Six Charlotte-area couples will share $100,000 in grant money to assist with in vitro fertilization (IVF) efforts from the Kyle and Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund, the Fund announced recently.
This is the eighth and largest round of “Bundle of Joy” grants issued since the Fund was created in 2015, following Kyle’s and Samantha’s IVF journey to conceive son Brexton.
“Kyle and I have heard so many stories of couples struggling to conceive a child of their own,” Samantha Busch said in a statement. “From unexplained infertility to a cancer diagnosis, there are multiple variables that may eventually lead to the difficult path of IVF.
“We strongly believe that every journey to parenthood is unique and even though sometimes it can’t happen the natural way, everyone deserves a chance to try and have their own child without worrying about the cost or judgement.”
IVF, which is a process that mixes eggs and sperm in a lab dish to create an embryo, is a costly procedure that typically is not covered by most insurance companies.
One of the recipient couples, Sharika and Gabriel Ramseur, have been trying to conceive for much of their seven years of marriage.
Added Sharika Ramseur to the Gazette, “The Buschs spoke with us, encouraged us, supported us and told us to stay in touch throughout the process. They could not have been more understanding toward us.”
The six couples will receive between $10,000 and $25,000 from the Fund for treatments at the Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte, also known as REACH.
“Over the last four years, I am proud to say that the Kyle and Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund has helped 37 couples overcome the financial burden of fertility treatments with nearly $500,000 awarded,” Samantha Busch said. “We now have 16 ‘Bundle of Joy’ babies with five more due in 2019 and are beyond thrilled for this next round of recipients as they begin the process to have their own bundle of joy.
“The ‘Bundle of Joy Fund’ began as a way for Kyle and I to help alleviate the financial burden couples are faced with during fertility treatments, but I don’t think we realized the significant impact it would end up having on our life. Every round of grants means Kyle, Brexton and I get to welcome more amazing couples into our growing ‘Bundle of Joy’ family, and that fills our hearts with so much happiness.”
In the video, Samantha Busch emotionally explains how she learned of the miscarriage.
“So, today around 11 o’clock my stomach started hurting,” Busch recounted. “I stood up and I was bleeding. Then we went to the doctor. I was passing a lot of clots and bleeding. They did an ultrasound and they said my cervix was still closed and she was in there but I was in the beginning of a miscarriage.
“Yeah, we knew from the beginning that sharing this that there was always the possibility that this could happen. I guess with how Brexton was how our numbers looked I never thought it would happen. Obviously, it’s really hard to share. It’s just heartbreaking.”
“If we only showed the good times, and we only showed when it was a success and went well, that’s not fair to all the women that have (not had stories that have gone like that),” she said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, and it is a little scary to know that things may come up down the road that may not be as easy as last time, but for all those couples out there that need to go through this or have gone through this and need to know that they’re not alone and need to understand that this can happen to anybody, I think it’s important to start from the beginning this time.’’
Earlier this week I suffered a miscarriage. We lost our baby girl. My heart hurts more than words can describe. I promise I will answer your questions and share more updates when we are ready, we just need some time as a family to process all of this. Xo, Samantha pic.twitter.com/ZsLZMhzjSP
Feeling blessed today! We are excited to announce that the tests came back positive for our baby girl! We're cautiously optimistic since it's still so early but so far everything looks great! pic.twitter.com/DZYUQjULQ3
So why wasn’t Bell introduced as the driver of the No. 95 car?
“Between ourselves and Joe Gibbs Racing, we’ve been very intentional about Christopher’s development,” David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told NBC Sports. “Was there some conversation? Absolutely. But we collectively decided to stay the course and genuinely believe it will serve Christopher to invest another year (in Xfinity). It’s not going to hurt him.
“One of the challenges of this new alliance is next year we’re … starting from some respects from ground zero (with a new partner in Leavine Family Racing). I don’t think it’s fair to put a rookie driver in the midst of that. This is why Matt will be a good fit. His experience will lend itself to building this alliance and building the level of competitiveness.”
Leavine Family Racing replaces Furniture Row Racing, which will cease operations at the end of this season, in the Toyota camp. But the two teams are very different. Leavine Family Racing is behind where Furniture Row Racing was when it joined Toyota in 2016. Furniture Row Racing had already won in Cup. Leavine Family Racing has not. Even though both are single-car teams this year, car owner Bob Leavine said his team has 35 employees, about half the number that work at Furniture Row Racing. Leavine also said he doesn’t have the budget Furniture Row Racing has.
