“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.
Meet families impacted by Inheritance of Hope!
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.
|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
Jennifer O’Gorman’s number one piece of advice for families facing what she has faced seems contradictory, “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.”
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Ⓡ|
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.
Henry Nicsinger was cured of cancer once, then he was cured again, and again, and again, and again. Diagnosed with testicular cancer at 31, declared cancer-free after undergoing surgery, Henry went through surgery once more twenty years later when he was found to have a second primary bilateral occurrence of the disease.
Shannon Fogarty holds the distinction of being one of our most successful fundraisers who is also a past retreat participant. To date, this family member served-turned Inheritance of Hope super fundraiser has sent six families on a life-changing Legacy RetreatⓇ. Just a year after he was diagnosed with a malignant, inoperable brain tumor, Shannon attended the August 2011 Orlando retreat with his wife Alicia and daughter Alexa.
One of the newest members of the Inheritance of Hope family plans to come back as soon as she can. Dionna Koval turned in her volunteer application just weeks after participating in our NYC Legacy RetreatⓇ this past November. Before their retreat, Dionna and her son Diego, 17, were understandably nervous and unsure of what to expect. “I told him to just give it a chance,” she shared, “I didn’t know what it would be like either, and we decided we would just see how it went. The first night, Diego said, ‘I kind of like this,’ and afterwards on the way home, he hugged me, thanked me, and said it was one of the best trips ever.”