to their acupuncturist nor how much they needed to rush back and forth from acupuncturist to IVF center and back to acupuncturist office.  “Sham” acupuncture may be questioned as a valid control since the meridian pathways of Qi run throughout the body and though the acupuncturist may think they are choosing a point not associated with traditional acupuncture, it does not mean the “sham” point is totally ineffective.

Previous studies have shown that acupuncture limited to only the day of embryo transfer does not increase pregnancy rates unless performed on the site of the embryo transfer.  It is thought that the stress of rushing to and fro from acupuncture site to IVF site and back is counterproductive. Although one treatment during stimulation may have some benefit, studies showing treatments, especially twice a week prior to IVF give significantly higher pregnancy rates.

 

In study performed by Reproductive Medical Associates as reported in Fertility and Sterility September 2008 with follow up studies bearing the same findings, a significant increase in pregnancy rates was seen in blinded Randomized Control Trials of laser acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer.

 

It is important to note that in the laser acupuncture study, the Sham group provided a uniquely important control group. The laser acupuncture device was randomly preprogrammed per case to either fire (and provide laser Acupuncture) or to not fire and thus provide a true double-blind control group (laser sham). It was not possible for the patient or acupuncturist to know if the laser fired. No contact occurs with the patient in laser acupuncture so there is no acupressure effect or contact with meridians.

 

No differences in terms of patient demographics, cycle type, stimulation outcomes, embryo number and quality, day of embryo transfer, transferring physician, or acupuncturist were found between the study groups.  This is significant as there is no like comparison in the Australian review. Implantation rates were significantly improved with laser acupuncture. Sub analyses of patient age and embryo transfer day produced similar findings with laser acupuncture enhancing outcome rates.

 

My recommendation to my patient remains that most benefit may be achieved by a patient undergoing acupuncture by a trained reproductive acupuncturist two times a week for at least six weeks prior to IVF and pre- and post-embryo transfer on site.

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Surviving Mother’s Day When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

May 12th, 2018 at 9:44 pm

image courtesy of witthaya phonsawat at freedigitalphotos.net

Surviving Mother’s Day when struggling with infertility is the pits. No way to sugarcoat it. Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year for those longing to be mothers.

So, what are you going to do this year?

If you have a close relationship with your own mother and she is still living, she might be able to cheer you up a bit. But even she won’t be able to make it “all better” like she used to. It’s just not that simple. And if she’s gone, that’s a really black hole—it’s so hard to be both motherless and childless on Mother’s Day and living with the unsettled feeling of having no connection to a parent or a child.

Of course, being in the company of a mother or mother-in-law who pushes your “baby buttons” isn’t a picnic either.

And being a mother who has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other infant or child loss is an unspeakable pain only those strong women will ever understand. If you know one of them, resist the urge to avoid what feels awkward and mention her lost angel by name–it will help her in some small way to know her baby hasn’t been forgotten.

On the hardest day of the year, it’s important to do whatever you want and not to be guilted, shamed, or coerced to be in the company of people who will make the day even a drop harder on your hurting heart.

Whether you’re a mother through resolving your infertility journey, a bereaved mother, a mother-to-be, or a mother-in-waiting, you ARE a mother. The day is yours; mark the day as you see fit.

One nice idea might be to plant a tree or a garden dedicated to your child or future child. Something you could watch grow over the years. Something you could explain the significance of to any future children and use as a backdrop for those milestone pictures they grow.

Here’s a mind trick for the day, or for any day: If you are currently on an infertility journey, believe you will ultimately have a happy resolution – – not because it’s guaranteed, but because it’s very possible and positivity can only help.

This is tough advice and it isn’t meant for Mother’s Day but try not to let your sadness and frustration keep you from enjoying some moments of the present. Because the future is coming and regardless of how your journey ends, you can’t get this time back. And you may look back and have regrets on how your life was “on hold” for so long, wishing you only knew back then that it was eventually going to work out somehow. So, trust that the future will be bright and make the best of these times. Hopefully, you will be right. And hopefully, next Mother’s Day will be different.

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A New Year’s Plan Beats a Resolution When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

January 2nd, 2018 at 8:41 am

breaking resolutions

image credit: Ryan McGuire-Gratisography

We’ve barely cracked into the New Year and I’m already tired of hearing about people’s resolutions. Including yours, I bet. And here’s why…

We all make them. We all break them. The thing that frustrates me about other people’s resolutions is that they are generally related to things that are within the maker’s control to make happen. Something the person can do themselves… or can stop doing. Something that doesn’t require the assistance of somebody else. Something that could be guaranteed to be successful if the person merely put in the required effort.

