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How I Dealt With Death at a Young Age

There’s something about childhood that, even in old age, people find reassuring. The nostalgia and sweet memories of looking back at a simpler time in your life are priceless, and remain treasures for a lifetime. So, often times, when people imagine a 12-year-old spending her entire young life watching her Mom battle cancer, the first thought is one of sadness and sympathy. I admit, such a reaction likely would have been my initial one as well, except that when I reflect on my childhood, doom and gloom weren’t major characters, despite my Mom’s liver cancer. Although there were certainly sad times, they were fewer than many seem to think. Perhaps I am too far removed from my own life’s experience (my Mom died a little over five years ago), but as I reminisce now it seems to me that there was far more joy in my childhood than even I might have expected.

 

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Fun Facts About IoH’s New Tech Manager, Dillon Padgett

Favorite TV show: Fresh Prince of Bel Air (favorite actor: Will Smith!)

 

Favorite board game: Settlers of Catan

 

States I've been to, in the past 2 years: Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, New York, Colorado, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio. (Bonus: Banff, Alberta, CA)

 

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Meet Dillon Padgett, Our New Technology Manager

Dillon Padgett, veteran Legacy Retreat volunteer, has recently joined the Inheritance of Hope team in a staff role.

 

The self-described first-time “accidental volunteer” has now logged six retreats. His introduction to serving at Legacy Retreats was in the Spring of 2015, when a visit to his sister was interrupted by the funeral of a close family friend. The siblings detoured by Orlando on their way to the service in West Palm Beach, and Dillon told IoH Co-Founder and CEO Deric Milligan, “use me if you can.” Deric did just that, immediately plugging Dillon into the team of volunteers.

 

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Kendra Scott Gives Back and Inspires Hope in a Meaningful Way

Taylor Ethridge pauses as she thinks over a question. The Community Outreach and Event Planner for Kendra Scott Orlando is being interviewed about her recent experience volunteering at an Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat®. She is not getting off easy, “Can you explain more about how you were forever changed?” she is asked.

 

Taylor considers her words carefully but chooses one, “Hope.”

 

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Following God

When God dwelled over the tabernacle in Numbers 9:15-23, the Israelites “obeyed the Lord’s order.” When the cloud lifted, they broke camp and set out. When the cloud remained, they stayed put and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud remained over the tabernacle for a long time, and the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. “Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle for just a few days, and at the Lord’s command they would encamp and then at his command they would set out.” (v. 20)

 

I can’t help but imagine the logistics of this flexibility on the part of the Israelites. As a mom with 4 children, I think about all that goes into packing for a trip. Each member of my family has items they need: clothes, shoes, food, blankets, etc. It is stressful packing and managing the items needed for a family going on a trip, so I can’t even begin to imagine when the packing and planning involved everything families own, including livestock and food preparation material and seed and grain. If I knew the date and time that this move was going to take place it would be hard enough, but to set up camp, my home, without any clue how long we would be staying would be so difficult.

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Rebecca Milligan organizes her first fundraiser for IoH

The baby in our logo is all grown up.

 

The 3 Milligan Children Inheritance of Hope Logo
The “o” in hope is based on a photo of the Milligan children

 

Most of us in the Inheritance of Hope family are familiar with Rebecca Milligan, the youngest child of Co-Founders Deric and Kristen Milligan. Just seven months old when her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Rebecca, now almost 16, has grown up with the organization. A picture of the three Milligan children was the inspiration for our logo, and the smallest child on the right was created with the likeness of Rebecca in mind.

 

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Meet our new Communications Manager

Angie Howell first volunteered for Inheritance of Hope in 2012 and has been involved ever since. “Like most volunteers,” she says, “I knew I would come back!”

 

Angie was introduced to IoH by her former Davidson College classmate, Co-Founder Kristen Milligan. Kristen and Angie were on the same freshman hall in 1991-1992. The two did not keep in touch after graduation, but at a fifteen-year reunion, Angie happened to hear Kristen’s name during a prayer.

 

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Newly appointed COO has had “his hands” in the mission of Inheritance of Hope since the beginning

Since 2008, Aaron Hedges has been part of Inheritance of Hope in one way or another--working at retreats, administering technology systems, managing human resources, and much more. The former double major in math and Spanish clearly has a unique set of skills, ones that are critically valuable to IoH.

 

Aaron at a recent Legacy Retreat in Orlando, Florida
Aaron at a recent Legacy Retreat in Orlando, Florida

 

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Southwest Airlines “luvs” on families facing terminal illness

Recently, Southwest Airlines donated 50 round-trip tickets, valued at $20,000, to Inheritance of Hope. This gift allows us to serve more families while meeting the goals of achieving unparalleled financial stewardship and providing ease of transportation to those for whom travelling is often most difficult.

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Here I am, Lord

John and I were married March 12th, 2009.  Less than five years later, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, something we certainly hadn’t planned for or wanted at the time.  However, because of ALS, we were introduced to Inheritance of Hope and received the great gift of a Legacy Retreat.  Less than two years after our retreat, though, on March 26th of 2016, John passed away. 

 

Since his death, I have loved serving other IoH families, and at the May 2017 Legacy Retreat, I met Tom, another volunteer.  He came on the first retreat in 2008 with his family, and his wife Shannon passed away shortly after.  He, too, understood terminal illness, the loss of a spouse, and single parenting grieving children.  He, too, had experienced a failed marriage as a result of not following Christ.  He, too, had two boys with complicated pasts, and the older with behavioral struggles.  And, he also lived in the Carolinas, but he lived in the wrong one.  Though only a little over an hour away, he lived near the lakes of upstate South Carolina, whereas my home was in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina.  To say this difference was a concern would be a great understatement.

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