Wilson’s focus of building Leavine Family Racing is understandable.
Wilson confirmed that Toyota Racing Development will support five Cup teams next year — the four Joe Gibbs Racing teams and Leavine Family Racing — and no more.
But there’s still a way for Bell to run some Cup races next year. Leavine said he planned to ask Wilson about Toyota Racing Development providing an extra engine to run Bell from time to time.
“That’s for them to decide,” Leavine said. “We’re just going to be available if they want to do it to put it all together and make it all work.”
Joe Gibbs Racing, which will provide the cars to Leavine Family Racing, also would have to be able to build cars for those extra races.
Wilson is open to the idea of a second Leavine Family Racing car running at times if it makes sense.
“We’ve not made any definitive plans along those lines but certainly it gives us some options,’’ he said. “The challenge in doing that is making sure that you do it in a manner, not that you expect to win per say, (but) you can risk spreading your resources too thin.
“Next year will be our first year with LFR and the priority needs to be building their capabilities and building their success, so if we have the opportunity to do something creative like that without compromising our primary mission, then we might take a look at that.”
The 17-year-old is fifth in the points in her first season in the series. Is her win and two runner-up finishes this season enough to have her run a Toyota Truck at Martinsville or Phoenix later this season?
“There’s no plans right now to put her anywhere this year,” David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, told NBC Sports. “We’re still working very closely with Hailie and the family about the right steps, the next steps. I don’t think we’ve made any definitive decisions at this point.”
So what about a Truck next year?
“There’s not a plan,” Wilson said. “You need to put her experience in perspective. She’s literally only run 20-something races on pavement and is 17 years old. She just need mores races, more laps, more seat time. There’s not a burning urgency of we’ve got to get her in a truck.”
A possibility for her could be to move to the K&N Pro Series East next year and run the full season there.
Another Toyota driver looking to move up the development ladder is Seavey, who leads the USAC National Midget standings and seeks to become the third rookie to win that championship.
“We have a lot of faith and belief in Logan,” Wilson said. “What we’ll see with Logan is just more pavement time. We’ve got some great relationships across the Super Late Model ranks and I would expect next year that we give him some more opportunities with (those) races and maybe some K&N and ARCA. He’s definitely on the right track and we’re excited about his potential.”
3. Right from the start
Kyle Busch and wife Samantha have been open about their struggles to have children and that they had to go through in vitro fertilization to have son Brexton in May 2015.
Kyle and Samantha both recently announced that they are wanting to give Brexton a baby sister and said they planned to share all the ups and downs they go through during this process publicly.
“If we only showed the good times, and we only showed when it was a success and went well, that’s not fair to all the women that have (not had stories that have gone like that),” Samantha Busch told NBC Sports.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen, and it is a little scary to know that things may come up down the road that may not be as easy as last time, but for all those couples out there that need to go through this or have gone through this and need to know that they’re not alone and need to understand that this can happen to anybody, I think it’s important to start from the beginning this time.’’
Samantha said she has begun taking a shot a night to prepare her body for the process and will be scheduled to have additional shots before the in vitro fertilization takes place.
“I think it was already done” by then, Knaus said of the decision.
Johnson was second and in a position to advance to this round of the playoffs but challenged Martin Truex Jr. for the win and spun in the final chicane. The result was that Johnson lost enough spots and Kyle Larson gained a spot on the last lap to forge a three-way tie among Johnson, Larson and Aric Almirola for the final two transfer spots. Larson and Almirola advanced based on their best finish in the first round was better than Johnson’s best.
“That was … heartbreaking,” Knaus said Thursday of the Roval finish, (but) that was not part of it. I wanted to win that race just as bad as he did.
“I beat myself up more than I probably ever blamed Jimmie for what happened there. I could have probably come on the radio and said one or two things and he probably would have maybe thought and checked up a little bit, but my last words to him was ‘go get his ass.’”
Said Johnson: “I was crossing the start/finish line watching the white flag wave when he said that… yeah, that is what we do, we are there to win.”
5. New frontier
With Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus splitting after this season, Knaus will become William Byron’s crew chief.
Byron is excited about the opportunity to work with the seven-time champion crew chief and knows it will push him to be better.
