Volunteer Lara with Legacy Retreat family member.
Inheritance of Hope has been blessed by many incredibly passionate and dedicated volunteers. In fact, Inheritance of Hope’s mission of inspiring hope in young families facing the loss of a parent cannot be realized without them! Our “Volunteer Spotlight” series is a way to celebrate these most selfless members of our Inheritance of Hope family.
How did you learn of Inheritance of Hope (IoH)?
I was introduced to Inheritance of Hope through my boyfriend, Allen Milligan. His aunt and uncle, Kristen and Deric Milligan, are the co-founders of IoH.
What inspired you to join the IoH family?
Before I actually met Kristen, I learned that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was told about Kristen’s books, IoH, and her ever-present joy for life (I encourage you to watch this video to see for yourself: http://youtu.be/GoHl9XZSVQk ). When I finally met Kristen, I was instantly inspired by her courage and caring nature. It wasn’t long after that I was eager to get involved with IoH. Now, seven retreats (the eighth is coming this May!), I can’t help but continue to serve these families and be astonished by the impact IoH has on everyone involved with their organization.
In addition to your volunteer efforts, you also support IoH by joining Team IoH, a collection of athletes who participate in endurance events to raise awareness of IoH’s unique mission. Can you speak to the experience?
In 2011, I volunteered for Team IoH by serving as a supporter and photographer at the Disney Marathon. As I anxiously awaited the opportunity to spot an IoH t-shirt among the sea of runners for a five-second opportunity to score a photo and shout “Go Team IoH,” I quickly realized I was being called to run a race of my own. A few months later I signed up for the Disney Marathon. One year after Disney, guess where I found myself? Registering for another Team IoH race, but this time I only went for a half marathon. Much of my motivation came from thinking about the families IoH serves and what I was representing as a runner for Team IoH.
Training for these races is not an easy task, it takes time, dedication, motivation, determination and the list goes on. When I didn’t feel at all like running, but my training schedule said I should run, I ran. These were the days I felt like I had a ton of bricks on my back, the miles were the longest miles ever, and the only thought on my mind is “can this be over already?” While these days were rough, they were the days I felt I could most relate to the experiences of families with a parent who has a terminal illness, and that is what kept me going.
How has your involvement with IoH impacted you personally?
With Kristen’s passing on October 26, 2012, the Legacy Retreats® have so much more meaning to me and all of the volunteers. While her death was hard, these retreats have prepared me to cope even as a volunteer. I am beyond grateful and honored to have the opportunity to be a part of her legacy and continue to serve these families.