Bringing hope to everyday lives!
We bet one of these ideas will make your dad feel special!
- Lots of dads are missing sports right now. Have a ballpark or stadium-themed night with hotdogs, nachos, and his favorite game day food. Don’t forget to wear your fan gear, and ask your dad about his favorite moments playing or watching games!
- Other fathers might be missing concerts or other cultural events. Let Dad be in charge of the playlist and entertainment for the evening--even if it means he sings along and plays air guitar!
- Write down your top ten favorite memories with your dad.
- Tell your dad exactly what you appreciate about him.
- Give him time for what he wants the most--even if it’s a long nap!
For Adam Hayden, “Storytelling is a pathway toward a meaningful life.” This nugget of wisdom, shared in his speech at the 2019 End Well Symposium, drives the narrative of Adam’s every day. Most people only think of death in the broadest of terms, but Adam, who holds a Master of Arts in philosophy, knows it is much more than an existential question. As a four-year glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor patient, one thing Adam claims to be most proud of is what he calls his relationship with the end of life.
Adam shares his story at the End Well Symposuim in December 2019
(Photo - Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography)
It’s a friendship from the era of floppy discs and homemade scrapbooks. Chris Douglas and Greg Loerzel met in the computer lab of North Dakota State University as aspiring engineers, and Greg’s wife Maria has proof of the many adventures they have had ever since.
|Chris (left) and Greg have been friends for over two decades|
This blog post was originally published in 2016, and these families have both had many changes since then--happy changes! The Loners now have two healthy grandchildren they enjoy spending time with, and are proud to report that their three grown children are thriving as well. Niece Abigale has volunteered on three Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatsⓇ, and collaborated with Craig in making this video: https://youtu.be/hnDAtDqcHKE last May for ALS awareness month in 2019.
Heather Crawford Dodd, now on staff at IoH, began volunteering on retreats in October 2016, not too long after this article was written. In May 2017, she met Tom Dodd, also a former family member served-turned volunteer. They married the following December and live in South Carolina with their four boys.
When we first ran this story, little did we know it was just the beginning. Heather, Dana, and Craig are in touch weekly--by text and often in person. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Dana and Craig would drive over an hour to Heather's home every few months and help prepare materials for upcoming IoH retreats. Even now, they frequently check on each other, and provide love and support both ways--as Heather looks to Dana for advice on how to be a good stepmom, "She is an incredibly patient, strong, and selfless woman and a huge inspiration and encouragement to me," remarked Heather. Dana calls Heather an angel sent just when she needed her most, and describes Heather in just the same way as Heather describes Dana, “she continues to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to me.”
We are honored to call these folks family and celebrate the hope they maintain and give to others.
“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.
Originally published on our blog in May 2019, we are excited to repost Jordan Gersh's artwork in honor of brain cancer awareness month. Like most college students, Jordan is currently living at home while taking online classes. She is making the most of her time with her mom and dad, as they cook and bake together and have lots of long conversations around the dinner table.
This collection of work was inspired by my mom for her perseverance and strong will. She has always been my role model and is the strongest woman I know. In the summer leading up to my junior year of high school, my mom was diagnosed with a stage four brain tumor called a glioblastoma. After my mom’s diagnosis, I became very involved in her treatments and doctors’ visits. I enjoyed accompanying her to appointments and often would ask the doctor and surgeon questions, so I could better understand what my mom was going through. At each appointment we would go over MRI and CT scans. First, to prepare for surgery, in which they would remove as much as they could. Secondly, to continue observing the growth or shrinkage of the tumor, post operation and treatments.
Originally posted in May 2019, we would like to share, once again, Gabe and Erin Matheny's story of hope, and the best news of all--that they are still thriving!
“If I could, I would make people go on an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ,” says Gabe Matheny, former EMT from Corinth, Texas. Diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme tumor, Gabe attended an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando with his family in May 2018. “Originally, I was hesitant to go, but IoH was probably the biggest, best experience that has happened to us, and one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. It was a huge relief for us, and we had so much fun with our kids.” He goes on, “Plus, the resources, the memories we got out of that, and the new friendships we still have... There would have been absolutely no way for us to do that otherwise. From the first moment we got off the plane, the welcome we were given--the staff and volunteers just did so much. You could see it in their faces.” Gabe pauses to consult with his wife, Erin, “what is the word I’m looking for?”
Many of our families living with brain cancer contributed to this article--sharing what they hope is helpful advice for those who, most of all, just want to be helpful!
1. “Don’t assume just because someone looks fine on the outside that they are OK.” Variations of this comment came up in multiple interviews with our IoH families affected by brain cancer. Wives described husbands who sleep afternoons in order to save up energy for cheering at a child’s big game that night, or the frustration of large gatherings where others may not understand that noise and questions can be too exhausting.
2. Anxiety can accompany any activity, and sometimes only a close caregiver is able to recognize signs of an impending seizure or other complication.
Originally published in May 2019, Cheryl continues to climb her mountains, particularly inspiring others living with brain cancer.
If Cheryl Broyles is a little more teary-eyed than most moms at Oregon State University's graduation this spring, she has good reason. When her son Grant receives his degree, she just might be thinking about how she never even expected to see him start kindergarten.
In July 2000, Cheryl was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme brain tumor and told she had a year to live, more or less. At the time, her children Grant and Clint were three and one. Miraculously, Cheryl has seen them graduate from high school and set out on their own career paths, which, not-so-coincidentally, reflect the values she and her husband Matt have pursued. The family of wildlife biologists had plenty of experience putting their passion into practice during summer vacations when they celebrated each anniversary of Cheryl’s survival with a huge outdoor adventure.
|Matt, Clint, Cheryl, and Grant on their 2010 Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ|