Kathy Midkiff ran the Chicago marathon—her first—this past October in support of Inheritance of Hope (IoH). Her fundraising goal was to raise enough money to send an entire family on a Legacy Retreat®. Kathy’s daughter-in-law, Kerri Midkiff, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2009, and since then Kathy has seen firsthand the difficulties that IoH families face.
This post was originally shared by Inheritance of Hope co-founder Kristen Milligan in November of 2010. As we prepare for our largest New York City Legacy Retreat® yet (21 families), we look back at her reflections from the first Legacy Retreat® there.
"They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” -- Daniel 3:27
As I write this devotional, Inheritance of Hope is hosting its first Legacy Retreat® in New York City. My prayer is that the seven families gathered there are being blessed with memories, community, and support, just as my life has been changed by these blessings at previous Legacy Retreats®. This is the first Legacy Retreat® which I have not attended, and my heart hurts to miss meeting the families God has brought together this weekend. Instead I am home recovering from a difficult surgery, feeling broken and useless despite wonderful family support and an ever-patient and encouraging husband. I know those of you who have battled illness and the inevitable treatments know what I am feeling.
Jeff Carter attended the May 2014 Orlando Legacy Retreat® with his family. Since his wife was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, he has taken up endurance fitness, and he paid forward his Legacy Retreat® experience by using his Florida Ironman training to promote Inheritance of Hope. Check out this video interview:
When most people think about a Times Square countdown, they think of a giant ball being lowered from a tall pole in the center of New York City while millions of people count down to a new year.
Confetti. Music. Celebration.
Well, Inheritance of Hope is about to begin a Times Square countdown of our own, and we are going to focus on lifting the burdens and lightening the loads of 21 families from all over the country who have young children facing the loss of a parent.
Hurricane Matthew is quickly approaching Florida’s east coast, and a bunch of hope-inspirers are leaving their comfortable homes and flying, driving, swimming their way to Orlando to serve 19 families facing storms much bigger than this hurricane.
These families have been counting down the days until their Legacy Retreat, and no hurricane is going to spoil this priceless experience for them.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If they stumble, the first will lift up his friend—but woe to anyone who is alone when he falls and there is no one to help him get up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
One of the goals of Inheritance of Hope (IoH) is to connect families. Families who are grieving a life-changing diagnosis, struggling with fears, and facing new realities draw strength from each other as they share experiences and burdens. Through IoH, new friendships are often formed that offer a depth of understanding many families can’t find elsewhere.
The support that is shared is sometimes intangible and immeasurable, yet always tremendous. Sometimes, the support may be tangible yet also tremendously immeasurable, as was the case when Heather Crawford donated a wheelchair van to fellow IoH family Craig and Dana Loner.
|Strebe Family at their Legacy Retreat®|
The Strebe family—Jon, Donna, Luke, Ryan, and Emma Kate—attended an Orlando Legacy Retreat® in February 2014, shortly after Jon underwent a bone marrow transplant and thoracic surgery. At the time, he was battling stage 3 testicular cancer metastases to the lungs. Donna remembers that the trip to Orlando came at a very emotional time.
“It had been a tough year, and the volunteers served from the bottom of their souls and blessed us. We said from that point forward we would serve as long as we were able.”
Thanks to your continued support, Inheritance of Hope reached a new milestone at the Orlando Legacy Retreat® in January - it marked our 300th family served!
The retreat also marked another record - 12 family members served returned as volunteers!
The Gran Fondo New York is a grueling hundred-mile bike race with a cumulative elevation gain of 7,636 feet. Shannon Fogarty completed the race in May 2015 in support of Inheritance of Hope and raised over $15,000 – enough to send three families to the NYC Legacy Retreat® in November!
As a native New Yorker, Shannon stopped by last month’s NYC Legacy Retreat® to let us know he has a bigger goal this year. He wants complete the race in 7 hours or less (down from last year’s 8 hours, 25 minutes). He also wants to continue to pay it forward. Shannon would like to assemble a cycling team and has set a goal of raising $20,000 for Inheritance of Hope – enough to send four more families to an Orlando Legacy Retreat® in 2016, the same opportunity he and his family experienced in 2011.
It’s funny how this life works. Every once in a while, I get thrown an opportunity I’m not sure I deserve. Every once in a while, I receive a ridiculous opportunity to meet people who touch my life forever. I don’t claim to “get” this, but I am ever so thankful. And so was the Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat® weekend.
On May 22nd, I embarked on my first IoH retreat. To be honest, I was a bit freaked out. I was asked to be a counselor. Yeah, like the kind that, on her best day, may offer WISDOM to people. I was asked to help guide a group of 8 couples, each of whom was facing a life-threatening illness… each of whom had absolutely been through the medical, relationship, and spiritual ringers… each of whom had at least one young child, just a couple rooms down the hall.