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As I sit down to write this blog post, I find myself overcome with a mix of emotions—excitement, gratitude, and a profound sense of purpose. I am thrilled to announce that I have embarked on a two-year grant journey with the Fertility Friends Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting families on their path to parenthood.

In honor of my great-grandmother, Lucy, a resilient member of the Nipissing First Nation and the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, we will be naming this grant “The Lucy of Anishinaabe Grant.” Lucy’s story is one of courage and strength, as she persevered through the atrocities of the residential school system. As we continue to learn about the horrific experiences endured by our ancestors, it is with great pride that we honor the maternal line of strong women who have shaped our family’s legacy. The Lucy of Anishinaabe Grant serves as a tribute to their resilience and a beacon of hope for indigenous individuals seeking support on their journey to parenthood. Through this grant, we carry forward the spirit of resilience and empowerment that has been passed down through generations, ensuring that Lucy’s legacy lives on in the lives of those we are privileged to assist.

As an indigenous person who has personally struggled with fertility issues, this opportunity feels like the perfect alignment of my personal experiences and my desire to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others within my community. For too long, indigenous peoples have faced numerous challenges in accessing reproductive healthcare and support services. Historical traumas, systemic inequalities, and cultural barriers have all contributed to this disparity. However, through organizations like the Fertility Friends Foundation, we are working to change that narrative and create a more equitable future for indigenous families.

The opportunity to play a role in helping indigenous individuals and couples build their families is nothing short of a privilege. It is a chance to contribute to the continuation of our cultural legacies—to ensure that future generations of indigenous peoples have every opportunity to thrive and grow.

At the heart of my work with the Fertility Friends Foundation lies a deep-seated belief in the importance of representation and inclusivity. All too often, indigenous voices are marginalized or silenced. By actively participating in initiatives like this grant program, we are reclaiming our narratives and advocating for the rights and dignity of indigenous families everywhere.

I am also acutely aware of the significance of this opportunity in the context of indigenous history and resilience. Throughout centuries of colonization, forced assimilation, and displacement, indigenous peoples have endured unimaginable hardships. Yet, despite these adversities, our communities have persisted, drawing strength from our cultural traditions and spiritual practices. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we provide indigenous individuals with the support and resources they need to build the families they envision.

As I embark on this journey with the Fertility Friends Foundation, I am filled with hope for the future. I am committed to leveraging my own experiences and expertise to create meaningful change within my community and beyond. Together, we can break down barriers, challenge stigma, and ensure that every indigenous person has the opportunity to experience the joys of parenthood.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Fertility Friends Foundation for entrusting me with this opportunity. I am honored to be a part of this vital work, and I look forward to the journey ahead. To my fellow indigenous individuals and families, know that you are not alone. Together, we will continue to persevere, thrive, and create a better world for generations to come.

Sarah Paterson