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Divine Visitor - November 2016

This post was originally shared by Inheritance of Hope co-founder Kristen Milligan in November of 2010.  As we prepare for our largest New York City Legacy Retreat® yet (21 families), we look back at her reflections from the first Legacy Retreat® there.

 

"They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.”  -- Daniel 3:27

 

As I write this devotional, Inheritance of Hope is hosting its first Legacy Retreat® in New York City.  My prayer is that the seven families gathered there are being blessed with memories, community, and support, just as my life has been changed by these blessings at previous Legacy Retreats®.  This is the first Legacy Retreat® which I have not attended, and my heart hurts to miss meeting the families God has brought together this weekend.  Instead I am home recovering from a difficult surgery, feeling broken and useless despite wonderful family support and an ever-patient and encouraging husband.  I know those of you who have battled illness and the inevitable treatments know what I am feeling.


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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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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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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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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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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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CBS’s "Blue Bloods" Associate Producer to Lend a Hand for Hope (again!)

The Gran Fondo New York is a grueling 98.54-mile bike ride with maximum grades of 18% and elevations reaching up to 1,279 feet. Racers must be extremely fit and endure months of arduous training in preparation for the event. Shannon Fogarty completed the race in May 2015 in support of Inheritance of Hope. He raised over $15,000 – enough to send three families to the NYC Legacy Retreat® in November!

 

As a native New Yorker, Shannon stopped by last month’s NYC Legacy Retreat® to let us know he has a bigger goal this year. He wants complete the race in 7 hours or less (down from last year’s 8 hours, 25 minutes). He also wants to continue to pay it forward. Shannon would like to assemble a cycling team and has set a goal of raising $20,000 for Inheritance of Hope – enough to send four more families to an Orlando Legacy Retreat® in 2016, the same opportunity he and his family experienced in 2011.


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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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A God Thing - June 2015

It’s funny how this life works. Every once in a while, I get thrown an opportunity I’m not sure I deserve. Every once in a while, I receive a ridiculous opportunity to meet people who touch my life forever. I don’t claim to “get” this, but I am ever so thankful. And so was the  Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat® weekend.

 

On May 22nd, I embarked on my first IoH retreat.   To be honest, I was a bit freaked out. I was asked to be a counselor. Yeah, like the kind that, on her best day, may offer WISDOM to people. I was asked to help guide a group of 8 couples, each of whom was facing a life-threatening illness… each of whom had absolutely been through the medical, relationship, and spiritual ringers… each of whom had at least one young child, just a couple rooms down the hall.


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Family Spotlight: Shannon Fogarty

The Gran Fondo New York is a grueling 98.54-mile bike ride with maximum grades of 18% and elevations reaching up to 1,279 feet. Racers must be extremely fit and endure months of arduous training in preparation for the event. Shannon Fogarty is ready, both physically and mentally. On May 17th, he will take on the challenge of the Gran Fondo in support of Inheritance of Hope.

 

He wasn’t always a biker, but in the past few years Shannon has lost 100 pounds and changed his lifestyle to become healthier. A bike that once just sat in the garage now logs up to 90 miles each weekend and a few more during the course of each week. It shares space and road time with a professional Cannondale racing bike. Arguably, Shannon, like the other racers, is in the best shape of his life. He also has an inoperable brain tumor. He is riding not just in spite of it, but because of it.


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Choosing to Get Wet

We all love the sunshine. We hope and pray for clear, blue skies.


 
Unfortunately, sometimes it rains.


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Family Spotlight: Tayler Chandler

“Inspiring” is the word mentioned over and over by coaches, teammates, reporters, and friends, who all say that Tayler Chandler’s work ethic, perseverance, and cheerful disposition permeate everything she does. The Columbus Indiana East High School senior has been widely recognized as a top volleyball player, but Tayler is a standout both on and off the court.

 

Tayler’s mother, Chena, was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2011. During her illness, Chena and her husband, Chris, modeled strength and faith to their three children: Tayler, McKenna, and Seth. In spite of cancer, Chena remained optimistic and was very present in each moment--going to every sporting event her children participated in that she physically could attend. Chena passed away on July 21, 2014. Her legacy is remembered and honored by her family, as they continue to love each other, be present, and maintain a strong faith.


