CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Before Kyle Busch takes on the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, he and wife Samantha have been busy helping others and spreading the word about something all-too-personal for them: National Infertility Awareness Week.
From New York City to Charlotte, North Carolina, Kyle and Samantha are giving back this week in a number of ways through their Bundle of Joy Fund, which provides grants and other support to cover the costs of various treatments necessary to couples facing fertility challenges.
Kicking off the week with the TODAY Show on Tuesday morning, Kyle and Samantha shared their own journey with infertility, and with the help of Progyny, a company that specializes in fertility solutions and benefits to large corporations, they also surprised a couple with a $20,000 grant for fertility treatments.
The surprise also came full circle when Kyle and Samantha discovered that the wife of the couple they selected to receive the grant works at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“Through (Progyny), we formed a lot of partnerships,” Samantha told NASCAR.com. “With National Infertility Awareness Week coming about, they said we want to explain to people what we do with our patient care, with our benefits. They said we love your Bundle of Joy Fund and we would like to grant money to it and surprise a couple.”
Kyle and Samantha also held a “Let’s Get #IVFINGReal about Infertility and IVF” panel discussion in Uptown Charlotte on Wednesday night through the Bundle of Joy Fund and REACH Clinic of Charlotte. The panelists included Samantha, former Mrs. North Carolina Nichelle Sublett, Bundle of Joy recipient Nena Glass, REACH infertility specialist Dr. Seth Katz and REACH IVF lab director Tyl Taylor. The event allowed couples the opportunity to ask a wide range of questions about the process and costs of fertility treatments and experiences.
The night concluded with various buildings in Uptown Charlotte lighting up in orange, the official color of National Infertility Awareness Week. Participants included the Bank of America Tower headquarters and Wells Fargo’s Duke Energy Center. A specialty orange cocktail, created by Samantha, was also provided with the part of the proceeds going toward the Bundle of Joy Fund.
“It’s nice to be able to see a community that supports you so much, even though we’re all kind of strangers,” Samantha said. “But then we get to come together. … It’s been an overwhelming response just with people sharing their stories and putting it all out there.”
Kyle and Samantha have other ways of support on tap beyond the awareness week. In collaboration with Omaze, an online fundraising company, the couple is giving a fan a chance to enter to win a Toyota Camry Rowdy Edition II car and a VIP experience during this year’s Coca-Cola 600 weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with proceeds supporting the Bundle of Joy Fund.
The Busch family even made waves on social media with a used car salesman ad to promote the Omaze campaign. A testament to the loyalty of the NASCAR fan base, the campaign has exceeded fundraising expectations, as fans across the country are entering for their chance to win and supporting this amazing cause.
— Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) March 28, 2019
“The NASCAR community are the best fans in the world,” Samantha said. “I think that’s been a big reason why we’ve been able to do better than a lot of other people. At the end of the day, too, Kyle, as great as his driving skills are, he has some really good acting skills. And then throw in Brexton’s little cameo, I think people just love to see a different side of him.
“Obviously on the race track, he’s the best, aggressive and always focused, but then to see him fun and silly and see, I think, his authentic used car salesman side helps out the video.”
Aside from the assistance and awareness Kyle and Samantha have been able to provide away from the race track, there are also people within the industry that have benefited from the Bundle of Joy Fund, including employees at Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports. They have even received a high amount of outreach from fans at the track.
“People have always just stopped and said we’re getting ready for our journey, we’ve read your blogs and had questions during their journey,” Samantha said. “It’s really great to hear people say thank you, thank you for telling your story and helping me feel less alone, or understanding what’s about to happen. We’re very happy we’re able to share it so openly because we’ve seen a very positive response from people.”
“I’ve had fans and team members come up to me as well and say, ‘oh, my sister, or my uncle, or my cousin is an IVF baby,'” Kyle added. “There’s a lot of people that know, but it’s not very well talked about. It’s very cool that people are speaking up and saying I’m an IVF baby, or whatever that might be.”
Between the initial struggle to get pregnant, Samantha’s diagnosis with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), the birth of son Brexton and an unsuccessful second In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) attempt last year, the couple has been through it all. But being able to share their difficult experiences to help thousands of other couples who face the same challenges has given Samantha the strength to push forward, despite the intense physical and psychological pain of a recent miscarriage.
“This is what keeps me going,” Samantha said. “We are a community and it is support and for as much as I’m able to have these panel discussions and reach out to women on social media, I’ve gotten just as much back from them to help me kind of cope through this time along with family and friends.”
For Kyle, the balance between the responsibilities that come with being a NASCAR superstar and offering support for Samantha has undoubtedly been a challenge, including his own battle with infertility. But together, the family is able to thrive and use their massive platform to help others in need.
“I think the biggest thing is trying to be there for her and trying to be her support system through all of it,” Kyle said. “It’s obviously very tough on the woman’s side because of their mental thoughts and processes about not being a true woman and being able to get pregnant on our own. But then come to the male side and figure out there’s male factors as well, which I have, that we were just never meant to have a kid together naturally.
“I keep Samantha and Brexton going with me on the road every single weekend, traveling with me and going to all these places just to keep that unit together and keep that family aspect going in order to have that support system going for her, her for me and both of us for Brexton.”
To date, the Bundle of Joy Fund has given away 37 grants total up to nearly $500,000, assisting in the birth of 19 babies with three more on the way in thanks to those grants awarded.
But for the couple, this is just the beginning. Among other issues they would like to tackle include insurance coverage and the astronomically high cost of fertility drugs. Kyle recently made a trip to Washington D.C. with NASCAR to meet about the issue, while Samantha will be traveling with RESOLVE (National Infertility Association) in May to find out more information about what needs to happen to get the costs down.
“It’s a spider web,” Kyle said. “We’re in the middle of it and it can go any different way. I think you have to look at insurance coverages, that’s where we’re trying to go. … We’d like to get to the federal level and make laws about some of this stuff.”
“We’re starting the very basic level of groundwork right now for what’s out there, but I do feel like having panels like this and this community and this voice, that if their are bills or if we help create one, then we’ll have a big support behind it,” added Samantha. “… As we grow as a community and we grow as one united voice, I think that’s how we’re going to see change.”