That’s what’s so hard about infertility and the fertility-based resolutions that come from its sufferers.

How many of you struggling to have a child made the same New Year’s resolution yet again…To have a baby this year?

It’s a wish. It’s a dream. And, yes, it’s everything… but it’s not a resolution. At least not to infertile people. Because it is not something within your power to control. At the very least it requires a third-party – – a reproductive endocrinologist– to make it happen. Plus, it requires money which could be an obstacle for some people.

So, the outcome of your so-called “baby resolution” is not in your sole control. And as important a role as your doctor plays, and as great as IVF success rates have become at a quality practice, success is not guaranteed on the first try– or even at all in some cases. The sad reality is that only the fertile folks can make baby resolutions.

Making a resolution to have a baby is setting yourself up to fail, like the dieters who have already cheated and the smokers already back outside puffing away in the bitter cold. And don’t we already heap enough feelings of failure on ourselves?

So, make a New Year’s plan not a resolution.

It may sound like semantics, but the mere word “resolution” in general is tied so often to failure that you need to leave it behind when it comes to your fertility. Choose to plan.

When you plan, you take action. When you plan, you take control. Rather than weakly resolving that you’re going to have a baby this year, get proactive and plan for it. Take control of what is within your control.

So many factors that could positively impact your fertility (as well as your general health) are within your control, so:

 

  • get adequate sleep,
  • drink lots of water to stay hydrated,
  • eat healthy and/or organic foods,
  • take vitamins and exercise with your doctor’s approval,
  • lose excess weight with your doctor’s approval,
  • stop bad habits like smoking or drinking excessively,
  • consider complementary holistic mind-body therapies and fertility acupuncture,
  • research financial options for infertility treatment.

 

Long Island IVF’s payment options, including grants, may help finance your infertility treatment. While it’s never easy to change jobs (or add an extra job) especially in economically-challenging times, more companies are offering insurance coverage for infertility treatment these days, including positions that don’t require special skills or advanced education, such as at Starbucks.

Listen to the voice in your head if it’s telling you something may be wrong and stop delaying having a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist about the state of your fertility.

In fact, even if you are not currently trying to get pregnant, you may benefit from a fertility screening to see if there are any noticeable “red flags” about your reproductive health that might impact your future fertility plans. While it might be scary, knowing is always better than not knowing because it can let you take proactive steps before it’s too late, such as freezing your eggs while you are younger as “insurance” for use later if needed. Or just bumping up your baby plans if there are signs that that would be advisable, like a diminished ovarian reserve.

If you would like a fertility screening, or if you have been unable to become (or remain) pregnant and would like an initial consultation for fertility treatment, please contact us at any of our Long Island or Brooklyn offices.

2018 is a milestone year for Long Island IVF as we are celebrating our 30-year anniversary this summer. We are proud to have pioneered IVF here and to have brought Long Island its first IVF baby… and we treasure every baby we’ve helped bring into this world ever since.

Let us help you make 2018 a milestone year as well. Contact us today.

 

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Coming Out for the Holidays

By Tracey Minella

December 29th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

image credit: jeshoots.com

“Coming out” has a special meaning in the LGBT community. And all members who are “out” remember the way it ultimately happened—and the stress, fear, worry, and hesitation that surrounded that revelation. And the liberating feeling that followed… regardless of the initial response.

Heterosexual couples “come out”, too. But their “coming out” is in reference to breaking their silence about suffering from infertility. Similar feelings–stress, fear, worry, and hesitation. Now, mix that with a bit of unwarranted, social stigma-based shame over not being able to conceive naturally. Come out, and you get the same liberating feeling.

But sometimes, LGBT couples have to “come out” twice.

Consider this: You’ve met someone special and are ready to start a family.

Obviously, biology is a problem. Everyone knows that. It’s why LGBT members—even those who might never have had any problems conceiving if they were heterosexual– need the services of an infertility specialist. In virtually all situations, LGBT unions will require a “missing piece”—either a donated egg, sperm, or embryo—from someone outside the partnership in order to have a baby that’s connected biologically to at least one member of the couple. At a minimum, lesbians need donor sperm. Gay men will need two pieces—a donated egg and a gestational carrier’s uterus to carry the baby to term.

But sometimes, it’s more than basic biology or just getting the “missing piece”. Sometimes, there are issues with the “non-missing piece”. For example, a gay man may have a sperm issue, too. Or a lesbian may have poor egg quality, uterus issues, or other female infertility-related problems.

For these community members, it’s time to come out …again. This time as infertile.

