Rare card could help Houston couple have a child

Associated Press
In this photo made Oct. 18, 2012, Todd, right, and Ula Nelkin, dressed in Detroit Lions t-shirts, talk about their autographed Barry Sanders card in their shop in Houston. Desperate for a baby, the couple is trying to raise money for in vitro fertilization by auctioning the rare football card. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
.

View gallery

HOUSTON (AP) — Barry Sanders knows that his trading cards are bought and sold every day.

When the Hall of Fame running back learned that a Houston couple desperate to have a baby was auctioning off one of his most rare cards to fund one last attempt at in vitro fertilization, he was stunned.

Now the former Detroit Lions star is helping spread the word about the sale of the card signed by both he and Walter Payton so Todd and Ula Nelkin can raise $20,000. It's hard for Sanders to imagine one of his cards helping bring a child into the world.

"It would be very, very special," Sanders said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm not sure that I even have the words, but it will be very special if I were able to help. Obviously we know there are no guarantees, but I will do as much as I can."

The 1999 Donruss card has a picture of Sanders and his signature on one side and Payton, who died in November 1999, is seen on the other side with his autograph. It is the only one of its kind rated a 10 by the Beckett grading service.

The Nelkins are auctioning it off this week on eBay.

"I would love to keep the card, but I would rather have a kid," Todd said. "It's a wonderful card. You daydream that maybe 30, 40 years from now, our son or daughter will find out where the card is and what happened to it."

The Nelkins are huge sports fans and own a sports memorabilia shop in Houston. The met on an online dating site and had their first date at a Houston Rockets game before being married at another one.

"We're two big kids at heart," Ula said. "Whenever we go to an outing, whether it be a movie or a symphony or a musical we think: 'We just can't wait to bring our little one to this.'"

They've both always wanted kids, but the 45-year-old Todd and the 42-year-old Ula met later in life and when they decided to have children they learned her eggs were no longer viable. They've been trying to have a child for about three years and already spent about $40,000 on IVF with donor eggs, only to have both rounds end in heartbreak.

Ula had to have emergency surgery after the first try resulted in an ectopic pregnancy. On the next round she never became pregnant. They say their credit cards are maxed out, so they started thinking about their next step. The Nelkins, who are also looking into adoption, say they're financially stable but don't have another $20,000 for when the doctor says Ula is ready for the next procedure.

They hope their intention to use the proceeds of the sale of the card to have a baby will make it more valuable.

"That adds something to the legacy of the card," Ula said. "Maybe this card will be known as the baby maker."

The couple, who donned Lions shirts while talking about the auction, couldn't believe it when Sanders reached out to them on Twitter. They've since texted with and spoke to Sanders by telephone.

"That's a scream-in-your-closet type of thing," Todd said of Sanders' offering to help.

Sanders said he has his "fingers crossed" that the Nelkins are able to raise enough money for the procedure and that it's successful this time. Their story touched him because of the joy his children have brought him.

"Part of why I was willing to get involved is because it is a real unique privilege and something that's very important and precious and like nothing else you'll ever do," he said of parenthood. "So the fact that I can maybe lend a small hand to a couple in this way, is a very unique privilege that I don't take lightly. I certainly feel for them. I know how much my kids mean to me, and I know that sometimes couples have problems with that, so I just wanted to do what I could to help them."

Ula gets emotional when talking about the failed IVF attempts, and that prompts Todd to interrupt her to provide encouragement.

"She would be a wonderful mother," he says, patting her hand.

Todd's parents and Ula's mother are all elderly and they hope to give them a grandchild before it's too late.

"This is our last shot," Ula said.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Trump slapped with federal lawsuit in New York

      A group of American lawyers on Monday filed a federal lawsuit in New York against Donald Trump, accusing the US president of violating a constitutional ban on accepting payments from foreign governments. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is pursuing Trump over his vast business holdings, from which the billionaire has refused to divest fully, saying that as president he can have no conflict of interest. CREW says Trump's business properties abroad operate based partly on goodwill from foreign governments and regulators, but that under the US Constitution no federal official can receive a gift or "emolument" from a foreign government.

