“One chapter in the story of my husband’s terminal illness began with attending a Legacy Retreat® hosted by Inheritance of Hope. It was one of the lights that shone brightly during our dark days! There it was. The hope. That retreat was unconditional love and extravagant grace in action. It helped to reframe our suffering—we were not alone!”

—Julie, mom to Sam and wife to Ken. Ken passed away a year after their family’s Inheritance of Hope New York City Legacy Retreat®, when Sam was just 11.


Did you know that 1 in 20 children will lose a parent by the age of 16?

The foundations necessary for a fruitful life are laid by a child’s family, and every family deserves a legacy. That is why Inheritance of Hope walks alongside diagnosed parents, caregivers, and children through uncertainty and fear with the purpose of finding a place of hope. We serve any family with children ages 18 and younger in which a parent has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness— families from different places, backgrounds, and dynamics. Families from 41 states have experienced a life-changing Legacy Retreat®R in locations including Colorado, New York, California, and Florida.


When Kristen Milligan was barely 30, she was diagnosed with a rare terminal cancer. Her prognosis did not take into account that she was the mother of a preschooler, toddler, and baby. As she and her husband, Deric, struggled with their new reality, they quickly realized Kristen’s illness was taking a toll on each of them, including their son and two daughters. In 2007, the Milligans founded Inheritance of Hope to help other families and their own.

Kristen and Deric took control of what they could: the legacy they yearned to leave their children. For the Milligans, this took shape in four primary forms: making intentional memories together, preparing gifts and letters for their children to receive after Kristen died, creating an empathetic community of support, and, most importantly, teaching that we have a source of hope independent of our circumstances.


We strive to inspire hope in each family we serve by loving them uniquely and wholeheartedly. Online materials and literature round out the services provided, but Inheritance of Hope’s signature offering is the Legacy RetreatR, an all-expenses-paid experience where hurting families create lifelong memories while receiving tools to navigate the challenges of a parent’s terminal illness.

It’s more than a trip. We bring people together from across the country, people who actually understand the challenges of raising children while fighting a terminal illness. We provide legacy development resources, volunteers who are eager to help with everything from childcare to carrying luggage, and hope—all to help families thrive despite the uncertainty they face. Making fun memories together is a priority, and sessions are provided for each member of the family—diagnosed parent, caregiver, and children of all ages. Licensed counselors are also available throughout the event.

Through honest conversations, strangers become friends. The emphasis on family broadens as we share acceptance and love that shows every retreat-goer the heart of the Inheritance of Hope family and ultimately the family of God.

As a faith-based organization, we welcome all while serving under the core principles of the Christian faith, because that is the wellspring of our hope.


Our family is full of volunteers and donors who make a difference in a variety of ways. Team Inheritance of Hope is comprised of athletes raising money leading up to an endurance event. Families have organized garage sales, and kids have hosted bake sales, movie parties, and more to help serve families facing the loss of a parent. Volunteers on Legacy Retreats must be at least 16 years of age and complete an application process. Much of our funding comes from individuals who have a heart for those who are hurting. There is room at the table for everyone!