Rawd Allen was first diagnosed with brain cancer in 1994, but February 2014 happened to be the opportune time to attend an Inheritance of Hope (IoH) Legacy Retreat®.
“There’s a really big need to tell your story,” said Julie Hull of Eagan, Minn.
Julie’s husband, Ken, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer after a blood clot was found in his calf three years ago. Ken was a long-distance runner, and the cancer stunned Julie and their 12-year-old son, Sam.
“It drew us into a totally different plane,” Julie said.
Soon the Hulls were making routine hospital visits. Ken underwent 18 rounds of chemotherapy, 10 rounds of radiation, and two brain surgeries.
“I can’t believe this is coming out of my mouth,” Kristen Ricciardelli said, “but I actually think it’s easier to be an active cancer patient than a post-cancer patient.”
She spoke from experience.
The mother of four from Milwaukee was still breast feeding her 8-month-old daughter when
Tricia Lillard calls her experience with cancer an emotional roller-coaster.
“One of the biggest challenges is the uncertainty with which I have to live my life,” she said. “You think things are great then you get a bad scan or diagnosis.”
Two of her children, Tekia and Jamal, were one and six years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Within three years
Bambi Byers, 40, said the Tim McGraw song “Live Like You Were Dying” sums up everything she could say about her husband, Marc, who passed away in March 2011.
“It was my husband to a ‘T,’” she said.
Marc was having trouble swallowing in June 2009, and a few months later doctors discovered a tumor in his esophagus. Bambi said Marc didn’t listen when he was told of his 25% chance of survival.
Amy and Adam Patwa attended an Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat® in Orlando with their daughter, Charis, in May 2012.
“The timing of it was totally perfect,” Amy said. “I can’t walk around Magic Kingdom today.”
She was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in summer 2010, but chemotherapy and radiation appeared to control the disease in a matter of months.
In spring 2011 Amy started having chest pains.
The Heinzelman family attended Inheritance of Hope's first Legacy Retreat, which took place at Lake George, New York, in the summer of 2008. Three and a half years later, the family has fond memories of the weekend.
Yet the Heinzelmans are getting by without Mark, their husband and father who died of cancer more than two years ago at age 42.
“I’ve got a different perspective,” Tom Dodd said.
The engineer from Seneca, S.C. became a widower almost three years ago. Dodd and his two adopted sons moved closer to his parents, took a new job and remarried after the loss. He received support from friends and strangers, and now can reflect on the unanticipated blessings of his changed life.
“I see things from the other side of it,” he said.