      AFP
    • Man convicted of 3 murders as teen kills himself in prison

      CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) — A man who broke into a classmate's home in 2007 and stabbed the teenager and his parents to death has killed himself in prison, authorities said Monday.

      Associated Press
    • Minnesota Gov. Dayton, 69, collapses during speech

      ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton collapsed while delivering his State of the State speech on Monday, striking his head on a lectern. The 69-year-old Democrat appeared to be conscious as he was helped into a back room several minutes later, and a top staffer said he walked out of the Capitol on his own and was spending time with his son and grandson after a routine check by emergency medical technicians at his home.

      Associated Press 25 min ago
    • What's in the Box? Social Media Goes Wild Over Tiffany's Gift Melania Trump Gave Michelle Obama

      It led to an awkward exchange after Michelle Obama was unsure what to do with the gift.

      Inside Edition
    • The Sig P320 is the U.S. Army's New Sidearm

      The new pistol replaces the 80s vintage M9 handgun.

      Popular Mechanics
    • Royals' Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Yordano Ventura quit school as a teenager so he could begin working a construction job to help his family make ends meet, laboring day after day in the hot sun of the Dominican Republic.

      Associated Press
    • 12 bodies found in Mexican tourist town: officials

      A dozen bodies -- including seven that were headless and mutilated -- were discovered over the weekend in western Mexico's seaside resort of Manzanillo, apparent victims of the country's epidemic of drug violence, local officials said. It was a shocking turn of events for an area popular with American and other foreign tourists, which until now had largely been spared from the bloody drug wars wracking other parts of Mexico. Seven bodies were found early Saturday in an abandoned taxi on the road from Manzanillo to the town of Cihuatlan.

      AFP
    • 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

      Still America's beast.

      Car and Driver
    • Hugo Barra leaves Xiaomi, says China has ‘taken a huge toll on my life’

      Smartphone startup Xiaomi began life as a peculiar beast. From within the safety of China, the company did all it could to copy every last detail of Apple's devices and marketing strategy, knowing there was precious little Apple could do to stop it. When Apple's portfolio was exhausted, Xiaomi moved on to Samsung, copying a large portion of its device lineup as well. But then, the company realized that it could only go so far selling phones in China and a handful of other markets. As growth was on track to slow substantially, Xiaomi knew that it had to work its way into other top-tier markets around the world. And so Xiaomi Global was born. The Xiaomi subsidiary has hit a few rough patches over the course of the past three-plus years, but today may be its roughest to date. On Monday, Xiaomi Global VP Hugo Barra announced that he is leaving the company. In a post on Facebook, Barra confirmed that he is leaving the company and moving back to Silicon Valley. "When Lei Jun and Bin Lin came to me nearly four years ago with the opportunity to help turn a young rockstar startup into a global player, I embarked on what has been the greatest and most challenging adventure of my life," Barra wrote . "I moved to Beijing, 6,500 miles out of my comfort zone in Silicon Valley, to build from scratch a startup team within a bigger startup. This journey has been nothing short of spectacular in every way, and I can proudly say that Xiaomi Global is the first baby I helped bring into the world." Then, his post took a curious turn. "But what I've realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health," Barra said. "My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I've left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return." It's unclear exactly what Barra means when he says that working at Xiaomi in Beijing has "taken a huge toll" on his life and affected his health, but he goes on to run down some of the things Xiaomi Global has accomplished since he joined the company. Most notably, the company has expanded sales into Russia, Mexico, Malaysia and more than 20 additional markets. Of note, Barra will still play a role at Xiaomi moving forward. Mi president and cofounder Bin Lin confirmed in a post on Facebook that Barra will be an advisor to the company following his departure. "When Hugo joined us 3.5 years ago, we started an amazing adventure to turn Xiaomi into a global player," Lin wrote . "We have come a long way since, and I couldn’t thank him enough for contributing so much to Xiaomi’s journey. As much as we would love to have Hugo stay with us in Beijing for a much longer time, we understand his personal challenges and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. I’m also looking forward to working closely with him in his new role as advisor to Xiaomi."

