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Family Spotlight: Gabe and Erin Matheny’s survivor story

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?”

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The O’Gorman Family: What it means to keep hope in the face of cancer

Jennifer O’Gorman’s number one piece of advice for families facing what she has faced is this: “Everyone has lots of advice for you, but you have to do what you know is best and trust your gut.  You have to do what feels right for you.”

 

In May 2013, Jennifer’s husband Pat was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme tumor in the front of his brain.  A mere eight days after surgery, he was determined to use his experience for good. Jennifer explains, “He felt like his mission was to touch one person every day and tell his story to give them hope.”  She pauses, and with a quiet laugh remembers, “He was never shy and would talk with anyone any chance he had.”

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From Black and White to Color. Cheryl and Matt Broyles describe their faith in the midst of brain cancer

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Ⓡ
Matt, Clint, Cheryl, and Grant on their 2010 Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ

 

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Finding our way while helping others: longtime brain cancer survivors and caregivers share their experiences

One thing our IoH families all have in common is the desire to help others on this same road, and to make the path easier where possible.  Many of our families affected by brain cancer have particularly positive outlooks, and want to share that with anyone else facing this diagnosis.

 

Brain cancer Painting
Photo credit: Jordan Gersh (Orlando Legacy RetreatⓇ, Feb. 2017)

 

What you should know:

 

1. “It’s not a death sentence.  Yes, it’s terminal and I know that.  One day it will get me, but as of right now, it’s not.  Stay strong. Don’t let it get to you, be in the moment, and be there for other people.”  --Shannon Fogarty 

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What Can be Done with ALS

In these days of uncertainty and limited social interaction, you might find yourself frustrated by the way your life has changed over the past few weeks (or even days).  Those of us with ALS or other debilitating diseases get it. But if we can adapt, you can too! 

 

The Douglas family making lifelong memories on their Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat®
The Douglas family made lifelong memories on their Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat® in May 2017
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How to thrive while social distancing--from those who know!

While the rest of the world learns to social distance, it’s business as usual for many of our Inheritance of Hope families.  There’s nothing quite like a terminal diagnosis or deadly virus to quickly scrap plans and teach necessary health saving measures.  For our IoH families, uncertainty is the only certainty, and they understand the disappointment, anxiety, and adaptations that have become routine over these last few weeks.  Because we are all in this together, these unwilling experts offer their tips for coping with fear, near-constant change, and the need to quarantine. 

 

IoH Vision

 

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18 ways to start building your legacy today

On March 18th, Inheritance of Hope (IoH) recognizes the birthday of our Co-Founder Kristen Grady Milligan.  Kristen may have been the best legacy-builder ever--while living with cancer, she prepared cedar chests full of notes, gifts, and videos for each of her three children.  Although young when their mom passed away, Kristen’s son and two daughters continue to feel her presence through the tangible ways she left a part of herself with them.  

 

Kristen Grady Milligan, March 18, 1973 - October 26, 2012
Kristen Grady Milligan, March 18, 1973 - October 26, 2012
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IoH Welcomes 11 new volunteers in New York City!

11 new volunteers joined the IoH family to take a bite out of the Big Apple during our recent Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ in NYC.  Meet a few of them here!

 

Front row (l to r): Libby Storm, Anneli Shaw, Baylie McClafferty, Katie Atwater Middle row (l to r): Jensi Shaw, Jennifer Weitz, Claire Weitz, Jane Augur Back row (l to r): Nick Ranieri, Charlie Garrison, Roger Lykins
Front row (l to r): Libby Storm, Anneli Shaw, Baylie McClafferty, Katie Atwater
Middle row (l to r): Jensi Shaw, Jennifer Weitz, Claire Weitz, Jane Augur
Back row (l to r): Nick Ranieri, Charlie Garrison, Roger Lykins
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Growing Up With a Sick Mom Pt. 2

Ashlea Milligan’s parents Kristen and Deric founded Inheritance of Hope together after Kristen was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.  Ashlea has perspective that resonates with the broader IoH family, and through her writing, hopes to shed light on issues surrounding terminal illness and those who are left behind in its wake.  She wrote her first installment in this series earlier, and continues to share her thoughts.  

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Growing Up with a Sick Mom Pt.1

Coming to college and discussing childhood with my friends has been a fascinating exploration. My roommates and I come from different backgrounds. While we all grew up under similar circumstances, all American, UNC Chapel Hill-bound children, there are variances that I find striking. Listening to them recount their childhoods is always slightly surprising, and brings out the nuances of my childhood that were contrary to those of my friends. I have begun to recognize how different growing up with a sick parent actually makes your life - the before, after, and during. 

 

Ashlea and her mom, Kristen
Ashlea and her mom, Kristen
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