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Ironman Competes for IoH

Jeff Carter attended the May 2014 Orlando Legacy Retreat® with his family.  Since his wife was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, he has taken up endurance fitness, and he paid forward his Legacy Retreat® experience by using his Florida Ironman training to promote Inheritance of Hope.  Check out this video interview:


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Life-Threatening Illnesses and Social Security Disability Benefits

Cancer or other life-threatening illnesses are devastating for those diagnosed, and their families. In addition to the enormous expenses for chemotherapy, surgeries, medication, and other aggressive treatments, many patients are not able to work and maintain a steady household income. This can cause them and their families to be placed in a very difficult financial situation.

 

Fortunately, those who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and their families may be able to receive assistance in the form of financial benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are two forms of benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


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As the Tide Rolls Out

This week, Dad took us on a vacation to Destin, Florida. The sun is shining (maybe a little too much), and the afternoon showers never fail to make an appearance. The sand is soft, and the water is refreshing. But you are missing.


Everyone who has lost someone they love may not feel the same way, but for me, when we go on vacation, I can’t help but notice that our number for dinner reservations is one shorter than it used to be. The whole family can’t be here anymore. On top of that, there has always been something about beach trips that makes me think of losing you, and I’m finally starting to understand why.


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Not Safe But Good - July 2015

We began our group discussion with the normal “ice-breaker” small talk stuff.  How long was your trip, how did you get connected with Inheritance of Hope, etc.?  It was nice; it was cordial.  One man stated that he wasn’t really into talking about these kinds of things.  He quickly “passed” the conversational ball to his wife, the one with cancer.  

 

Pretty soon, the honesty came forth... it was hard, refreshing, human.  One woman, who had been battling cancer for some time, said, “Our whole life has been changed... they put me on a table, telling me to hold my breast, and moved me around like an animal…”

 

No words of mine could make that kind of experience make sense.


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Singing Isn't Just for the Birds

6:00 a.m. The deck is shady and cool. The coffee is hot. The neighborhood is quiet except for my cardinal friend singing at the top of his tiny lungs. He is never satisfied to be in the lower part of the tree. No, only the very top of the 40-foot evergreen for him. Every morning. He is proud and beautiful and facing the sunrise as if to say, "Good morning, God. You did it again!"

 

I love listening to the birds, especially their early morning chatter, trying to figure out if there is a pattern to their song. And as I tune in (pun intended) to this friend I shall call Chirp, I am struck by the fact that... not only does he have multiple patterns, but at least three - maybe four - different songs! He never worries if he is on key or as good as those around him. Doesn't ever wonder if he even has a song on a particular day. He just sings.

 

I want that... not the treetop experience as I have a fear of heights, but his confidence... the singing and the 'being' simply because that's what God designed him to do and be.


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Cries of Pain, Cries of Hope – May 2014

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the parents on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. — Exodus 20:5-6

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? — Matthew 27:13

What else is there to say after that?  “My God! My God…”  This text appears little more than a poor picture of parenting.  Why is God absent?  Why has God forsaken his only son?  Why?  With the commandment still echoing in our minds, we wonder how this jealous God deserts a faithful son.  You and I expect


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Gaining a New Perspective on Life



One day someone asked me if I was interested in sponsoring a candle for the upcoming Relay for Life event in honor or memory of someone with cancer. Afraid to answer, I simply agreed and took the paperwork home. I asked myself, “Do I know anyone with cancer?” Nobody in my family had cancer, none of my friends had cancer, none of my friends’ family members had cancer. I didn’t know anyone with cancer. But they made it seem like I should?


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Christ's Tenacious Love - April 2013

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   – Romans 8:35, 37-39

What good news! Nothing in this life


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With Open Hands: Part 1

Kristen Milligan "With Open Hands" at 2011 NYC IOH Retreat

Kristen Milligan "With Open Hands" at 2011 NYC IOH Retreat

With Open Hands: Part 1

A few years ago I was in a book study with a few people who read the book “With Open Hands” by Henri Nouwen. I was a new mom at the time with my first son about 15 months old. He was at that “separation anxiety” stage where he clung to me every time the threat of me leaving him arose. When I started the book it was a confusing time for me with this baby boy of mine needing me so much on a daily basis, yet I was learning about having “open hands”. This normal developmental stage of course eventually passed, but while we were “in it” life was a day to day trial and error experiment of how much to let go & how much to let him cling to me.

I’m sure some of you relate to this idea of attempting to strike a balance between learning to let go & keeping loved ones close. It’s not an easy task, that I think I will struggle with possibly for my entire life, especially in regards to my little ones.