      BGR News
    • A Plea to Trump Fans: This Man is Dangerous

      The president is not just lying to you and me—now he’s lying to himself.

      GQ
    • Chelsea Clinton shuts down trolls who targeted Barron Trump

      Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton has spoken out in defence of Barron Trump, the US president's youngest son, after trolls targeted him with cruel memes online during the inauguration.  In a Facebook post Chelsea, who spent much of her teenage years in the spotlight while her dad Bill Clinton was president, said the 10-year-old "deserves the chance every child does-to be a kid".  But she also turned political: "Standing up for every kid also means opposing POTUS policies that hurt kids". Criticism of Barron's facial expressions and posture during the inauguration was widespread on social media, with people mocking him and calling him out for looking bored.  A Saturday Night Live writer even tweeted: "Barron will be this country's first homeschool shooter". The tweet was later deleted.  People on Facebook praised Chelsea for defending Barron while also expressing her political ideas:  BONUS: Donald Trump's inauguration address included a Bane quote ›

      Mashable
    • Protesters take control of Mexican border crossing with US

      TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Protesters took control of vehicle lanes at one of the busiest crossings on the U.S. border Sunday to oppose Mexican gasoline price hikes, waving through motorists into Mexico after Mexican authorities abandoned their posts.

      Associated Press
    • 1 dead, multiple injured San Antonio shopping mall shooting

      SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A robbery inside a San Antonio shopping mall ended with shots fired on Sunday, leaving one person who tried to intervene dead, three others shot and another two people taken to hospital with non-shooting injuries, police and fire officials said.

      Associated Press
    • Fatal plane crash at Tucson airport

      Private plane down in Arizona

      FOX News Videos
    • White House spokesman Sean Spicer defends integrity after false claims about inauguration crowd size

      Newly minted White House press secretary Sean Spicer had a tense exchange Monday in his first official briefing about whether he intends to be truthful in his job. “Will you pledge never to knowingly say something that is not factual?” ABC News’ Jon Karl asked. Spicer insisted he would never deliberately tell a lie in his capacity as White House press secretary.

      Yahoo News
    • Dwarf galaxies shed light on dark matter

      The first sighting of clustered dwarf galaxies bolsters a leading theory about how big galaxies such as our Milky Way are formed, and how dark matter binds them, researchers said Monday. Seven clusters of three-to-five galaxies are each 10 to 1,000 times smaller than the Milky Way. "We suspect these groups are gravitationally bound and thus will eventually merge to form one larger, intermediate-mass galaxy," said lead author Sabrina Stierwalt, an astrophysicist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlotteville, Virginia.

      AFP
    • 2018 BMW M4: Light Updates

      This year's evolution of the M4.

      Car and Driver
    • Good Samaritan Shot Dead While Trying to Stop Mall Robbery

      The suspect has been charged with capital murder.

      Inside Edition
    • How to Work With a Boss You Hate

      Love your job but can't stand your boss? You've got plenty of company, according to Gallup research that shows half of workers in the U.S. have quit a job at some point because they didn't like their supervisor.

      U.S.News & World Report
    • Trump makes early move on restricting abortions around the world

      By Ellen Wulfhorst NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday reinstated a global gag rule that bans U.S.-funded groups around the world from discussing abortion, a move that was widely expected but nonetheless dismayed women's rights advocates. The rule, which affects American non-governmental organizations working abroad, is one that incoming presidents have used to signal their positions on abortion rights. It was created under U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

      Reuters