Today, we would have been celebrating Joanne and her 61 years here with us. Instead, we are still mourning and grieving the loss of one amazing soul… 9 months later.

It’s a little Ironic but also so very symbolic to me that what she lived her life for; creating families, making babies and empowering women to become surrogates… The majority of that time span in a surrogacy journey is 9 months. The length of a pregnancy and a lot of what she lived for. How crazy that we are now 9 months without her, and her life’s work was always about those 9 months?!

Maybe this isn’t the right platform to speak to this but CSO has always been about family. So, if I’m not speaking to our core values, it wouldn’t feel right.
Personally, the loss of a parent, while I spoke of this in my tribute to her, is unlike any kind known that I can compare to. In those early days of losing her, it was raw, it was deep, and it was a blur.

But I had no idea how long lasting, how deep and how raw it would or could be. I would not wish this grief, this sense of something missing, this unexplainable aspect of “I need you” on anyone (p.s. who do I call now when I’ve burnt the Turkey dinner for the 10th time!? How do you make a tender roast beef stew?! What temp, how long!? Thank goodness I don’t make your gravy! 🤣 #badgravy !!)

Thinking back to when I was pregnant with my oldest, I asked my mom to detail labour. The pain, the cramps, the “what’s next”… I asked her to tell me EVERYTHING! She said “It’s one of the secrets of life. You never tell a first-time mom what it’s like. You support her, you encourage her, but you let her feel those things herself”. This rings true when going through the loss of a parent. You just can’t explain it .. but you support, empower and let that person feel it.

I want to take a minute to thank everyone that has supported our family through this crazy year. It shows the compassion that Joanne chose to surround herself with. While 2020 has been one for the record books, you have shown us love, peace and understanding. Today especially, the calls and messages have been overwhelming with love and support for us – Our family is so grateful. We know you are also grieving, and we are here for you as well.

So today, I look back on those talks. Those mother-daughter chats where she let me in on some of the secrets of life. Where she encouraged me to be brave, to have grace, to stand up for what’s right, to have a voice and to always stay humble and kind….

“if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all”… I think this sentiment/quote could be said over and over in her honour.

Today: I raise a glass, as I hope you all will, and I cheers My Mom. I give my thanks for Joanne being the Matriarch of Surrogacy in Canada. Joanne paved a trail that led many to follow.

Her legacy lives on. Professionally in CSO and in Little Miracles. Personally with her two sons, her brother and sister (and their families), her son-in-law and soon-to-be-daughter in law (My goodness, she would have loved to be at that wedding!!!!) her husband, her Grandchildren, C&E….

And in Me.

Mom, for the last 9 months I have felt you guiding my hand, leading my thoughts and guiding me to drive full steam ahead down that path you paved so long ago for us All. You broke the Glass Ceiling in Canada and in this industry for so many!

I will continue to build families from all aspects of life. To make parents become grandparents, to make siblings become aunts and uncles, to make Individuals become Parents.
I will continue to empower women on this beautiful journey of becoming Surrogates and welcoming them into our Sisterhood.

All while doing the Very best by your name, and More importantly – Your Legacy.

In honour of Joanne’s birthday, I am dedicating all of October at CSO AND Little Miracles to be: “Give Thanks and Give Back” Month at CSO and LM. While raising your glass and toasting Joanne, please think, reflect and take the time to answer:

“What are you thankful for?” and “How can I give back?”. I can’t wait to read your comments!

I’m thankful We had 60 years, 2 months and 18 days with Joanne on this earth so our world could be a little bit brighter with the help of everything she did, everything she taught and everything she accomplished.

I will give back by honouring her in providing pro-bono services to three of our waiting Intended Parents (details to follow and will be sent through our Internal CSO communications). A fund is now set up to accept donations. Agency Professionals, Clinics, Lawyers, Counselors, any and everyone. We are looking to everyone to come together to help raise funds!

We will be working through Fertility Matters Canada, Men Having Babies and Conceivable Dreams to provide Bursary’s to Intended Parents to help them achieve their dream of Parenthood. Joanne was adamant that she wanted to help every single person that came to her.

I vow to carry this fundraiser on for many, many years in hopes of helping Intended Parents realize their dreams of becoming a Family. COVID aside, we will be planning “Joanne’s Ball” next fall, in hopes of raising funds in her fashion…. A great big Gala! Please stay tuned for details on that in the coming months!
I truly hope that if you are in our Industry in Canada, you will consider donating in Joanne’s name.

Mom… Happy Birthday up where you are. I know you are dancing and singing allllll your favourite songs! I’ll miss your call and text at 5:50am Saturday… but I have a feeling you’ll make it known you’re with me for my birthday, just as I did for yours 38 years ago xoxo I Miss you 💔
I love you More, X Infinity + Plus One