At Hidden Hills Farm and Vineyard in Frederick, on a beautiful sunny afternoon, there was a party going on, but this was no ordinary party. Each of the guests, in some way, had been touched by infertility and had come to celebrate at the third annual Corks for Cade fundraiser in support of the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation.
For many, it was a reunion. Around the grassy venue, families greeted each other as friends. Doctors welcomed the hugs and greetings of the families that they had the privilege of helping. Children played and babies cooed.
Founded in 2005 by Drs. Camille and Jason Hammond, the Cade Foundation’s mission is to support families with infertility by providing education and grants that assist in paying for infertility treatment or domestic adoption. Dr. Art Sagoskin and wife, Robin, hosted the fundraiser and have been huge supporters of The Cade Foundation from the beginning.
The genesis of the foundation is personal for Dr. Hammond. She and her husband struggled for many years with infertility. After five years and six unsuccessful rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF), Dr. Hammond says, “We were counseled by our doctor to consider a gestational carrier or adoption. We didn’t know anyone who had had IVF, let alone someone who had had someone carry a baby for them.”
Dr. Hammond goes on to say that her mom and dad had seen a segment on TV about a post-menopausal woman who had successfully carried a baby for someone and suggested that it was something they thought her mom could do for them.
Initially, the response was no. But with the persistence of her parents, they moved forward in faith. Her mom, Tinina Q. Cade, got the go-ahead from her doctor, and a year later, she delivered three babies.
“We prayed for one and ended up with three perfect babies,” Dr. Hammond says.
Determined to pay it forward, they formed the Cade Foundation, named in honor of her mother. The initial goal was to help one family.
“We wanted to raise $10,000 because we knew small grants don’t go far in the fertility or private adoption world," she says. "But that goal, to raise $10,000 to give to one family, has grown to help 113 families and award over $800,000.”
The McLaughlin family came to support the Corks with Cade event. Advocates for infertility support, they know from firsthand experience about the challenges faced by families who are infertile. Their story spans 15 years, and in that time, they welcomed two beautiful daughters into their family.
Beginning their journey to parenthood a little later in life, Rhonda and Salyer McLaughlin knew that IVF and adoption were their only choices. Having tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant, Rhonda discovered that she had endometriosis requiring removal of her fallopian tubes.
“IVF was our first option, and we chose Shady Grove Fertility because of their reputation," Rhonda says. "Going to Dr. Stillman, we got started right away and did a total of three full cycles.”
She says that each time after, as they waited for the results to see if she was pregnant, they nearly gave up. After the third cycle, they received the call they had been waiting for; Rhonda was pregnant. Ever Lee made her way into the world in 2004. However, their story doesn’t end there.
“We had not intended to wait so long to try again,” Rhonda says of wanting another baby. “I had one embryo that had been frozen from the first round 14 years prior. We had a lot of life challenges along the way that required us to put pursuing another baby on hold. As time went on and I entered menopause, I thought that it was too late, and we would need a surrogate.”
Getting in touch with Dr. Stillman to talk about the next steps, Rhonda was surprised to learn that menopause was not a problem since they didn’t have to retrieve eggs and her embryo was already available. Dr. Stillman explained that Rhonda would need hormones at the beginning to take her out of menopause, and then her body would take over the rest while pregnant. Life couldn’t be better for the McLaughlin family. With a span of 14 years, the McLaughlins welcomed Ever Lee’s twin, Harper Lee into the world. Ever is thankful that her parents persevered, and there is no doubt she adores her twin sister.
Hugging Harper, she adds, “I didn’t really want a little sister, but now I can’t imagine what it would be like without her!”