Repeat volunteer Nate Most first heard of Inheritance of Hope at a small tractor dealership in his hometown of Brady, Nebraska. A rancher, Nate was simply doing business and was surprised when a stranger who had come in for oil approached him and told about how his own family had been blessed by an IoH Legacy Retreat®. The story resonated with Nate since his wife of 25 years, Amy, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“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.
Haylee Bunner turned in her Inheritance of Hope volunteer application as soon as she could--the very day she turned 18. She had been waiting for the chance to serve families like hers for quite some time. Haylee, her brother Cameron, and their parents Matthew and Kim attended an Orlando Legacy Retreat® in May 2012. Kim passed away a little over a year later.
“I knew that volunteering was something my mom would have done had she been healed.“ Haylee describes Kim as someone who loved to help other people. “To know that her death gave me the ability to understand much of what these families are going through would have given her peace.”
|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.”
Rachel Pearson dreams big: “Ten years, cover of Forbes… yeah, I can see that.” Anyone who meets Rachel can too. But successful growth for her young business of organic skincare products is not her only goal. “I want to educate you and heal your skin. And I want to give back. That is the most important thing we can do.”
On October 10th, professional triathlete and Inheritance of Hope supporter Ruth Brennan Morrey, Ph.D., competed in the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. She's 1 of only 9 American women to compete in the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run, and she finished 23rd among professional female athletes worldwide. Due to her years of training, Ruth has a unique perspective on resilience, perseverance, and faith. She also turned 40 years old on race day!
Ruth served as a counselor on the Inheritance of Hope (IoH) NYC Legacy Retreat® in November 2014, and she raised money for IoH as part of her desire to give back through her IRONMAN experience. Her supporters rallied around her passion for families facing the loss of a parent, raising nearly $5,000! Her efforts will fully fund 1 family's NYC Legacy Retreat® next month -- an opportunity to make precious memories while they are still able!
Ruth has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a focus in health psychology, thus she brings a strong skill set to her involvement with IoH. Here, we asked Ruth a few questions prior to her race and heard her thoughts on how her experiences relate to IoH and life at large.
Over the past several months, I have had the privilege of writing about members of the Inheritance of Hope family. Cheryl Broyles, like each person I have presented, defies description. In June 2000, Cheryl was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumor and told she had less than a year to live. How could I adequately describe a woman who in the past 15 years has survived six brain surgeries, climbed mountains both literal and figurative, and raised two toddlers into young men?
I can’t. Cheryl inspires hope in a tremendous way, and there are no words beautiful enough to paint the picture of what that looks like.
Friday, March 13, 2015, Jerusalem Half Marathon: Runners climb paths long traveled by pilgrims. They gaze upon landscapes that have been treasured and disputed for ages. The paths are now roads and the scenes have been added to, but the place is timeless—as are the struggles and dreams of its people. Men and women of many nations pass through the Jaffa Gate under the watchtower of David and exit the Old City through the Zion Gate. They run along the once-cursed Valley of Gehenna, past a U.N. peace-keeping site, and close to the tense area of East Jerusalem. And, the marathoners run by ancient sites, holy sites, places that are sacred. With each step, one runner offers a silent prayer. With each new view, she senses the courage that new life will one day be ushered in. With each breath, she hopes for this nation to find peace with God.
Sunday, March 15, 2015, New York City Half Marathon: Cheers from hundreds of voices fill the air, smiles of encouragement grace diverse faces, and opportunity is demonstrated on every corner. The course begins in Central Park and passes by evidence of what is possible—down broad avenues flanked by the rewards of prosperity, through the excitement of Times Square, and into revitalized neighborhoods along the Hudson River. The runners race past the World Trade Center site and Battery Park. They finish on Wall Street. With each step, one runner offers a praise of thanks. With each new view, she feels courage that God is as present now as ever. With each breath, she hopes that one day all people will know the Prince of Peace and His peace that passes all understanding.
Over the weekend of March 13th-15th, Lisa Duscio, Team Inheritance of Hope Coordinator and Legacy Retreat® volunteer, completed a marathon spanning two continents: the Jerusalem Half Marathon and the New York City Half Marathon. The routes and experiences may have seemed divergent, but her goal and heart were of one mind.
With its hundred-mile course and cumulative elevation gain of 7,636 feet, the Gran Fondo New York challenges the fittest of cyclists. Athletes endure months of training in preparation for the bike race, and Shannon Fogarty is ready--both physically and mentally. This May 17th, he will take on 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.
“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.