Cue those hard feelings again. And now add in the worries or doubts that—despite great IVF success rates– you could possibly not be able to have children. Because when you are infertile, you just worry. It’s what we do when something so important is outside of our control.

So as the holiday season is in full swing and some family interaction is likely, consider dropping the truth bomb before the ball drops. Free yourself from the burden of the secret and come out about your struggle to conceive. You never know who may step-up and help in some way.

If you need help coming out to your family and friends, Long Island IVF’s caring counselor and Mind-Body expert, Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N., specializes in helping heterosexual and LGBT couples trying to conceive with the many challenges this journey brings.

Coming out may not get you the emotional support you need—but then again, it may. Either way, it’s liberating.

Long Island IVF has been helping the LGBT community become parents for decades. With a staff that includes both heterosexual and LGBT employees, we pride ourselves on understanding and satisfying each couple’s unique family-building needs. We are proud to partner with the LGBT Network in bringing cutting-edge reproductive medicine education and family-building technologies to Long Island’s LGBT community. If you are ready to learn more about your parenthood options, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation with one of our physicians in one of our conveniently-located offices throughout Long Island and in Brooklyn.

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Why Being Voted the Best In-Vitro Fertility Practice on Long Island Matters to Us

By Tracey Minella

December 14th, 2017 at 10:47 pm

Long Island IVF has been fortunate enough to have won the “Best In-Vitro Fertility Practice” category of the Best of Long Island contest for the past several consecutive years.

It’s an honor we don’t take for granted.

Being nominated and then voted for by our patients and their families each year is humbling and we are thankful for your confidence in our program. We are especially touched that votes come not only from our patients who have had success already, but also from others who are still undergoing treatment and keeping the faith that their own little miracle is coming.

By voting for us—just like when you leave positive reviews for your personal LIIVF doctor on our Facebook page and medical review sites– you are helping others who are struggling with infertility make that tough decision as to what program they should trust with their own fertility care. (Not to mention that you make our day even brighter.)

If you are so inclined, you can still vote for Long Island IVF tonight and tomorrow before the contest closes on Dec 15th while you are supporting your other local favorite goods and services providers. We are listed in the HEALTH & WELLNESS section, under “In-Vitro Fertility Practice”. It only takes a moment. Vote here. You will also notice our own co-founder, Dr. David Kreiner is up for Best “Acupuncturist” in the same section for his fertility acupuncture services.

2018 will be our 30th anniversary of making babies on Long Island, and the thrill of family-building never gets old. In fact, some of our own IVF babies have already grown up and they vote for us, too! And what a concept and thrill THAT is!

Thanks again for trusting us with one of the most important health care decisions of your life and for your positive feedback and your vote.

Many blessing for a peaceful holiday season.

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Hanukkah Wishes for the Infertile

By Tracey Minella

December 12th, 2017 at 9:52 am

 

image: digitalart at freedigitalphotos.net


With the festival of lights now underway, everyone at Long Island IVF wishes all those who celebrate it a very Happy Hanukkah.

 

Like many holidays throughout the year, Hanukkah and its traditions can bring both peace and stress to those suffering from infertility.

 

Seeing the little ones squealing as they spin dreidels can be hard to take when all you want is a child of your own. Same thing goes for the gelt collection—chocolate-covered or otherwise. Of course, many of you are anxiously awaiting the day you can pass these rich traditions on to your own children.

 

The stress can even make you over-indulge in the fried-food favorites of the holiday. And no one would blame you if you did. Especially if having a mouthful of latkes is your way to avoid answering Aunt Muriel’s nosy baby questions.

 

For those who are frustrated or losing faith due to the delay in your family-building plan, I hope you’ll draw strength from the Hanukkah story and embrace the light from the candles as they are lit each evening.

 

When you feel you have only enough left in you to go on for one more day, you can.. and will… somehow inexplicably, go on for much longer than you ever thought possible. So, keep the faith.

 

And for many, you will witness a miracle.

 

 

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Mind Body Medicine and Fertility- Free Reiki Series

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

September 27th, 2017 at 9:35 pm

I am excited to report that Long Island IVF’s’ Fertility Meditation Reiki series has been an amazing addition to our Mind Body Medicine program. The most recent free series runs from October 2-October 30 at 6:30-7:30 pm each Monday night.

Register here to reserve your spot. Come to any or all of the sessions—no need to be a patient.

The interconnection between mind and body makes it imperative that we treat the whole person, and not just one organ or one system of the person.  Our mind influences our thoughts.  Our thoughts influence our feelings, our feelings influence the biochemistry of our physical body.  Physiological changes in the brain are reflected in our hormones – stress hormones (cortisol) and reproductive hormones.

