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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 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.”

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From Black and White to Color. Cheryl and Matt Broyles describe their faith in the midst of 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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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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Volunteer Spotlight: Katelyn Hodge turns 18 while volunteering!

“I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else for my birthday,” said Katelyn Hodge of turning 18 while serving on the most recent Kendra Scott-sponsored Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando.  The feeling was mutual--and we hope to celebrate 19 with her as well!

 

Events Director, Betsy Ogren, surprises Katelyn on her 18th birthday
Events Director, Betsy Ogren, surprises Katelyn on her 18th birthday
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Meet our new Coordinator: Jen Roett

When Jen Roett saw Kendra Scott’s metastatic breast cancer necklace charm set on Instagram, “I was like, ‘done!’” she raves, “And I bought it as soon as it came out.”  One-year-old daughter Kennedy loved it as much as mom, and when she reached in to get a closer look, pulled the necklace right off Jen’s neck.

 

Jen went to the Kendra Scott website to find out how she could get her brand-new jewelry repaired, stumbled upon the relationship between Kendra Scott and Inheritance of Hope, and she says, “I began hysterically sobbing, I was so moved.”  The very next day, Jen signed up to volunteer on the February 2019 Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando, which was sponsored by Kendra Scott, for families affected by metastatic breast cancer.   

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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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Happy New Year!

Now is the time of year when we consider all that the past year held for us, and ponder what the year ahead will bring.  This can stir up a vast array of emotions . . . hope, worry, excitement, fear, gratitude, fatigue, doubt, peace, longing, joy . . . sometimes several at once.

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Family Spotlight: Jon and Donna Strebe Inspire Hope in Families Like Their Own

Since the Strebe family attended an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ in February 2014, Jon and Donna have only missed a handful. Between the two of them, they have volunteered at 12 retreats. That’s worth repeating--a dozen Legacy Retreats!  

 

The Strebe family at their Legacy RetreatⓇ in February 2014
The Strebe family at their Legacy RetreatⓇ in February 2014

 

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Family Spotlight: Catching up with Seiji Shiraishi

Almost two years ago, Cristina Tebolt, described by her husband Seiji Shiraishi as a “city girl,” visited New York City for the last time.  Having lived there before the couple married, Cristina was in her element. The Big Apple was decked out for the holidays, and Cristina could not have been happier to be a part of it.  Through an IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ, Cristina, Seiji, and their children Karina and Oliver were treated to a boat tour, the view from Top of the Rock, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and more.  As important as these precious memories will always be, the Tebolt-Shiraishi family gained something else invaluable--a support system of other families all facing the terminal illness of a parent.

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Family Spotlight: Elise Barrett on the role of being a Caregiver

Elise Barrett has sound advice for caregivers who are walking the same path she has walked: “One of the things I had to learn over and over again is that human capacity is limited,” she recently shared.  “These experiences take more out of you than you can replenish, and you can’t blame yourself. You are going to be compromised. You are not going to be able to always be patient, be loving, plan, or make meals.  Whatever your thing is, you might not be able to do it. It is so important to normalize that uncomfortable truth, and to find ways of accepting it, and to discover ways of adapting. There will be many seasons, and letting each season be what it is can be what survival looks like.”

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