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Faces of Holley Day: Andrea Albanese receives a Kendra Scott gift that raises spirits and funds for IoH

As a young widow raising five children, Andrea Albanese wants her late husband Jim to be remembered and acknowledged. “Culturally, we are afraid of grief and afraid to say the name of the person who passed away,” she laments.  “People might drop off a casserole and run. But, I would say to please talk about my husband with my kids. They want to hear about their father. He is still part of our lives.”   

 

And that is exactly why a special gift created just for Andrea made such an impression on her last October. 

 

Andrea and Jim shortly before he passed away
Andrea and Jim shortly before he passed away
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Who is Holley Kitchen?

  

How can I make a memory with my kids today that will last them a lifetime?

 

Of all the things Holley Kitchen wanted to be—wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend—the role she is most widely known for is something no one wants to be: the face of metastatic breast cancer. Like most true heroes, Holley was an ordinary woman facing extraordinary circumstances. How she soared beyond those confines will forever define her as a champion of this disease. 

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Things for Bryson & Colby to know about their mom

Holley Kitchen battled metastatic breast cancer before losing her fight in 2016. She put her family first. She adored her two sons, Bryson and Colby, and made the most of her time with them. She learned to live intentionally and inspired those around her to do the same. Holley’s sister and friends share some things for the boys to know about who their mom was.

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Holley Kitchen's 3 Things

Inheritance of Hope spoke with two of Holley Kitchen’s sisters, Missy Hobbs and Teri Larcom. They shared with us three pieces of advice based on how Holley lived out her last months. Holley battled metastatic breast cancer and passed away in January 2016. She serves on as a champion for researching a cure and building an intentional legacy. We celebrate her on "Holley Day", October 13. 

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Faces of Holley Day: Tarah Harvey shares her Kendra Scott-sponsored Legacy Retreat® experience

Tarah Harvey doesn’t beat around the bush, “I have metastatic breast cancer and know I am terminal.” In January 2018, Tarah, her husband Sam, and their children Hannah and Braxton were one of ten families sponsored by Kendra Scott on an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando.  The all-expenses-paid trip, solely for young families affected by metastatic breast cancer, offered participants the chance to make precious memories together, meet others facing the same challenges, and take home tools to help navigate this difficult time in their lives.
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Faces of Holley Day: Jen Roett discovers IoH through Kendra Scott

When Jen Roett saw Kendra Scott’s metastatic breast cancer necklace charm set on Instagram, “I was like, ‘done!’” she raves, “And I bought it as soon as it came out.”  One-year-old daughter Kennedy loved it as much as mom, and when she reached in to get a closer look, pulled the necklace right off Jen’s neck.

 

Jen went to the Kendra Scott website to find out how she could get her brand-new jewelry repaired, stumbled upon the relationship between Kendra Scott and Inheritance of Hope, and she says, “I began hysterically sobbing, I was so moved.”  The very next day, Jen signed up to volunteer on the February 2019 Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando, which was sponsored by Kendra Scott, for families affected by metastatic breast cancer.   

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Faces of Holley Day: Sham Daniel Inspires Hope on October 13th

Within a few minutes of meeting each other, Sham Daniel and Holley Kitchen knew they would be great friends.  Sham remembers, “You know how you just instantly recognize people you will connect with? Well, that was Holley.”   The two met on an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando in May 2015, just eight short months before Holley passed away from metastatic breast cancer.

 

Precious family memories made at Disney
Precious family memories made at Disney
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Faces of Holley Day: Lisa Lyon describes the importance of her family’s Kendra Scott-sponsored Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ

When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at 28 years old with three very young children, the only thing I ever thought about or wanted was to make meaningful and fun memories with my children and husband that were full of joy. During my year of very hard cancer treatment, I would sit in the infusion chair and think “all I want to do is be with my kids.” It felt impossible to ever think I would be able to go to Orlando with my family. The Legacy RetreatⓇ was a dream come true for me, my husband, and our three kids. We spent that time focused on each other…not scary cancer, not worrying about money or all the other hard things cancer brings on for a young metastatic breast cancer patient. We had the most wonderful and magical time. When I think about our retreat, those who served us, and everyone that made it possible for our family to be there, it makes me cry and feel so much gratitude for angels on earth.

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Choosing Joy Amidst Great Loss

Aisha Thomas is choosing joy, just weeks after her husband Brad passed away. How is she doing it?  Here she shares her tips, advice, and daily routines for faith-keeping and faith-building in a time that could feel hopeless.

 

I know God’s love is real because I could not get out of bed on my own.  They don’t tell you this: you wake up and it takes a couple of seconds. You think you are still in your old life.  If it were just Aisha, I would be lying in bed all day, but because of what the love of Jesus gives us, I’m able to turn over the covers.  I also feel him through my kids, my mother, through friends reaching out, and my church. When I put the title of “widow” on, I just want to go to the corner, huddle and say, “this is my life.”  But God stretches me to let them love me and for me to love them back.

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Choosing Joy

Just a few weeks into life without her husband Brad, Aisha Thomas has made one thing clear--she is choosing joy and gratitude.  The two are inextricably linked, and for Aisha, one begets the other. In continuing the family’s practice of gratitude, which the family does indeed practice every day, Aisha acknowledges what she is thankful for, and she acknowledges more than most people.  The mom of three and school principal admits it’s not easy, “I will say, it is the hardest time of joy-choosing. With kids, it is not necessarily hard to find it, but it is hard to choose it.” 

 

The Thomas family--all smiles on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ
The Thomas family--all smiles on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ
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