Founder, Aneden Gives
President & CEO, Aneden Consulting Inc
My name is Olu Fagbemiro. I live in Washington State with my husband, Afolabi, and our daughter, Anike. In 2018, I founded ANEDEN Gives because of my own fertility journey and the brave women I have met along the way.
In 2004, I was diagnosed with fibroids, benign tumors in the uterus, which grew quickly and by 2007 I had to have my first myomectomy because I had several fibroids including a large one that caused severe back pain and also put pressure on my bladder. After the 2007 procedure, the fibroids slowly grew back. By 2014 when I was ready to start trying for a baby, my doctor recommended we remove the fibroids before we tried conceiving in order to improve the health of the pregnancy and baby. So, a second myomectomy was scheduled.
MY FERTILITY JOURNEY
During that second myomectomy, my doctor discovered that my fallopian tubes seemed fused to other organs and may be blocked due to scar tissues. So, as she delivered the news that all the fibroids had been removed, she also had to tell me the bad news that my tubes may be blocked which meant that I may not be able to conceive naturally. She advised I confirm through a fertility clinic.
Once I had recovered well enough, I scheduled an appointment with the Houston Fertility Institute to assess the situation and they confirmed through a procedure called Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) that my fallopian tubes were blocked. We also tried a Hysteroscopy to unblock the tubes, but it was not successful. At this point, I sought professional help to help me deal with the psychological impact of a devastating event, I could have lost my mind.
In addition, about 6 months after the second myomectomy, we discovered that 5 new fibroids had recurred and suddenly I felt like I was a walking time-bomb. I felt like I was running out of time. My doctor advised me to seek fertility treatment right away and that is how my fertility journey started.
Invitro-fertilization was the recommended treatment for my condition (blocked fallopian tubes). My husband and I started the process and discovered very quickly that we had embarked on a difficult process. First of all, I discovered that my employer’s health insurance specifically excluded any form of fertility treatment. The health insurance offered by my husband’s employer covered some but I was not on that plan at the beginning of our treatment. We hurriedly tried to get me on the plan but ultimately had to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket. We started treatment sometime in January 2015 and by March 2015, I was pregnant with twins. I couldn’t have been happier, I was overjoyed and glowed from the inside out. Little did I know how short-lived my joy would be.
By May 2015, I had a miscarriage and lost both babies. It was the most difficult time of my life. It was the singular most painful experience of my life.
I was blessed to have the support of family and friends, and to have already been in counseling, so I was able to start the process of healing immediately. This was also the point in my life that I met the most wonderful people that helped me through the healing process.
During my healing process, I was not concerned about being able to afford another round of fertility treatments because I was fortunate enough to have had some fertility insurance coverage by that time and the financial ability to “do it again”. I understand this is not the same for so many families. For the average family that does not have appropriate insurance coverage, going through the first treatment can be financially crippling, let alone a second one.
About five months later, in October of 2015, we had an embryo transferred, I carried the pregnancy to 37 weeks and was delivered of a healthy baby girl via C-Section. Due to the previous two myomectomies I had gone through, it was unsafe for me or the baby to go through labor and a vaginal birth.
About 8 months after our daughter was born, I decided to change my life and start a new career. That decision made it possible for me to design a life that allowed me to create ANEDEN Gives.
Today, I am a much stronger and compassionate woman because of the journey I have been through. However, I am also very aware that my journey albeit difficult could have ended very differently if we had the financial difficulties most families have to struggle with. This is the reason why ANEDEN Gives exists. We know we cannot eliminate all of the difficulties the fertility journey entails, but we are going to try to remove one of them – the financial hurdle.
So, I invite you to join us as we take this journey with the brave families writing their own fertility stories. Let’s help them write stories with happy endings.
Board of DIRECTORS
Dr. Mazen Abdallah, MD
BOARD CERTIFIED Obstetrics and Gynecology Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
Dr Abdallah obtained his undergraduate degree in Biology and a medical degree from the American University of Beirut. He then completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Wayne State University / Detroit Medical Center where he annually received the award for excellence in academic achievement. Dr Abdallah went on to complete a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Wayne State University / Detroit Medical Center; during the fellowship he received the “Outstanding Junior Faculty” award.
He has special interests in male factor infertility and female infertility due to advanced reproductive age. Dr Abdallah is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He has published multiple articles in peer reviewed journals and presented in national meetings. He has been repeatedly named among the top doctors in the greater Houston area. Dr Abdallah is the medical director of Houston Fertility Institute; he also holds a faculty position as an assistant professor at the McGovern Medical School / University of Texas Health Science Center at the Houston OBGYN Department.
Tolu Adekunle obtained her undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She is also a chartered accountant (FCCA) member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. She is an Entrepreneur and an Independent Consultant providing financial analysis, accounting and business planning services to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s).
