Fourteen-year-old Ethan Harned would prefer that attention be on Inheritance of Hope (IoH) instead of on himself, but his is a story that needs to be told. Ethan has raised $526 by selling wristbands, and the seed money came entirely out of his own savings. Most adults who hear about his initiative are surprised and ask what led him to use his own money. Ethan’s reaction is surprise too—that more people are not doing what he has done.
We typically think of resting and recharging as getting away or going on vacation. I’m the CEO of an organization that focuses its events around retreats, so I hear exhales of relief all the time. One of my favorite examples is an African-American woman from the Atlanta area who attended one of our Legacy Retreats® in New York City. She had never even been on an airplane. At one point, her volunteer, a burly man in his twenties, was pushing her in a wheelchair through Times Square. It started to rain and he thought, “This is a disaster.” At precisely that moment, this terminally ill woman looked back at him and said, “This is the best day of my life.” I love being able to provide the best day of people’s lives even when they are facing death.
We all need love to thrive, and when you’ve found the love of your life, it’s hard to imagine losing that person. While we know that everything precious has an end point, it can be a difficult reality to face head on. This can be even more difficult when you’re facing the loss in a young family.
We’d rather live in the clouds and float away from the haze of despair, but darkness has a way of slithering in and smothering the fragility of peace. Losing one’s spouse is a devastating burden that can wrench a family apart. In the event of a terminal illness, it’s important to make preparations so that your loved ones can support each other as much as possible after the inevitable.
It’s been said that the saddest thing about death is not the actual end of life itself, but leaving your loved ones behind and creating the reality of not being able to spend time with you anymore. Needless to say, death is always hard to accept, even if we’re all aware that it is a natural occurrence. The only thing you could do to ensure that your loved ones' grief and pain would be somehow appeased after you’re gone is to prepare something that would remind them of you fondly – your legacy, so to speak.
In today’s society, technology has become intertwined in people’s lives, so much so that it’s now also considered an instrument for dealing with instances such as death. The manner for leaving your legacy and final wishes is not just through paper these days but also via digital tools.
We are all searching for something to hold onto. An anchor, a solid foundation to steady us when the storms of life threaten our ability to hold on. Sure it’s easier to lessen our grip when we experience long stretches of days overflowing with abundance and nights filled with restorative sleep. Jesus reminds me daily to hold onto Him, the only true hope as I live out his purpose until I am called to my true home.
I am a licensed counselor, and in my practice I have been called to stand daily on holy ground as I minister to God’s sons and daughters. I am humbled and privileged to bear the weight of their pain as each one shares his or her need for Hope. Oh how the storms of life can test our faith and crush our hope.
Meet Aaron Hedges, Inheritance of Hope’s Technology and Talent Director. He excels in both matters of the head and the heart while serving our IoH family, a role that brings him true joy. We are fortunate to enjoy his leadership on staff. Our CEO says he can truly figure anything out.
To speak of hope implies that there is a problem. If there were no problems, there would be no need for hope. The problem that generates our particular mission of hope was stated with remarkable simplicity and power recently by a young lady named Makenna Wehe, a Legacy Scholarship winner. This 18-year-old girl really struck me with her articulation of the kind of hope-needing situation Inheritance of Hope serves. I encourage you to watch her say it herself, but these are her words, talking about her mom:
“We had to replace her entire spine with synthetic bone… she hasn’t really been the same since… Over Mother’s Day weekend we found 4 more tumors scattered up and down her spine… It caused us to appreciate the time that we have with each other… Cancer just tears at you and tears you apart, and when your family’s afraid to be vulnerable with each other, it’s like a wedge between you and your relationships… I’m just afraid of losing my mom; I’m afraid that she’s gonna die. I think there’s a childish fear, a child that still lives within me that is still really afraid – it’s a little girl afraid to lose her mommy.”
Chris Douglas wants to talk about silver linings. He can share a list of them with ease if you mention his upcoming half marathon at Soldiers Field in Rochester, Minnesota. Chris is competing in the Nut House Challenge by Triton Events next weekend with the Inheritance of Hope (IoH) team in a unique way.
Lauren Latimer is one of two 2017 Inheritance of Hope Legacy Scholarship recipients. The scholarship is awarded to a college-bound high school senior who is living with a terminally ill parent and who demonstrates a compelling personal and financial need, a strong sense of family, and collegiate promise. Lauren grew up in Lakeland, FL and will attend University of Florida in the fall. Learn more about this scholarship winner!
Emily Harris is one of two 2017 Inheritance of Hope Legacy Scholarship recipients. The scholarship is awarded to a college-bound high school senior who is living with a terminally ill parent and who demonstrates a compelling personal and financial need, a strong sense of family, and collegiate promise. Emily grew up in Rochester, MN, and will attend Cedarville University in Ohio in the fall. Learn more about this scholarship winner!