Cancer survivors who couldn't afford IVF given 'gift of life' by moms in Facebook group
A couple, who both survived cancer as teenagers, say they have been given the "gift of life" from a group of mothers they have never met.
Last year, 75 women from the May Babies 2016 group came together to raise £2,000 for Marisha Chaplin and Jon Hibbs, from Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire, so that they could undergo In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).
25-year-old Marisha and 28-year-old Jon already have a one-year-old daughter thanks to IVF, but were unable to afford a second round of treatment until the Facebook group intervened.
The mothers raised the money secretly, and informed Marisha by creating a special video which they aired on a Facebook Live event.
The couple are now expecting their second child.
"I actually didn't believe it when they held up the (£2,000) sign," Marisha said of the big reveal. "It was bizarre and I can't put into words how amazing it was." Husband, Jon, corroborated "They held up the sign - and I just broke down and crumpled on the floor. I couldn't think of what to say to them."
"We both had Hodgkin's lymphoma when we were younger. I was going in for a check-up and I met her and …we chatted for a year on MSN and have been together ever since."
Explaining that they had wanted a sibling for their daughter, Evie, for quite some time, Marisha continued "After we had Evie, we saw how important it was to have a sibling for her. We knew we had to have another one."
The expectant mother's cancer diagnosis meant that she required IVF in order to star a family.
Next time around, however, it won't be such an ordeal. "Luckily we have four embryos frozen [from the previous round of treatment," Marisha said. "And we can use them for the next cycle, so it won't be that expensive."
The Facebook group, May Babies 2016, is comprised of mothers who gave birth in May of 2016, and they have continued to share their experiences of motherhood with each other.
"Me and Rebecca Catlin started the fundraiser because we’d grown a close friendship with Marisha and her story and what she’d already overcome had amazed us," one of the mothers, Beca Evans, told the Evening Standard. "So we set up the pages and everyone else was really positive about it and were happy to help. It’s an amazing outcome and I’m so glad we did this."
She said that it took them three weeks to raise the £2,000.
"They have truly given us the gift of life," Marisha said of the group's generosity.
"I don’t know these ladies and they’re from different parts of the country - I’ve met one because she lives in this area - but the others have never physically met me before.
To think they had the thought of pulling together and raising this money for us is just absolutely amazing and I’ll never be able to thank them enough."