Marriage is one of those things sometimes described as “a marathon, not a sprint.” In that case, Tonya King and Tim Mahoney are more than ready! The couple recently ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as part of Team IoH, and that finish line was just their beginning.
Being a big ‘ole family, we just love to welcome new folks in and celebrate all the ways people find Inheritance of Hope! Here are the stories of how a few recent volunteers became involved.
|Nine new volunteers reported for duty in Orlando on our August retreat! (L to R: Jaci Ranieri, Taylor Andersen, Leah Stapleton, Kent Hagen, Jenn Valenti, Cael Thompson, Ana Liz Greene, Ashton Guerra, not pictured: Lynsey Brock)|
Which of our veteran volunteers was once pulled over by police while conducting official IoH business?
If you guessed attorney Rusty Hedges, you are correct! He might practice law, but he’s not above it! While serving on an Orlando retreat, Rusty was driving a couple to their special date night out on the town when the blue lights started flashing.
Ashlea Milligan’s parents Kristen and Deric founded Inheritance of Hope together after Kristen was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Ashlea has perspective that resonates with the broader IoH family, and through her writing, hopes to shed light on issues surrounding terminal illness and those who are left behind in its wake. She wrote her first installment in this series earlier, and continues to share her thoughts.
Coming to college and discussing childhood with my friends has been a fascinating exploration. My roommates and I come from different backgrounds. While we all grew up under similar circumstances, all American, UNC Chapel Hill-bound children, there are variances that I find striking. Listening to them recount their childhoods is always slightly surprising, and brings out the nuances of my childhood that were contrary to those of my friends. I have begun to recognize how different growing up with a sick parent actually makes your life - the before, after, and during.
|Ashlea and her mom, Kristen|
James Herriot, a British veterinarian of the last century, tells a story about a cow that had ingested some wire, which would have to be removed. The vet performing the operation was on a big kick about cleanliness and presentation, so he arrives at the farm in new, sharp clothes and then dons a “brilliantly white smock.” He has his assistants lay out all the polished tools of surgery on brand new metal trays. The farmer asks if he can watch, and the vet is only too glad to show off for an audience.
He cuts through skin and muscle and arrives at the cow’s first stomach (they have four). Before he can cut open the stomach, it bulges out through the opening in the skin. He presses it back in, but it comes out again, bigger! The vet suspects gas is causing the stomach to expand. They go back and forth several times, with more stomach coming out each time, until finally it is so large outside the cow that he can barely hold it with both arms wrapped around it, and it’s at his eye level! It takes two men to wrestle the thing down, at which point the vet quickly makes his cut.
Mikki Jeschke describes her ten years with breast cancer as an “up and down journey.” Some of her journey has been by boat. Dragon Boat, that is.
In 2009, Mikki underwent a mastectomy and fought through subsequent radiation and chemotherapy. Three years later, she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in her bones. Soon after, the former student adviser now turned amateur paddler found Inheritance of Hope through a friend. The Jeschke family--Mikki, husband Doug, and sons Benjamin (then eight) and Daniel (then five) attended the May 2012 Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ to Orlando.
You’ve heard us say it before: IoH is a family. And what do families have? Reunions!
|Four IoH families: the Boisses, Earles, Carters, and Suttons reunite in Washington|
I didn’t know Holley Kitchen but I visualize her face when I hear her name. She has cute blonde hair and expressive eyes. When I first searched online for metastatic breast cancer in 2016, her powerful video was one of the first advocacy pieces that I saw. I cried at the computer when I watched and then I called my husband to sit beside me so we could watch it together. I handed him a Kleenex. Like Holley, I was a young mother that will be fighting cancer until my journey on earth is over.
|Holley Kitchen used her voice for good|
At Inheritance of Hope (IoH), we talk a lot about legacy. We know firsthand that when faced with a life-threatening illness, nothing can be controlled, except for how we want to be remembered. On the fourth annual Kendra Scott “Holley Day,” Holley Kitchen’s sisters share that today, she is still remembered as a spunky and fun-loving “momma bear” who loved her children with deep intent and purpose.