Utahns ‘Pound the Pavement’ for Parenthood

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Hundreds of runners gathered at Lakeside Sports Park in Orem on Saturday for the Pound the Pavement for Parenthood run to help raise money for couples suffering from infertility.

Established in 2010, Pound the Pavement for Parenthood is a non-profit organization that helps couples who suffer from infertility raise money for treatments with the hope of growing their families.

“Jill Witt, our founder, started our non-profit when her and her husband Dillon didn’t have the resources to pay for fertility treatments,” said Marissa King, one of this year’s race directors. “Her and Dillon organized a race to help sponsor their fertility treatments and found support from members of their family and community.”

After the initial event, the Witts realized how great a need there was for an organization to sponsor couples who couldn’t afford fertility treatments on their own. Now, four years later, their organization sponsors three races throughout the state of Utah and hosted more than 500 runners at this year’s Northern Utah event in Orem for sponsor couples Jared and Trisha Johnson and Tyler and Jenilee Davidson.

Pound the Pavement receives applications for sponsor couples from fall until February each year. Through an interview process, and based off of needs and circumstances, they select multiple couples and are able to provide events for them throughout the year in order to help them pay for costly fertility treatments.

Jared and Trisha Johnson first learned about the organization last year and actually came to one of the events to participate. Shortly thereafter, they submitted their application to be one of the sponsor couples for 2014.

“After a couple of interviews my wife and I received a phone call,” said Jared Johnson, one of the event’s sponsored spouses. “They just said, ‘When do you want to start planning your race?’ We couldn’t believe it; we were so grateful.”

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Young and old participate in this year’s Pound the Pavement event located at Lakeside Sports Park in Orem. (Marissa King)

The Johnsons and the Davidsons stood at the finish line with family and friends congratulating and thanking those who participated in their event. Participants ranged from grandparents and senior citizens to parents pushing their young ones in strollers.

“It was a great way to come out and show my support,” said Kyle Slaughter, a graduate student at BYU who is actually the Johnsons’ home teacher. “For things like this it’s hard to know how to show your support, but this event was a really fun way to be able to do just that.”

At the end of the race, participants each received a medal and made their way over to the covered picnic area where there was food, drinks and a raffle as well as speeches of gratitude from the sponsor couples and from the Pound the Pavement organizers.

“I started out as a volunteer, then a sponsor couple, and now I have the privilege of being one of the race directors this year,” King said. “It’s a great way to be able to help couples like my husband and I see that they are not alone and that they are part of a huge community of people struggling from the same trials. It’s great to be on the other end of it this year and help couples get to where they’d like to be.”

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Families gather to show their support for this year’s sponsor couples. (Logan Cooley)

The Saturday run at Lakeside Sports Park was only one of four sponsored events Pound the Pavement is putting on this year in Utah. Another race will be held in St George later this summer as well as a bowling and golf tournament to follow. Check out the Pound the Pavement website to learn about registration and donation opportunities for the remaining 2014 events.

“It’s hard for couples suffering from these issues to ask for money, and quite frankly, sometimes couples’ ability to have children is based on if they have the resources to pay for treatments,” King said. “Our organization helps couples who need help move past the discomfort of having to ask others for their help. It provides family and friends a way to show their support and love, and it gives hope to all those suffering from this problem.”

Pound the Pavement hopes to continue to be able to broaden its resources to help couples all across the nation. The events are a great way to show support for families, friends and members of the community who struggle from the prevalent issue that infertility is today.

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