When tragedy strikes – Losing my friend Emily

By Valerie Landis of eggsperience.com and Eggology Club podcast

“My eyes were glossy, my head in a fog. I had just gotten up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It was just after 4am my time (Chicago time). Then my eyes read a message I was never prepared to read. My brain couldn’t make sense of it. What do you mean Emily Hartridge has died?

I was flooded with emotions as I learned a dear egg freezing friend, Emily had tragically died in an accident in the UK on Friday. I am in complete shock and in disbelief. I had just messaged her last month. We had just talked on Skype. Life is so fleeting, so short, uncertain. None of us know if we will be here tomorrow, but no one expects a tragedy like this.

For the brief time I knew of Emily, she inspired me with her openness, kindness, and wiliness to talk to complete strangers if it helped others in any way. Emily was an advocate for mental health, loved talking about anything taboo, and shared all of herself online.

We had just recorded her egg freezing story earlier this year.

Emily was so quick to respond and say yes. I deeply admired her and how easy she was to talk to. I felt like we knew each other for years and really bonded.

Emily was an advocate for mental health, and loved talking about anything taboo, and shared all of herself online. She was such a voice, regardless as to whether she knew it or not. Her voice reached beyond her zillions of followers online, Instagram account, or views on YouTube. She was true, real, raw and honest. She never backed away from talking about the most taboo of topics and subjects.

For the brief time I’ve known Emily, she inspired me with her openness, kindness, and wiliness to talk and help complete strangers through her witty and raw videos and social media. We had become friendly right after she first started to freeze her eggs and begun fertility treatments at London’s Women’s Clinic.

I asked her if she would share her egg freezing story on my educational website Eggsperience.com and talk about how the process she experienced. Emily was so quick to respond and say yes. I deeply admired her and how easy she was to talk to. I felt like we had known each other for years and we really bonded.

I can’t imagine what her sisters, family, friends, and her amazing boyfriend Jake must be feeling and going through. Emily was so young and had just turned 35 years old in May. She was planning her next round of egg freezing treatments, starting a podcast, and taking on more advocacy work talking about mental illness and health. She had big plans, all cut short.

Over the last several years, I have had the unique opportunity to interview women all over the world. I have asked them personal questions, talked to them about their relationships and lives. I’ve studied and learned what egg freezers just like myself are really thinking about when it comes to family planning and why the choice to freeze is important to them. Sometimes I forget how this sisterhood of freezers bonds us all together with such a common thread.

As the realization that Emily is gone tries to sink into my brain, I’m reminded how important it is to have your medical affairs and legal items in order.

Having a medical directive, preservation trusts, or will for your DNA is vital. It is important to think ahead on these topics. If one does not have a preservation trust or medical directive it could leave your resounding wishes in limbo or a burden to your family members to sort out.

I encourage you to explore legal protection today

Personally, I have set up a preservation will and trust for my frozen eggs. I worked with the expert and talented attorney Ashley Pitman of Fertility Trust who specializes in this type of fertility law. I encourage you to explore legal protection today if you have eggs, embryos, or sperm frozen, to set in place and have your own preservation will and trust. Give code EGG CLUB for a discount.

All of this reminds me how nothing is for sure. We are given no guarantees in this life. Our frozen eggs or embryos are not promised to give us a baby. If you choose to freeze, it doesn’t mean it will work. Anyone can die unexpected.

Today, Emily has inspired me to live .. live harder .. love more .. forgive always. We never know when will be our last days. I for one do not want to anything to be undone, any stone unturned, any friendship not mended.

Please tell the people you love that you love them. Call your mom, dad, sister, brother, grandma or grandpa, friend, or anyone you care about. We all only have today.

As a tribute to Emily’s life and legacy, I’d like to share the video we created together. Rest in Peace Emily. xo “

 

About Valerie Landis

Valerie Landis has been working in the women’s healthcare field with startup fertility companies for the last decade. She travels across the country to build partnerships with fertility clinics, helps drive change for patient’s access to fertility care issues, and is a key voice for patient advocacy and education. Valerie focuses on guiding women of any reproductive age to help form a future plan through the complex and challenging paths of fertility decisions with {her}strategies one-on-one counseling services.

Valerie merged her medical career and fertility passion when she founded and created the educational website eggsperience.com and Eggology Club podcast. The fertility focused website and podcast features many leading fertility experts, knowledgable egg freezing resources, along with highlighting a collection of first-hand accounts of other women’s fertility journeys.

Valerie hopes that by starting the conversation about protecting our future-selves with non-biased and fact-based information, women will feel inspired, brave, and act progressively today. She speaks openly about her own multiple egg freezing cycles, her family planning decisions, and is showcasing her experience for the world to watch with the video docu-series THIS IS EGG FREEZING. Connect on social, follow online, and learn more about Valerie via https://linktr.ee/valeriedlandis.

 

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