Dena Austin and her husband Blake are veteran Legacy RetreatⓇ volunteers, and now Dena is stepping into the role of Legacy Retreat and Venue Coordinator. A volunteer since 2016, Coordinator since January 2017, and supporter since 2014, Dena knew she wanted to become involved with Inheritance of Hope as soon as she heard about the Legacy RetreatⓇ experience from friends John and Heather Crawford. John, Heather, and their boys were served on the August 2014 retreat to Orlando.
John Thomas, known to friends and family as “JT,” ran the Big Sur Marathon at the end of April in support of Inheritance of Hope. This was JT’s 27th completed marathon--yes, you read that right--27th!
JT was introduced to Inheritance of Hope through his wife, Jennifer Thomas. Jennifer has served as a counselor on 16 of our 31 retreats thus far. JT explains that through Jennifer, he has had the chance to witness the difference IoH is making. A few years ago, he brought their three children to a Legacy Retreat in Orlando while Jennifer was working. “We saw the names and faces behind the stories and were conscious of how fortunate we felt to easily enjoy our vacation time without a resource like IoH. I am so glad these impacted families could experience the fun of the parks with the help of the IoH program and volunteers.”
In February 2014, Carol Lacert accompanied her daughter Marci Guay and granddaughter Hannah Guay to an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ in Orlando. At the time, Marci, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, was enjoying good health, but like many of our families, they were uncertain--not just about the retreat, but about the future that lay beyond. In particular, Hannah, then 13, had fears she could not easily express.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, Hannah Black’s smile says it all.
|Hannah with her beautiful art.|
Hannah recently sold her artwork and donated all proceeds to Inheritance of Hope in memory of her mother Laura. Hannah knows all too well the challenges IoH families face, as she lost her own mother to glioblastoma in April 2016.
Taylor Ethridge pauses as she thinks over a question. The Community Outreach and Event Planner for Kendra Scott Orlando is being interviewed about her recent experience volunteering at an Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat®. She is not getting off easy, “Can you explain more about how you were forever changed?” she is asked.
Taylor considers her words carefully but chooses one, “Hope.”
The baby in our logo is all grown up.
|The “o” in hope is based on a photo of the Milligan children|
Most of us in the Inheritance of Hope family are familiar with Rebecca Milligan, the youngest child of Co-Founders Deric and Kristen Milligan. Just seven months old when her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Rebecca, now almost 16, has grown up with the organization. A picture of the three Milligan children was the inspiration for our logo, and the smallest child on the right was created with the likeness of Rebecca in mind.
Since 2008, Aaron Hedges has been part of Inheritance of Hope in one way or another--working at retreats, administering technology systems, managing human resources, and much more. The former double major in math and Spanish clearly has a unique set of skills, ones that are critically valuable to IoH.
|Aaron at a recent Legacy Retreat in Orlando, Florida|
Recently, Southwest Airlines donated 50 round-trip tickets, valued at $20,000, to Inheritance of Hope. This gift allows us to serve more families while meeting the goals of achieving unparalleled financial stewardship and providing ease of transportation to those for whom travelling is often most difficult.
The phrase “IoH family” is used often by Inheritance of Hope, so pervasively that one might think it is thrown around casually. That could not be further from the case. Examples abound of those who have embraced the IoH family as an extension of their own, but one of the very best is the Dix family. Dan, Brenda, David, Rebecca, and Michael have served IoH with a level of commitment that most people reserve for only their own closest relatives.
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.