Tarah Harvey doesn’t beat around the bush, “I have metastatic breast cancer and know I am terminal.” In January, Tarah, her husband Sam, and their children Hannah and Braxton were one of ten families sponsored by Kendra Scott on an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando. The all-expenses-paid trip, solely for young families affected by metastatic breast cancer, offered participants the chance to make precious memories together, meet others facing the same challenges, and take home tools to help navigate this difficult time in their lives.
|Making lifelong memories at Disney|
Tarah didn’t have any expectations going into the retreat and was surprised by just how impactful the experience was. “We don’t put a timeline on what ‘terminal’ means,” she said, “but because of our IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ, I have done things for my children that they will always have.”
Opportunities Tarah has taken advantage of include recording a video for her children and focusing on ways she can live more intentionally. “I am being more present with my children. I thought I was doing that beforehand, but since coming back from our retreat, it has been on a whole different level.” She elaborated, “I also work to remember that I have cancer but cancer doesn't have me. I won't let it steal my good days--it has taken a lot, but I won’t let it take away my happiness with my family.”
|The Harvey family at the Orlando Legacy Retreat presented by Kendra Scott|
Besides the resources and support, Tarah appreciated how IoH cared for her whole family. She especially noted how helpful it was for her husband Sam, whom she calls “my unsung hero,” to gain suggestions for his own role and connect with other caregivers. Volunteers were on hand to make sure the children were spoiled in royal Disney fashion, and all in all, every need was met. Braxton, just eight months old at the time of his mother’s diagnosis, has never known anything different, but three days at theme parks gave a respite of fun and normalcy to the family’s life. Frankly, with escalating costs of treatment, these special memories would have not been made without the thoughtful attention to detail of IoH and the generosity of Kendra Scott. Memories like Hannah “living her best life,” a description Tarah gave with the light laugh of a mom recalling her child’s joy.
On October 13th, Tarah will join volunteers around the country to celebrate Kendra Scott’s 3rd annual Holley Day, in remembrance of Kendra’s dear friend, Holley Kitchen. Holley and her family were served on an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ in May 2015, just eight short months before she passed away from metastatic breast cancer. Tarah will be sharing her own story at The Shops at Legacy Kendra Scott store in Plano, TX, in hopes to help fund more families like hers and Holley’s on a life-changing, memory-making Legacy Retreat. “I think it is important to put a face to the Legacy Retreat experience so that donors can see the type of people they will be impacting and someone who has benefitted from a retreat,” she explained. “That brings it to light and makes it real--for me to spread the amazingness of what IoH is. I want to share that the gift IoH gave us was so much more than just a trip.”
|Tarah and Hannah with Kendra Scott in Orlando|
When asked what she hopes for families who may be funded through Holley Day on a future retreat, Tarah’s wishes are simple: “Come with open hearts and open minds. Allow the volunteers and staff to help you. Take advantage of resources, and most of all, be ready to have fun. At the parks, I was not thinking about cancer. It is hard to get away from it, but I really did. In those moments, cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. I was watching my daughter meet Cinderella and I literally was just there enjoying the moment.” She paused and added, “And it was amazing.”
|Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat presented by Kendra Scott|
Angie Howell graduated from Davidson College, where she met Inheritance of Hope Co-Founder Kristen Grady Milligan the first week of their freshman year. In 2010, the two former hallmates got back in touch, and Angie became involved in IoH shortly afterwards. Angie has has served as a Legacy Retreat volunteer, Coordinator, and now, as Communications Manager, Angie helps tell the stories of IoH. She is constantly inspired by the people she meets in the IoH family. Read more Inheritance of Hope blogposts >>