The families Isaiah Douglas has volunteered for consider him a hero, but the soft-spoken college freshman shrugs off their praise with a “that’s what I’m here for” attitude. Known as patient, kind, and wise beyond his 18 years, Isaiah has a knack for connecting with the most nervous and shy of teens coming to Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatsⓇ.
Share our life-changing Legacy Retreat® experiences!
In January 2018, fashion designer and philanthropist, Kendra Scott provided a Legacy Retreat® for 10 families facing a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. IoH is dear to Kendra’s heart, and she and her company are quickly becoming dear to the heart of IoH.
|Kendra (left) and Holley (right)|
In our final installment of this series, Co-Founder and CEO Deric Milligan talks with Communications Manager Angie Howell about his memories, and what has changed in the past ten years.
IoH: What are some of the memories that stand out to you the most from the August 2008 Legacy RetreatⓇ to Lake George?
Deric: I remember each of the families and the instant connection we all felt because we were going through similar situations. The bond was simply incredible, and unlike anything I had ever experienced. One of the participants, Mark Contreras, had ALS. I remember his incredible strength and peace. Even though he struggled to speak, everyone was patient in allowing him to finish his thoughts. I remember riding the Comet, a wooden roller coaster, time after time with Mark Heinzelman as if there wasn't a care in the world, even as he battled cancer. I remember Shannon Dodd gleefully riding rides with sons Jakob and Tae just over a month before she died.
In February 2014, Carol Lacert accompanied her daughter Marci Guay and granddaughter Hannah Guay to an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ in Orlando. At the time, Marci, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, was enjoying good health, but like many of our families, they were uncertain--not just about the retreat, but about the future that lay beyond. In particular, Hannah, then 13, had fears she could not easily express.
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.”
The baby in our logo is all grown up.
|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.
Angie Howell first volunteered for Inheritance of Hope in 2012 and has been involved ever since. “Like most volunteers,” she says, “I knew I would come back!”
Angie was introduced to IoH by her former Davidson College classmate, Co-Founder Kristen Milligan. Kristen and Angie were on the same freshman hall in 1991-1992. The two did not keep in touch after graduation, but at a fifteen-year reunion, Angie happened to hear Kristen’s name during a prayer.
Since 2008, Aaron Hedges has been part of Inheritance of Hope in one way or another--working at retreats, administering technology systems, managing human resources, and much more. The former double major in math and Spanish clearly has a unique set of skills, ones that are critically valuable to IoH.
|Aaron at a recent Legacy Retreat in Orlando, Florida|
Recently, Southwest Airlines donated 50 round-trip tickets, valued at $20,000, to Inheritance of Hope. This gift allows us to serve more families while meeting the goals of achieving unparalleled financial stewardship and providing ease of transportation to those for whom travelling is often most difficult.
Toward the end of 2017, our Events Director, Betsy Ogren, mentioned we were in need of someone to make wooden crosses as our previous volunteer is no longer able to keep up with our growing IoH Family. These handmade treasures are gifted to parents at our Legacy Retreats, one for each child. Upon hearing of this need I remembered that one of my interns from several years back had mentioned she volunteered at a wood shop where they made toys for kids in the hospital, so I texted her to find out what the name of that shop was. She said it was "ToyMakers of East Lake." I did some research on their website and immediately thought, "This is the perfect partnership!" and quickly began drafting an email to present our need.
I sent the email on a Sunday and heard back from Bob (the "CEO") the next day! He was agreeable to our request but needed to run it by some of his team and said he would get back to me, which he did on Tuesday. He said they would be happy to make crosses for us and offered three different sizes?! This is like just the warm up, it gets so much better!