I have never met Kendra Scott or her friend, Holley Kitchen, but I think we have a lot in common. I’ve seen enough photos to know that we each appreciate statement jewelry, selfies and the strength of friends that are so close that they feel like family. (Sometimes, it’s even better than family.) But, the thread that links us together feels more like a noose – we are strong women who faced the demon of metastatic breast cancer.
Holley and I were both diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer as young mothers. Holley died in January 2016 at the age of 42. I was diagnosed four months later.
You may have seen the Kendra Scott name on a marquis in a mall or sponsoring any number of charitable activities around the country. Her statement jewelry sparks conversation and accents thousands of outfits every day. I’m fortunate to have several pairs of her earrings that always elicit compliments. But, it’s not her stylish jewelry that impresses me the most about her, it’s how she has honored the legacy of her friend and the impact that has had on families fighting terminal illnesses, including mine.
It’s the way she leaned in to support her best friend, Holley Kitchen, by contributing significantly to Inheritance of Hope. She didn’t have to fund a retreat – plus give products – to help families who are battling cancer create lasting legacies. But, she does.
|Kendra Scott and Holley Kitchen--lifelong friends|
To understand the impact of these retreats would be like trying to count the freckles on your back. One spot bleeds into another, overlaps into yet another … and so on. Our family attended the Inheritance of Hope retreat in 2018. It was a chance for us to trade treatments and regiments with exploration and discovery in New York. The retreat was a time to focus on being present through laughter, conversation and healing. The impact didn’t end with the four of us.
|Ann Camden and her family on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ|
Our retreat impacted our friends, especially my stable of girlfriends that carry me through the winding path of treatments. If my family is the foundation, my girlfriends are the ones that help me whip up the recipes for the concrete. Over long walks or a cup of tea with my girlfriends, I talk through different treatment plans or scan results and determine how to share news with my husband, my kids, my parents, and so on.
After our retreat, we heard from numerous friends that our experience with Inheritance of Hope helped them to reprioritize their own holiday plans, to be more intentional with their conversations with their parents and children alike.
|The Camdens with new friends on the IoH 2018 NYC Legacy RetreatⓇ|
In one situation, our experience kicked opened the door to authentic and purposeful discussions with a friend who had a neighbor in late stage cancer treatment. They were desperate to leave a lasting legacy for their children, and time was against them. We brainstormed a way to celebrate an early Christmas with multiple family photos and favorite family recipes. And, we helped scribble a quick note onto a greeting card that is tucked away for graduation this spring … these are small gestures that make a difference. That’s the impact of Inheritance of Hope. It engages people to think differently – about how we interact with our family and our friends. It sparks conversations that make a difference. I suspect it’s those types of conversations and interactions that were the catalyst for Kendra to honor Holley by financially supporting Inheritance of Hope.
Holley Day is October 13th and 20% of all proceeds on that day will be directed to Inheritance of Hope. It’s the fourth year that Kendra has hosted Holley Day and the funds raised during this time make it possible for families to attend an Inheritance of Hope retreat in the next few months, free of charge.
I’m going to invite a few of my girlfriends to join me at our local Kendra Scott boutique and try to knock out some early Christmas shopping. Not only is a great time to find statement jewelry, it’s time to make a statement that truly makes a mark.
Ann Camden has been writing since middle school when she found solace during chaos by putting her thoughts on paper. After a successful career in public relations, she's pivoting to advocacy work for metastatic breast cancer, especially related to parents affected by the disease. She is also busy creating her personal legacy for her teenage daughters and husband. Ann has been living with Stage IV breast cancer since 2016. Her family was blessed to attend an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ in 2018.