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Southwest “luvs” on Families Facing Terminal Illness

Inheritance of Hope (IoH) is a non-profit organization that inspires hope in young families facing the loss of a parent. Through all-expenses-paid Legacy RetreatsⓇ, parents who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, along with their caregiver and children, are given the opportunity to make precious memories, receive tools for navigating this difficult time in their lives, and meet others with the same fears and challenges. IoH will host retreats in Orlando, California, Colorado, and New York throughout 2018.

 

For almost every family Inheritance of Hope serves, the Legacy RetreatⓇ starts at the airport. Some of these families have children who have never flown, and some have parents who wondered how they would ever fly again. While the individual stories change, these families are all traveling at very vulnerable times in their lives, with health considerations that extend far beyond the needs of an average traveler.

 

It is only because of the persistence and compassion of our retreat team, and its corporate relationships, that our diverse retreat participants arrive ready for the life-changing experience that awaits them. Many IoH families fly Southwest Airlines to our retreats, and through our relationship, IoH has found a friend with heart.

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Meet Gina Roes, Inheritance of Hope’s new Legacy Resources Manager

Shortly after 9/11, Gina Roes answered a call for counselors to come to New York City. Without a guaranteed job, she packed up, sold her house, and moved, with her dog, to Manhattan. This spirit of trust, compassion, and courage allows her to best serve Inheritance of Hope’s families.

 

Gina Roes
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Meet Inheritance of Hope’s new Social Media Intern, Shelby Jo Lewis

Shelby Jo Lewis and her family attended the Inheritance of Hope NYC Legacy Retreat in 2014, just after her mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.  At the time, Shelby wondered if she would fit in with others on the retreat and in the big city. “I’m from a tiny town in the South,” she explains, “and I wasn’t sure about this whole experience; but as soon as I saw the smile on our volunteer’s face, I knew it was going to be a great retreat.”

 

Shelby and her family on their NYC Legacy Retreat in 2014.
 Shelby and her family on their NYC Legacy Retreat in 2014.
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Meet Julie Hull, Inheritance of Hope’s new Volunteers Manager

Julie Hull sums up her daily goals succinctly. “In our house, we say that love is the highest order of the day. Not perfection, but love.”

 

Those in the Inheritance of Hope family who know and love Julie will recognize that this is exactly how she approaches everything--from her position as IoH Volunteers Manager to each interaction with the families we serve. Julie is transparent in her compassionate way of striving to best love those in her path. Mom to a rising high school senior, Julie, her late husband Ken, and their son Sam were introduced to IoH in November 2011 when they attended the New York Legacy Retreat. She is not one to shy away from the painful realities of grief and single-parenting, and is refreshingly honest in telling other families that while her path has not been easy, she finds hope everyday to continue being the best parent she can be.

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Meet Heidi Benson, Inheritance of Hope’s new Families Manager

A Facebook post and a few clicks led Heidi Benson to Inheritance of Hope, and she has served on almost every Legacy Retreat since. A friend of a friend posted about their retreat experience as a volunteer, and as she read more, Heidi says she immediately knew she wanted to be a part of IoH, “Everything in my heart, all my passions, lined up with this.” Before she knew it, Heidi was interviewing to be a volunteer.

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Meet Dena Austin, Inheritance of Hope’s new Legacy Retreat and Venue Coordinator

Dena Austin and her husband Blake are veteran Legacy RetreatⓇ volunteers, and now Dena is stepping into the role of Legacy Retreat and Venue Coordinator. A volunteer since 2016, Coordinator since January 2017, and supporter since 2014, Dena knew she wanted to become involved with Inheritance of Hope as soon as she heard about the Legacy RetreatⓇ experience from friends John and Heather Crawford. John, Heather, and their boys were served on the August 2014 retreat to Orlando.

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Fun Facts About IoH’s New Tech Manager, Dillon Padgett

Favorite TV show: Fresh Prince of Bel Air (favorite actor: Will Smith!)

 

Favorite board game: Settlers of Catan

 

States I've been to, in the past 2 years: Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, New York, Colorado, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio. (Bonus: Banff, Alberta, CA)

 

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Meet Dillon Padgett, Our New Technology Manager

Dillon Padgett, veteran Legacy Retreat volunteer, has recently joined the Inheritance of Hope team in a staff role.

 

The self-described first-time “accidental volunteer” has now logged six retreats. His introduction to serving at Legacy Retreats was in the Spring of 2015, when a visit to his sister was interrupted by the funeral of a close family friend. The siblings detoured by Orlando on their way to the service in West Palm Beach, and Dillon told IoH Co-Founder and CEO Deric Milligan, “use me if you can.” Deric did just that, immediately plugging Dillon into the team of volunteers.

 

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Kendra Scott Gives Back and Inspires Hope in a Meaningful Way

Taylor Ethridge pauses as she thinks over a question. The Community Outreach and Event Planner for Kendra Scott Orlando is being interviewed about her recent experience volunteering at an Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat®. She is not getting off easy, “Can you explain more about how you were forever changed?” she is asked.

 

Taylor considers her words carefully but chooses one, “Hope.”

 

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Rebecca Milligan organizes her first fundraiser for IoH

The baby in our logo is all grown up.

 

The 3 Milligan Children Inheritance of Hope Logo
The “o” in hope is based on a photo of the Milligan children

 

Most of us in the Inheritance of Hope family are familiar with Rebecca Milligan, the youngest child of Co-Founders Deric and Kristen Milligan. Just seven months old when her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Rebecca, now almost 16, has grown up with the organization. A picture of the three Milligan children was the inspiration for our logo, and the smallest child on the right was created with the likeness of Rebecca in mind.

 

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