The chicken/egg dilemma:

It doesn’t really matter which came first — physical/biochemical issues affecting the mind OR the mind affecting the physical/biochemistry.   It’s all connected, so what DOES matter is treating the WHOLE system – mind and body.

A factual premise of Mind Body Medicine is based on eliciting what has been termed  “The Relaxation Response (RR).”   The RR is the physiological opposite of the stress response.  Therefore, when the RR is elicited, stress hormone levels (cortisol) decrease, and allow a more harmonious flow of reproductive hormones, as well as creating a cascade of positive changes in the physiological body.  This all works toward treating infertility!

The methods to achieve these changes are active meditation work, breath work,  as well as Reiki healing (opening and clearing of energy centers in the body). These methods cause the interference of the body’s stress responses including the interference of the brain’s release of stress hormones.

Research has shown that the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, etc. from the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus, can actually inhibit the release of our reproductive hormones!  Additionally, other physiological symptoms of stress hormones cause constriction of blood vessels and put the body in a hypervigilant state –NOT conducive to fertility. You may not even be aware of these symptoms, but the constant day-in and day-out stress of infertility often causes consistent overflow of these stress hormones, therefore impacting your fertility.

 

A powerful way to increase the energy of Mind Body work is by working in a group.

The Fertility Meditation and Reiki sessions have been a wonderful example of increased healing energy flow. We proceed through guided breath work, guided meditation, and guided Reiki healing, joining our energy to bring about physical, emotional, and spiritual changes.  You don’t have to have had experience in meditation or Reiki – anyone can do it!  The Mind Body group is a place where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support. I am often told by group members that the sharing of information has been enormously helpful to them.

Reiki is a Japanese method of stress reduction, relaxation, and healing. “Ki” means life force energy, and “Rei” means universal/spiritual. We are alive because of life force energy flowing through us. We all feel energy – or the lack thereof – without having to see it or touch it. So, we know it exists.

Life force energy flows through pathways in the body which are energy centers – also known as chakras. The chakras will affect, and are affected by emotions. When certain energy centers have low energy or blocked energy, we may become sick or “dis-eased” in certain areas. The practice of Reiki heals by guiding Ki – life force energy – throughout the energy centers in the body. By guiding energy to flow freely, we clear and open the energy centers, healing both the physical and emotional “dis-ease.”

The first time we offered our free Reiki series last summer, the response to this holistic and healing therapy was overwhelmingly positive. If you missed the last series, or can’t make the October 2017 series, we will have upcoming series scheduled throughout the year.

Infertility, and life in general, is stressful. Why not let us help you reduce that stress and regain some control? If you are experiencing fertility issues, you are encouraged to attend these sessions to fully do all that you can to treat infertility and provide coping and healing skills you will then have for life! Register for free now.

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September is Back-to-Baby-Making Time

By Tracey Minella

September 1st, 2017 at 9:34 am

 

image: designerpics.com Jeshu John


What’s better than spending the summer on Long Island?

Beaches less than a 15-minute ride in any direction. Great food, drinks, entertainment, and everyone kicking back and relaxing.

It’s no wonder many of those struggling with infertility decided to take the summer off from treatment and just relax. Not “relax, it’ll happen”. But relax as in filling your life with fun distractions that prevent you from obsessing about infertility 24/7. A mix of laid back and wild adventures. Soaking in the rays and Vitamin D. You know, just chillin’.

Basically, just doing what you’ve always loved—with those you loved to laugh with– before infertility messed it all up.

If you did this and conceived, that’s the best news ever. But if you’re still tossing negative pee sticks into the final summer bonfire, maybe it’s time to get back in the stirrups. If you don’t have a treatment plan already waiting, make that doctor’s appointment to decide the next step. If you know what the next step must be and you’re ready, then take it.

Back-to-school shopping ads can feel like a pencil through the heart when you’re infertile. But September is about more than back-to-school for kids you don’t have yet. It’s like a second New Year’s for everyone—a time to start anew. A time to make new plans or re-commit to old resolutions. A time to try again at parenthood, if that’s possible.

We’re here to help everyone–whether you are a patient of ours yet or not. To that end, we offer a steady stream of free seminars and events open to the public that give people a chance to meet our doctors and staff outside of an exam room for the first time—without the paper gown. And for those who are already patients, it’s bonus benefits and extra time with us in a more relaxed setting (again, no gown…)

Check out all the free events coming up this fall that will appeal to many different parents-in-waiting still on their journeys and come down with your partner or another friend. Or come alone. We have a donor egg seminar on Sept 12th, a series of Monday night Reiki and Guided Meditation sessions in October, and a seminar on Building families in the LGBT Community on October 26th—and we are constantly adding more so follow us on our blog or on social media.

