On May 8, 2015, I traveled to New York City to receive the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. As I prepared for the trip, I thought of all the people I would have loved to join me to share in our accomplishment together. I decided I would write an account of the weekend. When we started Inheritance of Hope eight years ago, I never dreamed of us getting this kind of recognition. I can’t wait to see where we will be eight years from now!
Meet people who make inspiring hope possible!
The Gran Fondo New York is a grueling 98.54-mile bike ride with maximum grades of 18% and elevations reaching up to 1,279 feet. Racers must be extremely fit and endure months of arduous training in preparation for the event. Shannon Fogarty is ready, both physically and mentally. On May 17th, he will take on the challenge of the Gran Fondo in support of Inheritance of Hope.
He wasn’t always a biker, but in the past few years Shannon has lost 100 pounds and changed his lifestyle to become healthier. A bike that once just sat in the garage now logs up to 90 miles each weekend and a few more during the course of each week. It shares space and road time with a professional Cannondale racing bike. Arguably, Shannon, like the other racers, is in the best shape of his life. He also has an inoperable brain tumor. He is riding not just in spite of it, but because of it.
“Inspiring” is the word mentioned over and over by coaches, teammates, reporters, and friends, who all say that Tayler Chandler’s work ethic, perseverance, and cheerful disposition permeate everything she does. The Columbus Indiana East High School senior has been widely recognized as a top volleyball player, but Tayler is a standout both on and off the court.
Tayler’s mother, Chena, was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2011. During her illness, Chena and her husband, Chris, modeled strength and faith to their three children: Tayler, McKenna, and Seth. In spite of cancer, Chena remained optimistic and was very present in each moment--going to every sporting event her children participated in that she physically could attend. Chena passed away on July 21, 2014. Her legacy is remembered and honored by her family, as they continue to love each other, be present, and maintain a strong faith.