The first time Kimberly Loving received mail about Inheritance of Hope and its Legacy Retreats®, she placed the letter in a basket and walked away.
“I was so sick I couldn’t think about it,” she said.
It wasn’t until months late that Kim, a mother of three from St. Augustine, Fla., researched IoH and its Legacy Retreats® for families with a parent who has a life-threatening illness.
Kim was first diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago and had a recurrence two years later when her children – William, Sara, and Susannah – were respectively 5, 11, and 13 years old. Undergoing chemotherapy for two separate diagnoses was scary, Kim said, but both cancers were found early and did not spread.
Kim initially felt guilty, thinking that other families might benefit more from a Legacy Retreat®. But conversations with IoH staff convinced the Lovings that they also could use some time off together. The Lovings attended the November 2012 Legacy Retreat® in New York City, where they explored the city, participated in counseling sessions, and spent stress-free time together.
“To be away with just our family and no distractions was not something we’d had in years,” Kim said. “Every one of us enjoyed it and took something from it.”
Susannah, Sara, and William bonded and learned about their mother’s illness. Will, Kim’s husband, met other people who could relate to his experiences. He enjoyed speaking with counselors so much that Kim said she had to drag him out of the group sessions. By the end of the week, the Lovings were sad to leave New York and the families and volunteers they met there.
“The fact that volunteers took time away from their family to serve ours was very humbling,” Kim said.
The Lovings also brought the Legacy Retreat’s® influence home to Florida. Kim said she and her kids work to preserve their memories of each other by making silly videos and journaling.
The retreat experience also affected Kim so strongly that she raised money to return as a volunteer herself at the May 2013 Legacy Retreat® at Disney World. Despite her initial hesitations, she said she felt blessed to meet families and be around kids as they had their own retreat experiences.
“As a recipient of a Legacy Retreat®, it was refreshing and a vacation we needed,” Kimberly said. “As a volunteer, it was refreshing in that I got to pay it forward and help others have as much of a wonderful time as we did.”