“I think Chad is going to be brutally honest with me, and I’m okay with that,” Byron said Thursday. “I want to succeed in this sport. That’s my number one goal, and I’ll do whatever it takes to do that.”
Although Knaus is 47 and Byron is 20, Byron says he sees similarities with Knaus.
“Probably attention to detail,” Byron said. “Type A personality. I don’t like excuses so that will fit well.”
Knaus said he’s “so geeked up” to be working next year with Byron and the No. 24 team, a team Knaus worked for when he started at Hendrick Motorsports in 1993.
Jimmie Johnson said he thinks the pairing of Knaus and Byron will be good.
“I am really excited for William,” Johnson said. “We have chatted quite a bit about it, and I feel that William is a lot like me. He likes to be coached along. I think there are some personalities that liked to be coached and others that don’t thrive or succeed in that environment. William is a lot like me in that he likes to be coached and with Chad’s wisdom and years and experience his intensity and desire to win, I think it could do a lot of good for him.”
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — They made noises, happy grunts, screams and squeals as they ran, climbed, swung, jumped and bounced around as toddlers do.
A few others too small to play, including one born July 31, rested in the arms of their parents and were admired by others.
Four years ago none of these adults would have been at this children’s gym and didn’t know if they ever would have a child. Infertility issues left them unable to conceive and the costs for treatments were beyond the means of many.
Tuesday night, they gathered as one big family, recipients of grants from the Bundle of Joy fund. Kyle and Samantha Busch started the Bundle of Joy fund after their struggles to have son Brexton, who was born May 18, 2015. They wanted to help infertile couples by providing financial gifts to pay for fertility treatments.
Since the program started in September 2015, the Bundle of Joy Foundation has distributed nearly $400,000 and had 14 children born with two more on the way this year.
“I don’t think words can explain this,” Samantha Busch told NBC Sports on Tuesday. “Having them all here together and just seeing them all playing and interacting and the parents sharing their (In Vitro Fertilization) battles and journeys, this is what I always hoped for. This is why God had us go through IVF because look at all these families that are created through it.”
Among the newest couples with a child there was Ashley and Jeremy Rhoney with daughter Karoline, who was born May 9.
They had tried to have a child for five years. Doctors couldn’t explain why they were unable to conceive. Their lab work looked good but they still weren’t able to have a child.
Making it more difficult was that for the past four years Ashley has been a nursing assistant in the labor and delivery department at the Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory, North Carolina. There she had seen the joys of childbirth while unable to experience that herself. She admits it got to a point she considered switching jobs because of the constant reminder of what she couldn’t have.
They tried various treatments, including one that cost more than $5,000 that didn’t work. The next alternative was In Vitro Fertilization, which would cost Ashley and Jeremy more than $20,000, money they didn’t have. Then they heard about the Bundle of Joy fund and completed application just before the deadline.
When Samantha told Ashley and Jeremy that they would receive a $15,000 grant for additional treatments, Ashley could not speak. She cried when she got to the car.
Last September, she and Jeremy waited at home for lab results to determine if the treatment worked and she would be pregnant. Eventually they had to go to work. As they drove, Ashley got a phone call. She immediately declined it so it would go to voice mail when she saw the number. She waved her arm out the window to her husband in the trailing car, pulled over and called him to come to her car and listen to the voice mail. Even now, Ashley admits when she passes that patch of land on her way to work she thinks about the phone call that told her she was pregnant.
Also playing on Tuesday was Willie Lee Carswell III — call him Lee. He arrived April 12, 2017, ending a years-long journey for Will and Susan Carswell to have a child.
Three treatments had failed. The costs were escalating for Will, a state police investigator, and Susan, who owns an embroidery business. They applied for a Bundle of Joy grant and received $12,600. When they found out Susan was pregnant, she noted that they had waited 1,116 days for that moment.
No moment can compare for Susan then when she held their son for the first time.
“My worst fear was … I thought oh my gosh, they hand me this child and I can’t get him to quit crying?” Susan Carswell said. “What am I going to do?
“As soon as they put him down on me and I said, ‘Hey baby, I love you,’ he quit crying immediately. It was like he knew I was his momma. I just could not believe that he could sense that I was his momma already and he knew that he was safe laying on my chest. That was the greatest feeling in the world that I’m his momma and he knows it.”
Will calls fatherhood: “Absolutely the best thing in my life.”
They both laugh as they recall when Lee was born and the first thing Susan said after seeing her son.