Written for my final paper for my UofU “Intro to News Writing” Course.
Facing Infertility: Ashley and Luke’s Story
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah. – Ashley Erekson, a 28-year-old employee of Discover Card and former Certified Nurse’s Assistant, knew from the age of 14 that something was wrong with her.
For years, Erekson suffered from irregular or absent menstrual cycles, weight gain, acne, and even embarrassing facial hair. As a teenager, her family didn’t have the medical insurance necessary to pursue a reason for her symptoms. Finally, in 2012 after a series of test and blood work Erekson had the reason for her symptoms, she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS, also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, is estimated to affect 10% of American women of childbearing age according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1. This endocrine system disorder affects a woman’s hormones, weight, insulin levels, menstruation, and ovaries. The syndrome is linked to conditions like anxiety, depression, sleep apnea, skin problems, diabetes, heart problems and something that is often heartbreaking for PCOS sufferers, infertility.
For Erekson, and husband Luke, 31, the diagnoses offered a bittersweet sense of relief; relief that they now knew what was wrong, and fear about what this meant for their future family plans. “It affects every aspect of my life.” said Ashley Erekson, “Actually I feel like the last two years of my life have been complexly consumed by all this.”
It is extremely difficult to conceive a child with PCOS, due to fluid filled cysts that form on the sufferer’s ovaries. For the past two years the Erekson’s have been going through the expensive and long process of fertility treatments, including hormone injections and two failed Intrauterine Inseminations (IUI). With the advice from their doctor, the couple is now moving forward to try In Vitro fertilization (IFV), but the cost is proving to be overwhelming.
The Erekson’s have been amazed by the amount of support they have received from friends and family members and are now reaching out to the general public to raise $3000 toward IVF. They are holding a yard sale fundraiser at their home in West Valley City at 3349 S. 4400 W., on Saturday, Aug. 15, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is also an online fundraiser that people can donate to at http://www.gofundme.com/BabyE2016. They are asking for donations of quality second-hand items for the event to be dropped off at their home between now and then.
Tylynn Peterson, a friend of Ashley Erekson and stay at home mom and photographer, will be holding an opportunity drawing in conjunction with the fundraiser. Individuals can purchase an entry ticket for $2 and two lucky people will win an hour photo session, complete with digital photos and edits. Peterson is happy to support the Erikson’s after befriending Ashley Erekson on a mommy blog over the past year.
The issue is important to Peterson as it hits close to home, her sister also suffers from fertility issues. Seeing the Erekson’s and her own sister’s struggle with fertility, Peterson has a unique outlook on the issue and has noticed that some people are uncomfortable with talking about fertility. “It’s hard when people are going through infertility issues like this and it seems kind of taboo to talk about, and it shouldn’t be like that.” Peterson said going on to express her desire that issues like fertility would be spoken of more openly. She wishes that the facts and statistics of PCOS and fertility issues would be better known in order for people to understand how to help those struggling with it.
“Communication and patience have been key,” said both Erekson’s’ to riding out the ups and downs of the last two years. Ashley Erekson spoke of learning to have patience with her own body and herself when things didn’t go like she had dreamed. Through it all they both have benefited as a couple by learning to communicate through the trials. “The lesson for us has largely been on communication,” Luke Erekson said, “On what the dream of our lives in the future is, on what we want to be like.”
The couple is timidly optimistic about the future outcome of the IVF treatment, but success is not guaranteed and relies on many factors. Ashley Erekson has hope in the fact that the IVF success rate for women with PCOS is 60%, versus the 30% success rates for women without the disorder2. But due to limitations set out by her insurance provider as well as the financial cost, she feels that they will only be able to try IVF once. “I am really hopeful it will work, I am really concerned that if it fails we are kind of out of options.” She stated. In the case that the IVF doesn’t take the couple is planning on exploring other options such as adoption and foster care.
Above all else, Ashley Erekson is grateful for the doctors who have provided her with answers to her medical issues and the support of her family, friends, husband and even strangers along the way. She says about the people who have helped her, “There has been a lot of love and it’s been awesome.”
Spring 2015 -Introduction to Visual Communication
Assignment: Media Campaign Media
As a culmination of the skills learned within this course, we were asked to create 5 different pieces of media as a group for a non-profit organization that would benefit SLCC students. We choose to do the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Tour De Cure, a bike ride that raises funds for the ADA’s programs. I choose to do the Poster and was able to create a fun, bright, inviting piece that asks SLCC students to join the fictional SLCC Tour De Cure team. Because it is to be posted on SLCC campuses I used SLCC style guide and incorporated ADA’s logos. I was able to challenge myself artistically with the use of my photo shop skills and am proud of the out come.
Spring 2015 -Introduction to Visual Communication
Assignment: Magazine Layout
Click here to view the final Assignment PDF.
This by far was my favorite assignment in my Introduction to Visual Communication class. Not only did I learn a new computer program, InDesign, but I was able to stretch my creative self a bit further as I wrote the magazine article as the fictional journalist Lois Lane. I wanted to reflect Lane’s serious level of reporting, incorporating maps and ancient art into the piece instead of fluffy entertainment. To show the fictional character Wonder Woman as a person of power and mystery. I choose some stellar work of a favorite artist of mine, Jarsic, including some fun easter eggs for DC comics fans including photography by James Olsen and a side story by Cat Grant.
RIVERTON, Ut — The Riverton Arts Council opens “Footloose: the Musical” this Friday at the Riverton Civic Center as part of the towns 150th Anniversary celebration.
“Our cast and crew have worked hard to put together a show the whole family can enjoy.” Says co-director Kim Ostler, “We have picked an energetic show, filled with catchy music, fun choreography and a heartwarming message that we believe the community will love.”
The Riverton Arts Council is putting on this production at the Sandra N. Lloyd auditorium in the Riverton Civic Center, 12830 S. Redwood Road, Riverton UT, 84065. The show runs Friday, Saturday, and Mondays May 29 – June 15, 2015 at 7 p.m., with a matinee Saturday June 13, at 2 p.m. Reserved seating tickets are $8 to $10, and are available at the door and online at www.rivertonartscouncil.org.
The production is part of Riverton cities’ yearlong celebration marking 150 years of peace, progress and tradition since the cities settlement in 1865. The celebration includes festivals, historical events, and the grand opening of the newly remodeled city park.
“We are happy to support something that will draw our community closer together, promoting pride in our small town.” Ostler continued. She hopes now that the community will support the production of “Footloose: The Musical.”
Strategic Communications, Massage Therapist, Writer & Arts Advocate.
KelliesAnn’s Motto: Be Creative, Be Bold, Be Inspiring!
Halvorsen is a Salt Lake Utah native who loves her mountain home. She is a licensed massage therapist since 2006 with a private out-call practice, a freelance communications professional since 2011, author of “Ellie the Drama Princess: A Child’s Introduction to the Theater Process,” artist and arts advocate. She has a Bachelor’s in Strategic Communications from the Unversity of Utah, and associates in Mass Communications with a technology emphasis from Salt Lake Community College.
Creativity is important in her life, and from a young age, she has been found on stage singing, acting, or covered in paint. She spends much of her free time volunteering with her local community theater, The Riverton Arts Council, which became the inspiration for her children’s theater book.
When not on stage, or slightly off stage, she is busy working on her writing, learning new strategic communications skills and programs, building her outcall massage therapy practice, playing with her beloved Jack Russel Terrier (Zealand) and planning her next Disney trip.