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Liveweak - September 2012

The following is part of Inheritance of Hope co-founder Kristen Milligan's Bible study series. If your church, Bible study, team, or group has interest in experiencing together this study from Kristen's unique perspective as a nine-year cancer survivor, simply contact Aaron@InheritanceOfHope.org.

I have come across many people in the past several years who talk excitedly about a very exclusive club -- the Cancer Club. There is no ID card or dues expected when you are a member of this club. There are no official meetings, no speakers, no banquets.  The only requirement to join is an unexpected and dreaded diagnosis. It is, in essence, an imaginary club with very real members. Members who are hurting and afraid.

I have always found talk about this club a bit odd. I was resistant to joining, but apparently once you qualify you have no choice.


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Peace

dont-wait-for-the-storm-to-passPeace. It does not mean being in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

How do you do that? When there are true storms pounding down on us and looming in the distance how do we remain calm in our hearts? How do we "dance in the rain"?


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Longing for More.

When clouds seem to hover...

When clouds seem to hover...

Have you ever had a season in your life (either long or short lived) when you felt like you just could not make sense of the world around you? Like everything swirling around you was just too big to grasp? Maybe you have heard a bit of bad news & then more follows. Or you get a good report at the doctor only to be followed by something else going awry a few weeks later. It could even be as simple as not understanding why your heart feels the way it does & why it hurts so badly.


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Friends

help-each-otherUSA TODAY's Nashville music critic Brian Mansfield was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 48. He now chronicles his life with the disease - and with only a small part of his colon - in a series of weekly installments.

Below is a segments from a recent article in USA Today titled My Semicolon Life: What to say to a Cancer Patient:

What's the very best thing you can hear from a friend when you've got cancer?


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One Body, Many Parts


Charis, Amy, & Adam Patwa

Charis, Amy, & Adam Patwa

A few weeks ago we returned from the May 2012 retreat in Orlando, Florida. This was a special retreat for me because it was the first time I was able to invite a family I knew personally to come on a retreat & see them be cared for & enjoy a few days together outside of their normal routine fighting cancer. Amy & Adam Patwa, & their adorable daughter Charis, attended this retreat and blessed me & so many others with their transparency & hope in the midst of a life-threatening illness. Something really amazing happens on these retreats. Staff & volunteers love families. Families love each other. Everyone ends up serving each other in some way, shape, or form... maybe without even realizing their impact.


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Celebrating 5 Years of Hope - May 2012

Like the video?  Use the tools above or below to share on Facebook, Twitter, and more!


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How Hope Helps

My grandma reading "Consider It Pure Joy" by, Kristen Milligan

My grandma reading "Consider It Pure Joy" by, Kristen Milligan just before her first biopsy for lung cancer in April

Today it is rainy outside. Here in North Carolina the pollen has finally subsided and the trees are full of green leaves. We are in the midst of spring. I was just sitting at my kitchen table with my young boys watching them eat their breakfast. They are ravenous as soon as they wake! My 3 year old asked me why it was raining. (He is in the "why" everything stage!) Over the past six months I have been reading a book that I cannot seem to put down. Clearly it is teaching me old truths with new perspective that are enticing. So trying to put together some logical answer for why indeed it was raining outside, while still trying to wake up at this early hour, all I could come up with was this: "honey, God lets it rain so that things around us can be more beautiful". You know what followed that... "but why mommy?"  I smiled.

Why does it rain in our lives? Sometimes it just sprinkles. We find out news that could lead to worse news. Sometimes it pours. We feel like the whole world is beginning to fall apart around us. Sometimes it floods. We feel like we may drown in it all.


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Joy and Peace Through Suffering - March 2012


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He is My Strength - November 2011

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

Psalm 28:7

In January, I began training for the 2011 Marine Corp Marathon.  I had exactly ten months to prepare myself to finish 26.2 miles in less than seven hours.  I worried from day one.  I had spent the previous months recovering from a brutal surgery where doctors removed cancerous tumors from my chest cavity, the lining of my heart, my lungs, my diaphragm, and my esophagus. 


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My Reasons for Starting Inheritance of Hope

Kristen Milligan, co-founder of Inheritance of Hope, will complete the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. this Sunday - although not the way she planned …


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Blessed by Cancer - September 2011

Two years ago, my four boys ages 8-15 knew nothing about cancer.  The oldest 3 had been to Haiti numerous times and had begun at young ages to grasp poverty, political corruption, and the need to work for change, but they were unfamiliar with cancer.  Little did I know that our family was going to be blessed by cancer.


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