Running Inspiration

The NYC Half Marathon is coming up on March 18.  (We still have a few bibs left if you would like to join us!)  As a race approaches, I often ponder how important the runners are to our organization.  The funds raised by our runners are critical to sustaining and growing the Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreats.  These retreats are one of the main outreaches of IOH, reaching families across the nation with hope and support for their journey facing a life-threatening diagnosis.

I was privileged to participate in this February’s Disney Legacy Retreat that took place a couple weeks ago.  12 families attended – and lives were impacted and changed – in both families attending and volunteers serving.

2012 Disney Legacy Retreat Group Shot

2012 Disney Legacy Retreat Group Shot

I try so hard to explain the transformation in lives that happens over the 4 days at a Legacy Retreat, but I don’t do it justice.  How can you explain a caterpillar turning into a butterfly?

Since I know my limitations, I have asked Larry and Michelle Lanham if I could borrow a snippet of their experience at the Retreat.  I had the extreme pleasure of getting to know the Lanhams … we will be forever friends.

As you read this, remember to support a runner by visiting a runner webpage – help them to make their running experience a great one as they serve IOH by raising much needed funds.

The Lanhams

The Lanhams

Larry writes…

The Legacy Retreat…. how do I describe it??? It was like being with family. We met 12 families who have a parent facing a life threatening illness and we all had more fun than a barrel of monkeys! You would think that twelve families that are facing a terminal illness would be about as exciting as… well… a wake, but you would be hard pressed to find a bunch more ready to have fun. And the kids, the kids had more fun than the adults, they were playing with kids who “get it” so they all forget “it” and just had fun. Michelle and I were concerned before the trip and we were ready to pull out , if things got all heavy and full of Psychological mumbo jumbo but it was more like “you grownups have a lot in common so y’all talk to each other while the kids play”. They did have trained professionals facilitate the play etc. and observe…. I guess Mattie and Maggie are ok because the counselor said they were well adjusted and lots of other good things. So I guess Michelle and I handled it right all along, when we decided to tell the girls what was going on instead of letting them imagine the worst or someday get a big surprise. They did offer some insight on some things kids in this situation often worry about “will I catch it” “would I still be loved and cared for” one of the big things they wanted us to take away from the retreat was to be intentional about passing along a legacy: Family Traditions, tangible artifacts that trigger memories like “momma wrote my name on this and held it as she prayed for me every day”, a letter or video etc.

Caroline - a 2012 Disney Marathon Team IOH runner

Caroline – a 2012 Disney Marathon Team IOH runner…

You all that know Michelle knows that she has the protective instincts of a momma grizzly so imagine my surprise when, after less than 24 hours, Michelle said that she thought it would be alright if the girls were separated into their own age groups. Michelle said that she felt like she had known these people her whole life and she knew they loved her kids and would take care of them… WOW! Of coarse she made sure they were all screened for criminal records first but that should tell you something about the volunteers, yep, volunteers that paid their own way and fell all over themselves to serve us, to love us. They were loving us and doing things for us and we instinctively knew it was the First John Chapters 3 and 4 kind of Love and we received it as such. Two volunteers (Christy and Lisa) sort of adopted us and made it their mission in life to see that we had a good time in the parks. If I would have let them, they would have pushed Michelle’s wheel chair all day but I like doing that. They did spell me from time to time. And there is a picture on the video of Lisa giving Magpie a piggyback ride. She carried her all the way through the thick crowd as we were leaving the park. We really missed them the last 2 days we were there without them.

(Note:  the Lanhams extended their stay in Florida after the Retreat had finished…)

Our runners and athletes are truly making a difference in real lives.  Thank you Team IOH!