Tolu has a passion for startups, and over the years has been involved in helping many of her friends and family get their businesses up and running. She previously worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Her volunteer experience includes pastoring youth at church, fundraising for the church she attended whilst in Nigeria and working with Junior Achievement. Tolu enjoys spending time with her kids, writing, watching classic movies and reading. She also enjoys public speaking.
Alexa Benyak is a problem solver with a keen understanding of customer experience and market opportunities. She currently works for Bright Horizons, helping parents find quality childcare in major West Coast markets.
She graduated from George Washington University, with a BA in International Affairs in 2006 and began her professional marketing career in New York City, before moving to Seattle in 2010. She obtained her MBA from the University of Washington, where she furthered her focus on marketing and business development.
Alexa Benyak is passionate about supporting families. When she is not working or trying to grow the Aneden Gives foundation, she also volunteers for PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support) and Bright Spaces. At home, you are likely to find her rocking out to Disney tunes, while dancing, and also cooking dinner with her daughters Audrey and Margot.
Dr. Kristin Brigger, MD
BOARD CERTIFIED Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Kristin Brigger is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She joined Complete Women’s Care Center in 2010. Originally from Beaumont, Texas, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas A&M University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences. In 2006, she earned her Medical Doctorate from The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Brigger completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Memorial Hermann Hospital in 2010.
During her junior year in medical school, Dr. Brigger was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. In residency, Dr. Brigger received the Residency Teaching Award and was an Administrative Chief Resident from 2009-2010. Dr. Brigger has been honored as a “Texas Super Doctor Rising Star” in Texas Monthly Magazine every year, which is a prestigious award given to outstanding young physicians who have been in practice less than 10 years. She has also received Vitals “Patient Choice” award for multiple years.
Being from the area, Dr. Brigger intends to make Houston her permanent home and is committed to her patients’ gynecological care, being a part of their birthing experience and developing lifelong relationships with them. She has a particular interest in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery and is trained in laparoscopic surgery. She is committed to offering her patients the most-updated surgical technology for their gynecological care.
Dr. Brigger is also active at the Women’s Hospital of Texas as a member of multiple committees to help ensure that her patients have the best care and experience during any hospitalization.
In her spare time, Dr. Brigger enjoys traveling, reading, biking, shopping and spending time with her husband, Eric, her daughters, Riley and Harper, and their beagle, Walker.
DR. S. PAUL ITAM II, MD, FACOG
BOARD CERTIFIED OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY
Dr. Paul Itam is a highly trained OB/GYN specialist with Kelsey-Seybold who is committed to providing compassionate care.
After graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Biology in 2000, Dr. Itam went to Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine where he earned his medical degree. In 2009, he completed his Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at Baylor College of Medicine where he served as administrative chief resident during his fourth year.
Dr. Itam is a member of the Houston Gynecological & Obstetrical Society, the Harris County Medical Society (HCMS), and The Texas Medical Association (TMA). He’s also a Fellow of the American Congress (formerly College) of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Board of ADVISORS
PRESIDENT OF TRANSMISSION, EVERSOURCE ENERGY
Katherine Prewitt has nearly two decades of success creating and directing strategic initiatives in collaborative settings in cross-functional, team based environments by aligning resources, stakeholders, tools, customer focus, and processes with business needs to streamline workflow, foster strategic objectives, and build a foundation for sustainable success.
Specialties: Reputation for unwavering integrity, building strong teams and relationships, and creating a culture of performance and accountability. Highly effective communicator that influences and motivates at all levels of the organization. Highly flexible in diverse cultures and varying business practices.
THINK AND INK GRANTS CEO & BLUE FOWERS ORG CO-FOUNDER & COO
Shavonn Richardson, MBA, Certified Grant Writer® is Founder and CEO of Think and Ink Grant Consulting™. As the 4th generation of her family giving back to the community, Shavonn has dedicated her life to serving the community as a philanthropist, volunteer, and community leader.
She worked in the Enterprise Business and Community Engagement office at Bank of America, supporting the bank’s sponsorship and grant-making efforts in metro Atlanta and has 13 years combined banking industry experience in the areas of corporate social responsibility, strategy and business development.
She co-founded the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Blue Flowers Org in 2014, empowering women and the men in their lives against prostate cancer (www.blueflowers.org). In 2015, Shavonn’s work was recognized by former President Barack H. Obama as she received the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Shavonn is a member of and abides by the professional standards set forth by the Grant Professionals Association. She regularly contributes to the advancement of grant professionals and speaks at regional conferences. She is a 2017 Association of Fundraising Professionals Diversity Fellow and is a member and active volunteer with The Junior League of Atlanta.
Shavonn earned a B.B.A. from Howard University and an M.B.A. from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.