One day someone asked me if I was interested in sponsoring a candle for the upcoming Relay for Life event in honor or memory of someone with cancer. Afraid to answer, I simply agreed and took the paperwork home. I asked myself, “Do I know anyone with cancer?” Nobody in my family had cancer, none of my friends had cancer, none of my friends’ family members had cancer. I didn’t know anyone with cancer. But they made it seem like I should?
March 18 of this year would have been Inheritance of Hope co-founder Kristen Milligan’s 40th birthday. Though something about that number creates discomfort for those reaching it, Kristen was not the sort of person to be bothered by a number. I know I am not alone in wishing that she had reached that milestone and many more. Some people joke that they are “39 and holding” rather than
Today we grieve the death of Kristen Milligan, co-founder of Inheritance of Hope. Kristen died on Friday, October 26, 2012. Hers was a life well-lived.
After retiring from her first career of training guide dogs for the visually impaired and deaf-blind to become a full-time mom, Kristen was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer in stage 4 on March 18, 2003 -- her 30th birthday. For the next 10 years, Kristen was dedicated to helping families navigate life-threatening illnesses, beginning with her own children. She wrote A Train's Rust, A Toy Maker's Love to communicate about illness and death with her then four-year-old daughter Ashlea, two-year-old son Luke, and seven-month-old daughter Rebecca. She wrote another book for children and one for adults about her experiences. Kristen also was a poised speaker who shared her story with audiences around the United States and internationally.