There’s already a chill in the Long Island air. So, let’s not look back. The beauty of autumn is upon us and a fresh start is waiting. It’s back to baby-making.

Hope to see you soon.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * **

Did you take the summer off from treatment or power on through it?

 

 

 

 

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One Year Later: Reflections on #OrlandoStrong and Hate Crimes against the LGBT Community

By Tracey Minella

June 12th, 2017 at 9:45 am

 

Image: Ryan McGuire/Gratisography.com


Today marks a somber day in LGBT history—one to reflect upon and remember.

Last June, from our sponsor table in the Family Services Pavilion at Long Island’s Pridefest 2016 celebration, the Long Island IVF team was able to witness and be a part of the pride and happiness of the LGBT community mingling peacefully and openly on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Little did anyone know at that time that only hours after the event would end, the worst mass shooting in US history would happen in Orlando.  Fifty innocent lives would be taken and as many others would be injured. People just like those whose company we had just enjoyed. Regular people with their whole lives in front of them…targets of hatred in an increasingly ugly world. A world which in the months since then has become politically altered and alarmingly unstable for all—particularly the LGBT community.

It didn’t feel right to post Pridefest photos or talk of the positivity surrounding it in the wake of such a loss. But continued “radio silence” on Pridefest would be a disservice. It would be a lost opportunity to talk of and celebrate all that it was and, more importantly, all it must continue to be. There must be pride. There must be solidarity. In the face of hate, there must be love. And there must be real change.

There must be more than just a uniting of the LGBT community within itself –there must be support from those outside the LGBT community, too. Just as the world came together in vigils to support the LGBT community and to mourn those lost in Orlando, it must continue to look out for all people until the hatred is replaced by acceptance. Until there isn’t a need to designate “communities” anymore.

Prejudice and ignorance are frustratingly slow learners, so this change will require persistence. But despite the Orlando tragedy, we mustn’t lose sight of how far the gay rights movement has come, especially in recent years. And Pridefest is one of so many milestones of the movement. We mustn’t lose ground despite the political climate and a rising swell of previously-stifled but ever-brewing bigotry, hate, and violence.

Long Island IVF is proud to have supported the LGBT community and helped its members fulfill their dreams of parenthood for decades. None of us can undo these senseless deaths, but we can join together to create new life. If you’re ready to become parents, we can help you create your family. The next generation.

In the face of hate, there must be love.

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Long Island IVF Joins Lobbying Efforts for Mandated IVF Coverage in New York State

By Daniel Kenigsberg,MD

June 7th, 2017 at 10:10 am

 

Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, Co-Founder Long Island IVF

 

I am lobbying for passage of Senate Bill S3248, a bill sponsored by Sen. Diane Savino of Staten Island, N.Y. which would mandate In-Vitro Fertilization (“IVF”) coverage in New York State –just as it is in neighboring states including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Our patients and other New Yorkers struggling with the significant emotional and financial burdens of infertility are under the impression that they live in a progressive state, but little do most know how poorly served they are by existing New York law.

Currently, the law mandates coverage for “correctable” medical conditions causing Infertility–but specifically EXCLUDES coverage for IVF. This has resulted in much emotional and financial cost spent on inferior or inappropriate treatments which ARE covered when, for over 50% of infertile couples, IVF was the best or only treatment.

IVF is far safer in terms of reducing multiple pregnancy risk than less successful and often inferior treatments like ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination (IUI). There has been waste and needless sacrifice for insured couples denied IVF.

Further, not covering IVF treatment has a disproportionate effect on women (name one male treatment not covered by medical insurance). In Massachusetts, 5% of births result from IVF. In New York, it’s 1.5%. That is how dramatic the current arcane New York law hurts the population it is supposed to protect.

You can help right this wrong. And it won’t take more than 5 minutes of your time.

Call, write and email your state senator. You can find your senator here. Please note that mine is John Flanagan of Smithtown, Senate Majority Leader.

Also, contact Senator Savino of Staten Island because it is her bill to push and prioritize (or not). You can contact her here.

If you are currently suffering from infertility, it can be an overwhelmingly difficult time, but if you have a moment to reach out to your senator and Senator Savino, and any other local representatives, the combined effect of all of our voices can make a big difference. Or if your infertility journey has already been resolved, please reach out as well for the benefit of all that are now– and will someday be– following in your footsteps. And please share this with your family and friends so they may do the same. Thank you.

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