Russ Tripp and his 27-year-old son, Jeremiah, are active members of the Inheritance of Hope community. Jeremiah has volunteered at three Legacy Retreats®, and Russ gives testimonies at IoH events. Both say Inheritance of Hope has deeply impacted their own lives, inspiring them to volunteer and share the experience with others.
The year 2010 was challenging for the Tripp family. Anne, Russ’s wife and Jeremiah’s mother, was diagnosed with stage III lung cancer in February. The disease had already metastasized,
with tumor cells spreading through Anne’s body, and she immediately began chemotherapy.
“We were pretty devastated. She felt like this was it,” Russ said. “But we’re Christians and we never give up.”
Russ’s niece discovered the Inheritance of Hope website and nominated the family for a Legacy Retreat®. In June, the Tripps flew from central Nebraska to Albany, NY. It was the first time some of Jeremiah’s siblings had been on an airplane.
Russ said he was initially skeptical of the all-expenses-paid retreat opportunity, but volunteers assisted the Tripps from the moment they arrived.
“It was more than 5-star treatment,” Russ said. “It was unbelievable.”
The Tripps met other families at the retreat who were also dealing with terminal illnesses. Russ said when she wasn’t resting, Anne would meet other attendees and “visit and visit and visit.” All members of the Tripp family learned they are not alone in their struggles by attending the Legacy Retreat® - all except Jeremiah, the one member of the Tripp family who did not travel to New York for the program.
“They got back from the retreat, and how they talked about it and what they were talking about and the things they said about the volunteers and the organization made it seem it was one of the most incredible things they had ever done,” Jeremiah said. “They told me several times that I needed to volunteer.”
Anne’s health continued to decline after the summer Inheritance of Hope retreat, but Jeremiah said it changed the way his family viewed the situation. Anne passed away two days before Christmas of 2010 at age 48.
“I think about the peace that everybody seemed to have at the retreat,” Russ said. "The exercises helped us prepare. Anne was 6 months from death and it helped us prepare.”
Within weeks of his mother’s death, Jeremiah volunteered at a Legacy Retreat® at Disney World. After watching the rest of his family attend a retreat from afar, Jeremiah experienced it himself from the perspective of a volunteer and was deeply moved.
“It was good therapy,” he said. “It ultimately changed my life forever.”
Jeremiah made it his goal to serve a retreat at least once every year. Jeremiah said the experience of losing his mother helps him relate and listen to kids with terminally ill parents. He has helped attendees along their spiritual journey and stays in touch with families after the retreats.
Russ and the family brought stories of their Inheritance of Hope retreat home to Jeremiah in 2010; now Jeremiah returns from volunteering with stories to tell his dad. He said the hard work volunteers give behind the scenes to put on a memorable retreat is rewarded by the opportunity to meet remarkable families.
In addition to volunteering, the Tripp family nominated the Felker family from Nebraska to attend a Legacy Retreat®, and Russ speaks on behalf of Inheritance of Hope at fundraisers. Two years after the retreat and Anne’s passing, Russ said the Tripp kids are doing well in school, and they hold onto their memories from their Inheritance of Hope experience.
“They helped my family so much, and they’re going to help a lot of people,” Russ said.