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Meet the Barnhart Family

I had never heard of a Legacy Retreat® or Inheritance of Hope (IoH) until my daughter, Emma Barnhart, told me about it – how her family had been nominated to be a part of one of those retreats and how excited she was about Inheritance of Hope’s purpose and mission statement. They exist solely to honor families where one parent has a life-threatening illness. And in that honoring, they also offer fun, support, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and assistance in leaving a legacy.
 
“Every person deserves a legacy,” Emma said, “even if it’s a story of an excitedly terrifying ride on a roller coaster! How cool is that?”

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Donor Spotlight: Mike Barrett

Each year, Inheritance of Hope awards a well-deserving college-bound senior with the Legacy Scholarship. These scholarship recipients all share one thing in common: they all have a parent with a life-threatening illness.
 
Mike Barrett and his wife, Catherine, have generously funded the Legacy Scholarship for the past several years. Mike met IoH founders Deric and Kristen Milligan by chance when Deric and Mike were both studying in Australia. At that time IoH was in its early stages, but the business plan appealed to Mike. 
 
“I knew, from my own personal experience, that it addressed an unmet need--that of finding a positive and life-affirming way for easing the pain associated with the impending loss of a loved one.”
 
Here, Mike describes why their gift has been a positive and life-affirming choice for his family.

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Board Spotlight: Richard Birney

Click here to see how!Richard Birney has served on the Inheritance of Hope (IoH) Board of Directors for over five years.  He has been an integral part of the organization for even longer.
 
Richard and his wife Peggy first met IoH founders Deric and Kristen Milligan in the pews of Fishkill Baptist Church.  Richard remembers, “They sat on the row in front of us.  I could tell they were both nice and we invited them to lunch.  That started the whole thing.  And it’s still all about relationships.”

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Team Spotlight: Teresa Meier

As an endurance athlete, Teresa Meier knows a thing or two about perseverance. And as an oncology pharmacist, she is familiar with the effects of cancer.  Those two roles have helped make her a champion of Inheritance of Hope (IoH) and strengthened her conviction that leaving a legacy is one thing cancer cannot take away from anyone.
 
“Raising money for research is very important. But what I love about IoH is that they make an impact on families TODAY. IoH focuses on developing a legacy, living right now and creating memories. Those are things that cancer cannot take away from you.”

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Meet the Reese Family

Paul Reese and his family live in Mississippi, but lately he hasn't been home very often.
 
Paul makes regular visits to his oncologist in Little Rock, Arkansas. His wife, Cheryl, started training with a ministry in Missouri. And in May the Reeses attended an Inheritance of Hope (IoH) Legacy Retreat® in Orlando.
 
“This has been one of the most unusual summers of my life,” Paul said. “I have probably spent more time away from home than at home.”

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Meet the Allen Family

Rawd Allen was first diagnosed with brain cancer in 1994, but February 2014 happened to be the opportune time to attend an Inheritance of Hope (IoH) Legacy Retreat®.

 
Rawd's last tumor surgery was 10 years ago, when his children, Nathan and Jordan, were very young.  Besides a seizure, Rawd’s wife, Jan, said her kids saw very little of Rawd’s illness.  However, doctors noticed spots during a routine check-up late last year.  The Allens were preparing for Rawd to resume treatment when they received an opportunity to go to Disney World with Inheritance of Hope.

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Submission - August 2014

In our world today, submission is almost universally viewed as a negative quality.  However, submission, when understood in the context of Jesus’s life, is a beautiful and freeing concept. 
 
In Mark 8:34-35, Jesus tells his disciples that “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me; for whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it.”  Clearly Jesus was teaching his disciples, and us, that self-denial is the path we are to follow.  It is the path that Jesus followed during his life and his death on the cross.  Submission leads to freedom.  It is the freedom of not always needing to get our own way.  When we learn to live that submissive lifestyle, our happiness is not dependent upon getting what we want.

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