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Faces of Holley Day: Joni Morris and her daughters Inspire Hope on Holley Day

 

 

Originally posted on October 4, 2018, we honor Joni and the legacy she left for her family. Joni passed away in July 2019, but used her time to live purposefully and give back to others facing what she faced.

 

Joni Morris is one of the faces of Kendra Scott’s Holley Day.  She also has metastatic breast cancer. Along with her teenage daughters Kendra and Rylee, Joni is raising awareness for Inheritance of Hope in order to give other families the gift that they themselves received. The Morrises attended an all-expenses-paid Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando in March, where they met other families in which a parent has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, received tools for navigating the difficulties they face, and perhaps, most importantly, made lifelong memories together.

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Faces of Holley Day: Tarah Harvey shares her Kendra Scott-sponsored Legacy Retreat® experience

 
 
 
Originally posted in September 2019, we honor Tarah and the legacy she left for her family. Tarah passed away in October 2019, but used her time to live purposefully and give back to others facing what she faced.
 
 
 
Tarah Harvey doesn’t beat around the bush, “I have metastatic breast cancer and know I am terminal.” In January 2018, Tarah, her husband Sam, and their children Hannah and Braxton were one of ten families sponsored by Kendra Scott on an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando.  The all-expenses-paid trip, solely for young families affected by metastatic breast cancer, offered participants the chance to make precious memories together, meet others facing the same challenges, and take home tools to help navigate this difficult time in their lives.
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Faces of Holley Day: Sham Daniel Inspires Hope on October 13th

 

 

Within a few minutes of meeting each other, Sham Daniel and Holley Kitchen knew they would be great friends.  Sham remembers, “You know how you just instantly recognize people you will connect with? Well, that was Holley.”   The two met on an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando in May 2015, just eight short months before Holley passed away from metastatic breast cancer.

 

Precious family memories made at Disney
Precious family memories made at Disney
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Faces of Holley Day: Andrea Albanese receives a Kendra Scott gift that raises spirits and funds for IoH

As a young widow raising five children, Andrea Albanese wants her late husband Jim to be remembered and acknowledged. “Culturally, we are afraid of grief and afraid to say the name of the person who passed away,” she laments.  “People might drop off a casserole and run. But, I would say to please talk about my husband with my kids. They want to hear about their father. He is still part of our lives.”   

 

And that is exactly why a special gift created just for Andrea made such an impression on her last October. 

 

Andrea and Jim shortly before he passed away
Andrea and Jim shortly before he passed away
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Family Spotlight: Adam and Whitney Hayden on the legacy right here

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) Adam shares his story at the End Well Symposuim in December 2019 
(Photo - Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography) 

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A Marathon of a Friendship: The Loerzel and Douglas Families are in it together for the long haul

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
Chris (left) and Greg have been friends for over two decades
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Family Spotlight: Amanda Coleman on her husband Mike’s Legacy

Family Spotlight: Amanda Coleman on her husband Mike’s Legacy
This story was originally posted in 2019, and we are honored to repost as we acknowledge brain cancer awareness month.  A year later, the Coleman family has continued to grow, adding two dogs, three cats, and activities for both kids, who stay busy w...
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Family Spotlight: The Crawford and Loner Families maintain hope in the face of ALS

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.

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Inheritance of Hope Family member Bill Chionis finds the “Caregiver’s Companion”

It was a love story for the books, and although many readers know how it ends, “The Caregiver’s Companion” is still a page-turner. Not because of the suspense, but because of the sometimes heady, often poetic, and always authentic language that Bill Chionis (2011 NYC Legacy Retreat®) uses to describe his marriage through moves, job changes, children, and ultimately cancer.

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Finding art in unexpected places

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.

 

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