The phrase “IoH family” is used often by Inheritance of Hope, so pervasively that one might think it is thrown around casually. That could not be further from the case. Examples abound of those who have embraced the IoH family as an extension of their own, but one of the very best is the Dix family. Dan, Brenda, David, Rebecca, and Michael have served IoH with a level of commitment that most people reserve for only their own closest relatives.
Holley Kitchen battled metastatic breast cancer before losing her fight in 2016. She put her family first. She adored her two sons, Bryson and Colby, and made the most of her time with them. She learned to live intentionally and inspired those around her to do the same. Holley’s sister and friends share some things for the boys to know about who their mom was.
Inheritance of Hope spoke with two of Holley Kitchen’s sisters, Missy Hobbs and Teri Larcom. They shared with us three pieces of advice based on how Holley lived out her last months. Holley battled metastatic breast cancer and passed away in January 2016. She serves on as a champion for a researching a cure and building an intentional legacy. We celebrate her on "Holley Day", October 13.
Of all the things Holley Kitchen wanted to be—wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend—the role she is most widely known for is something no one wants to be: the face of metastatic breast cancer. Like most true heroes, Holley was an ordinary woman facing extraordinary circumstances. How she soared beyond those confines will forever define her as a champion of this disease.
Fourteen-year-old Ethan Harned would prefer that attention be on Inheritance of Hope (IoH) instead of on himself, but his is a story that needs to be told. Ethan has raised $526 by selling wristbands, and the seed money came entirely out of his own savings. Most adults who hear about his initiative are surprised and ask what led him to use his own money. Ethan’s reaction is surprise too—that more people are not doing what he has done.
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.
Andrea Kent was not a runner until 2000, when her husband of 20 years died unexpectedly. She began to run in order to cope with her grief, and explains, “I didn’t know what to do, so I just started running.” Within a year, she ran her first marathon. Now, at age 59, she has completed ten marathons, numerous half-marathons, and a number of triathlons, racking up awards and accolades along the way.
Andrea’s next race is the Big Sur International Marathon in California on Sunday, April 30th.
Repeat volunteer Nate Most first heard of Inheritance of Hope at a small tractor dealership in his hometown of Brady, Nebraska. A rancher, Nate was simply doing business and was surprised when a stranger who had come in for oil approached him and told about how his own family had been blessed by an IoH Legacy Retreat®. The story resonated with Nate since his wife of 25 years, Amy, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“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.