“Scents of Hope,” Marti Ogren’s candle business, is aptly named. The preschool teacher, who also spent 35 years in a first grade classroom, has found her second calling, and her purpose is bigger than filling your home with pleasant fragrances. Lest you get the wrong idea, Marti is passionate about the process of developing, testing, and making her soy-based candles. She embraces every step, from brainstorming new products to pouring the warm clear liquid and watching it cool to a creamy solid. But, she is even more passionate about inspiring hope.
Bringing hope to everyday lives!
Jenna Maier, 14, wants to “ show that no matter your age, you can make a difference.” The Willow Creek Middle School eighth grader from Rochester, Minnesota, has done just that. In November, Jenna cooked up a fundraising campaign for Inheritance of Hope. By February, she had raised $500 selling homemade cookies.
Those who come into the world with another person, a twin, are never alone. The lives of identical twins are so innately blended together that moving from an “us” to a “me” can seem impossible. Losing Kris meant losing my identity--my PLURAL identity--and all of a sudden, I have found myself having to “grow up” all over again as a singular “individual.” It is curious… exceptional… unnatural.
Hannah Black will graduate from high school on March 22, just days ahead of her 22nd birthday, and when she does, her contagious smile will say what words cannot. The young artist is unable to use speech to communicate, but expresses herself through facial cues, a generous spirit, and art. No diploma could ever capture Hannah’s accomplishments.
Last year Hannah sold her artwork and donated all proceeds to Inheritance of Hope (IoH), a nonprofit organization serving young families in which a parent has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Hannah knows the struggles of IoH families all too well, as she lost her own mother Laura to glioblastoma in April 2016.
Geoff Lewis was 31 years old, engaged, and a new business owner when he was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2007. For eight years, he “fought like hell,” according to his younger brother Josh. A hard-worker and optimist until the very end, Geoff passed away in March 2015. He left behind his wife Sandy, six-year-old daughter Landyn, and their nephew Wayne, whom the couple was raising.
|Geoff (center), Josh, and their Dad in NYC|
In December, our family was accepted for an all-expenses paid vacation courtesy of Inheritance of Hope (IoH). IoH provides Legacy Retreats for families with children age 18 and younger in which a parent has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The four-day trip is full of fun, and intentional activities are planned to help families like ours with all we are facing.
|The Mosier family arrives in Orlando for their Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat.|
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.
The O’Gorman family attended our NYC Legacy Retreat® in November 2016. Merritt, who loves dance and was 10 years old at the time, told local news that her favorite part was watching the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the Rockettes.
|The O'Gorman Family in Times Square|
Hope. It was the one thing I searched for during my journey as a caregiver. My husband, Steve, had a rare, progressive, debilitating neurological disease that would eventually destroy his autonomic system and also required 24-hour care. Every time I came to that point where I thought I couldn’t go on, I still had hope. Each day that I had no energy left, no patience, no desire, and no strength to go on even one more hour I searched for the hope that I could go on. Yes, I said all of those words out loud - no patience, no strength, no energy.
As a caregiver, I had only whispered those words to myself. I would mumble under my breath sometimes about how hard it was to keep doing it. I was too ashamed to admit to anyone how I was really feeling. No one tells you that loving someone can coexist in your heart with not wanting to be their full-time caregiver at the same time.