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February 2017 Orlando Legacy Retreat® Recap

For the first time ever, Inheritance of Hope families enjoyed an Orlando Legacy Retreat® in the luxurious accommodations of Embassy Suites by Hilton. On Feb. 24-27, 8 families from across the country had fun with 2 days at Universal Studios and a day at SeaWorld. Beyond the memories, they gained community, tools, and hope to navigate the challenges of a parent's terminal illness. 

 

Check out these links see pictures and videos!


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November 2016 NYC Legacy Retreat® Recap

The November 2016 NYC Legacy Retreat® was our largest retreat yet in New York! 21 families braved cold and windy conditions to make priceless memories and begin forming lasting legacies. This event also marked the 25th Legacy Retreat® in our history.

 

Check out these links to see pictures and videos!


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Times Square Countdown

When most people think about a Times Square countdown, they think of a giant ball being lowered from a tall pole in the center of New York City while millions of people count down to a new year. 

 

Confetti. Music. Celebration.   

 

Well, Inheritance of Hope is about to begin a Times Square countdown of our own, and we are going to focus on lifting the burdens and lightening the loads of 21 families from all over the country who have young children facing the loss of a parent.


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October 2016 Orlando Legacy Retreat® Recap

Not even a hurricane could stop 17 families from enjoying our Orlando Legacy Retreat® on Oct. 8-11! Thanks to a team of dedicated and adaptable volunteers and the above-and-beyond hospitality of the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando - Disney Springs Area, families relaxed, made priceless memories, formed strong friendships, and began creating hope-filled legacies.

 

Check out these links see pictures and videos!


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Storm Chasers - October 2016

Hurricane Matthew is quickly approaching Florida’s east coast, and a bunch of hope-inspirers are leaving their comfortable homes and flying, driving, swimming their way to Orlando to serve 19 families facing storms much bigger than this hurricane.

 

These families have been counting down the days until their Legacy Retreat, and no hurricane is going to spoil this priceless experience for them.


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Marriage Vows - September 2016

Carrey, a wife and mom with ALS, originally shared this post here on August 4th.

 

On this day 15 years ago, Eric and I vowed to unite as one. We joined at the altar in a small, white, Little-House-on-the-Prairie-type chapel. We stood side by side, no bridesmaids or groomsmen, no fancy flowers, no fancy musicians. My dad did all the readings, Eric's dad officiated the ceremony, and we filled the little chapel with our family and closest friends. Having Eric by my side made it a real dream wedding. As we stood at the altar and shared our vows, it would take almost 15 years to fully understand the commitment he made to me.

 

Carrey and Eric in 2001
Carrey and Eric in 2001

 

"I will love you forever, and under all circumstances.
I will stand by your side always.
I will have faith in you and encourage you in everything you do.
I will be here to listen to you, to laugh with you, and to hold you.
I will strive every day to make our relationship stronger.
I will love you, honor you, respect you, encourage you, and cherish you, in health and in sickness, through sorrow and success, for all the days in my life."

 

What that meant was:

 

I will enjoy all of our friends and family with you, socializing, meeting new people, tailgating, and going to our favorite restaurant with you.
I will join you as your doubles partner in tennis and snow ski down the mountain with you.
I will support you leaving the work force to raise our children as you support me as my career developed.
I will be the behind-the-scenes guy for all of your party planning adventures.
I will support you with all your volunteer work.
I will give you free reign to decorate our home just the way you want it.
I will travel around the United States for all of your doctors' appointments.
I will remodel our home to make it accessible for you.
I will bathe you, wash your hair, and shave your legs.
I will scratch your head and eyebrows every time they itch.


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Volunteer Spotlight: Nate Most

Repeat volunteer Nate Most first heard of Inheritance of Hope at a small tractor dealership in his hometown of Brady, Nebraska.  A rancher, Nate was simply doing business and was surprised when a stranger who had come in for oil approached him and told about how his own family had been blessed by an IoH Legacy Retreat®.  The story resonated with Nate since his wife of 25 years, Amy, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.


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Introducing Betsy Ogren, Events Director

I grew up in Brainerd, MN, at a small family resort where I learned to clean cabins at a very early age and got to play in the lake all summer.  I come from a family of swimmers and was a competitive swimmer form 3rd grade through college at St. Olaf in Northfield, MN.  I got a biology degree from St. Olaf and then changed directions and went to Luther Seminary in St. Paul for my master's degree in youth and family ministry.  I worked in youth ministry for 5 years before spending the last 12 years as a stay-at-home mom to our 3 kids: Anna (12), Andrew (11), and Julia (9).  My husband, Brian, and I recently celebrated our 15th anniversary.  We live in Rochester, MN, where I spend much of my day driving my own little swimmers to the pool for practice. 

