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Faces of Holley Day: Metastatic breast cancer patients reciprocate love through Inheritance of Hope and Kendra Scott

Faces of Holley Day: Metastatic breast cancer patients reciprocate love through Inheritance of Hope and Kendra Scott
First posted on January 22, 2019 in advance of the Kendra Scott-sponsored Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ. We celebrate these amazing women and their commitment to give back! When asked why she gives her time to Inheritance of Hope, Dionna Koval ...
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Faces of Holley Day: Erica Chase-Salerno on the impact of her family’s Kendra Scott-sponsored Legacy RetreatⓇ

Erica Chase-Salerno was a gifted writer who graciously shared her thoughts and words with the larger Inheritance of Hope family.  Erica attended the January 2018 IoH retreat, and wrote this for us the following October, in celebration of Holley Day. Erica passed away in February 2019, and we are honored to continue sharing her legacy.

 

Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.

And go on an IoH retreat. Or help another family go.

Because this is an organization that walks the talk, excels at creating legacy experiences, and “gets it” about cancer challenges for families.

 

Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ presented by Kendra Scott
Welcome to the IoH Family!
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God Created Me, To Do Hard Things

Recently, my family and I went on a trip up to our favorite place, Hume Lake. It’s a beautiful lake, in Sequoia National Park, and it’s where Brian and I met as campers one summer, so it holds a special place in our hearts. My middlest -- as she likes to call herself -- Charlotte, really wanted a milkshake. Not just a portion, an entire milkshake to herself. Now, these are HUGE milkshakes. And, we don’t really give our kids sugar, so this was a giant ask. So, like any kind parent would do, I gave her a giant goal, thinking that, surely, she wouldn’t actually complete it.

 

The giant goal: run the lake without stopping. A few things to keep in mind: we are at 5,500 feet elevation, running the lake is a 5k, and she’s 7. “No problem, Mom. I got it.” That is what she tells me.

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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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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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Tyler Emmerd Speaks up for Inheritance of Hope

Over the summer, fourteen-year-old Tyler Emmerd chose to focus on Inheritance of Hope for a speech that he gave to 30 of his peers--well, if you can call seniors peers to an incoming high school freshman!   Tyler admits to some serious nerves before taking this required class, but he nailed it! 

 

Tyler and his family attended the Orlando May 2017 Legacy RetreatⓇ, and he counts visiting Sea World among his favorite memories. This animal lover had always wanted to see a sea turtle in person, but spending time with his parents, Melinda and Mike, and siblings Hailey, Ryan, and Cayla was even better, “We loved spending time with each other without the stress of cancer in our lives.  I love looking back on our vacation and remembering how special it was in all of our pictures we have,” he says.  

 

Tyler (second from right) and his family ready to take on Universal Studios
Tyler (second from right) and his family ready to take on Universal Studios
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Inheriting Hope and Leaving a Legacy

Fourteen-year-old Tyler Emmerd chose to focus on Inheritance of Hope for a speech that he gave to 30 of his peers.



Tyler and his family attended the Orlando May 2017 Legacy RetreatⓇ, and he counts visiting Sea World among his favorite memories. This animal lover had always wanted to see a sea turtle in person, but spending time with his parents, Melinda and Mike, and siblings Hailey, Ryan, and Cayla was even better, “We loved spending time with each other without the stress of cancer in our lives.  I love looking back on our vacation and remembering how special it was in all of our pictures we have,” he says.  

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Caitlin Shorey Raises Her Voice for Inheritance of Hope

Only eight years old, Caitlin Shorey has a big voice, and people are listening.  While she often uses it to belt out Broadway show tunes, lately this powerhouse of a third-grader has been speaking up for one of her favorite charities, Inheritance of Hope (IoH).  IoH serves young families facing the loss of a parent due to terminal illness, and Caitlin’s family benefitted from an IoH Orlando Legacy Retreat® in March 2018.  

 

“It was amazing to be able to express my feelings in a way that I didn’t have to hide anything, and I met new friends from all over,” Caitlin enthusiastically explains.  “For example, sometimes I feel scared, sad, or anxious about what might happen to my mom, but everyone in that group understood what I feel. On an IoH retreat, everyone knows because they have all experienced it.” 

 

The Shorey Family on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ
The Shorey Family on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ

 

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