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Choosing Joy

Just a few weeks into life without her husband Brad, Aisha Thomas has made one thing clear--she is choosing joy and gratitude.  The two are inextricably linked, and for Aisha, one begets the other. In continuing the family’s practice of gratitude, which the family does indeed practice every day, Aisha acknowledges what she is thankful for, and she acknowledges more than most people.  The mom of three and school principal admits it’s not easy, “I will say, it is the hardest time of joy-choosing. With kids, it is not necessarily hard to find it, but it is hard to choose it.” 

 

The Thomas family--all smiles on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ
The Thomas family--all smiles on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ
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Tyler Emmerd Speaks up for Inheritance of Hope

Over the summer, fourteen-year-old Tyler Emmerd chose to focus on Inheritance of Hope for a speech that he gave to 30 of his peers--well, if you can call seniors peers to an incoming high school freshman!   Tyler admits to some serious nerves before taking this required class, but he nailed it! 

 

Tyler and his family attended the Orlando May 2017 Legacy RetreatⓇ, and he counts visiting Sea World among his favorite memories. This animal lover had always wanted to see a sea turtle in person, but spending time with his parents, Melinda and Mike, and siblings Hailey, Ryan, and Cayla was even better, “We loved spending time with each other without the stress of cancer in our lives.  I love looking back on our vacation and remembering how special it was in all of our pictures we have,” he says.  

 

Tyler (second from right) and his family ready to take on Universal Studios
Tyler (second from right) and his family ready to take on Universal Studios
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Inheriting Hope and Leaving a Legacy

Fourteen-year-old Tyler Emmerd chose to focus on Inheritance of Hope for a speech that he gave to 30 of his peers.



Tyler and his family attended the Orlando May 2017 Legacy RetreatⓇ, and he counts visiting Sea World among his favorite memories. This animal lover had always wanted to see a sea turtle in person, but spending time with his parents, Melinda and Mike, and siblings Hailey, Ryan, and Cayla was even better, “We loved spending time with each other without the stress of cancer in our lives.  I love looking back on our vacation and remembering how special it was in all of our pictures we have,” he says.  

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Caitlin Shorey Raises Her Voice for Inheritance of Hope

Only eight years old, Caitlin Shorey has a big voice, and people are listening.  While she often uses it to belt out Broadway show tunes, lately this powerhouse of a third-grader has been speaking up for one of her favorite charities, Inheritance of Hope (IoH).  IoH serves young families facing the loss of a parent due to terminal illness, and Caitlin’s family benefitted from an IoH Orlando Legacy Retreat® in March 2018.  

 

“It was amazing to be able to express my feelings in a way that I didn’t have to hide anything, and I met new friends from all over,” Caitlin enthusiastically explains.  “For example, sometimes I feel scared, sad, or anxious about what might happen to my mom, but everyone in that group understood what I feel. On an IoH retreat, everyone knows because they have all experienced it.” 

 

The Shorey Family on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ
The Shorey Family on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ

 

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Lighting a Candle for Hope

“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.

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Jenna Maier Cooks Up Cash for Inheritance of Hope Families!

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.  

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My name is Kim Brock. I'm Kristen's twin sister.

 

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. 

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Communicating and giving through art

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.

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Family Spotlight: Henry and Melanie Nicsinger on beating the odds

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.  

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Family Spotlight: Shannon Fogarty Inspires Hope for Families like his own.

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.

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