 

How did you become involved with IoH?


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5 Things You Need to Know: Rebecca Dix

 

5 Things You May Not Know About Our Assistant Events Director

 

1. Currently I live in Houghton, NY.  My family has been here for three generations, and being back after spending most of high school and college here has been good.  My grandfather is happy to have me back in town!


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Family Spotlight: Crawford and Loner Families

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If they stumble, the first will lift up his friend—but woe to anyone who is alone when he falls and there is no one to help him get up.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 

One of the goals of Inheritance of Hope (IoH) is to connect families. Families who are grieving a life-changing diagnosis, struggling with fears, and facing new realities draw strength from each other as they share experiences and burdens.  Through IoH, new friendships are often formed that offer a depth of understanding many families can’t find elsewhere.

 

The support that is shared is sometimes intangible and immeasurable, yet always tremendous. Sometimes, the support may be tangible yet also tremendously immeasurable, as was the case when Heather Crawford donated a wheelchair van to fellow IoH family Craig and Dana Loner.


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Volunteer Spotlight: Haylee Bunner

Haylee Bunner turned in her Inheritance of Hope volunteer application as soon as she could--the very day she turned 18. She had been waiting for the chance to serve families like hers for quite some time. Haylee, her brother Cameron, and their parents Matthew and Kim attended an Orlando Legacy Retreat® in May 2012. Kim passed away a little over a year later.

 

“I knew that volunteering was something my mom would have done had she been healed.“  Haylee describes Kim as someone who loved to help other people. “To know that her death gave me the ability to understand much of what these families are going through would have given her peace.”


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Family Spotlight: Strebe Family

Strebe Family at Their Legacy Retreat®
Strebe Family at their Legacy Retreat®

The Strebe family—Jon, Donna, Luke, Ryan, and Emma Kate—attended an Orlando Legacy Retreat® in February 2014, shortly after Jon underwent a bone marrow transplant and thoracic surgery. At the time, he was battling stage 3 testicular cancer metastases to the lungs.  Donna remembers that the trip to Orlando came at a very emotional time.

 

“It had been a tough year, and the volunteers served from the bottom of their souls and blessed us. We said from that point forward we would serve as long as we were able.”


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Paying it Forward

Thanks to your continued support, Inheritance of Hope reached a new milestone at the Orlando Legacy Retreat® in January - it marked our 300th family served!

 

The retreat also marked another record - 12 family members served returned as volunteers!


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IoH Miracle on 34th Street

The NYC 2015 New York City Legacy Retreat® was a spectacular success! 18 families came to New York City and made memories together, laughed together, gleaned useful insights to help their families, and were inspired to leave lasting legacies. These things, in and of themselves, are not miracles. But, there were plenty of miracles dispersed among the streets of Manhattan as these families spent 4 days there.


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Volunteer Spotlight: Nick Davis

How did you learn about Inheritance of Hope (IoH)?
 
My brother, Michael, had discovered IoH while searching for a charity to run for in a marathon.  IoH instantly found a place in his heart, and he has since served on several Legacy Retreats®.
 
What made you decide to volunteer?
 
When my brother began to tell me about IoH, I felt a strong connection as we had lost our father, Allen Davis, when we were teenagers.  As Michael went on to serve on several retreats and my mother, Cheryl, got involved, the connection was too strong to ignore.  Living a couple hours away put to rest all the excuses of being too busy, and it was time to dive in head-first. 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Gabriella and Meredith Padgett

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. The Padgett sisters, Gabriella and Meredith, are great examples, serving at 5 Legacy Retreats® each.

How did you become involved with Inheritance of Hope (IoH)? 

Deric Milligan is our uncle so we have always known about Inheritance of Hope and have watched it grow. Before the May 2012 Legacy Retreat®


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Volunteer Spotlight: Anna Conti

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.

A Legacy’s Life-Changing Impact

I still remember that day. It was just a typical September afternoon with no cares in the world. Then came the news…

My dad came home from a regular eye check-up that turned out to be anything but normal. His optometrist found tumors wrapped around both of my dad’s eyes


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Volunteer Spotlight: Lara Miller

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.


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More Life

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Kristen Milligan passed away  one year ago tomorrow. She was a truly amazing person and my very best friend. One of her favorite verses is found in James 1:2-4 and she referenced it often in her speaking engagements, books, and daily life. This is what it says in the modern day Message translation of the bible:

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."


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Waiting is Hard

Have you ever had told your kids you are going to be doing something really fun a few weeks or maybe months too soon?

If so you have been plagued with the constant questions:

"Is it time yet?"

"How many more days?"

"Are we there yet?"


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