When Tayler Chandler’s mother, Chena, was terminally ill with bone and lung cancer two summers ago, an organization called Inheritance of Hope paid the way for their family to take a trip to Disney World.
Now, Tayler is giving back to Inheritance of Hope by raising funds through a 5K walk/run scheduled for March 7 at Mill Race Park. She is hoping other families who are faced with the same situation can take a trip to either Disney World or New York through her contribution to Inheritance of Hope.
Chena died last summer, just before Tayler’s senior volleyball season at Columbus East. Tayler vividly remembers the trip they were able to take, along with father Chris Chandler and younger siblings McKenna and Seth, to Disney World in May 2013.
“It was a life-changing experience,” Tayler Chandler said. “We still keep in touch with the workers and the counselors from there, it was such a neat experience.”
The Inheritance of Hope trips prepare the family for when the terminally ill patient dies. During the trip, the family goes through counseling, but also gets to go to the parks for a day.
“They make it so that there’s no pressure on you,” Chris Chandler said. “They do everything for you. You talk to people who are going through the same thing.”
So when it came time to pick a senior project, Tayler knew exactly what she wanted to do. The Walk It Out for IOH 5K Walk/Run will be at 10 a.m. March 7.
“I never had to think about it,” Tayler Chandler said. “I wanted to do something that meant something and not just to get it done.
“I wanted it to be something that everyone could do and that my family could do,” she said. “I wanted people who couldn’t run (the 5K) to be able to walk it.”
Anyone can register for the event by going to inheritanceofhope.org/tayler. The entry fee is $25, and includes a T-shirt and Subway gift card. Registration also will be available the morning of the race, but preregistration is preferred.
Tayler has put together a video from the family’s trip to Disney that can be viewed at the inheritanceofhope.org/tayler website. The YouTube video had more than 440 views as of Saturday.
“She’s really taken this on and has done a great job,” said Deric Milligan, co-founder and executive director of Inheritance of Hope. “I think it’s a great way for her to honor her mother.
“One thing that makes her unique in that regard is being young,” he said. “I think that says a lot about her and the legacy that Chena and Chris have left for her,” he said. “That’s meaningful to us because we’re all about legacy, and to see that being lived out as a teenager in this way is I think very powerful.”
Milligan co-founded Inheritance of Hope in 2007 when his late wife was ill. Since then, the organization has hosted 250 families from 38 states, including 26 families from Indiana.
“They’re pretty nice,” Tayler said. “They’ve offered to help me with advertising and things. They’ve been awesome.”
Tayler, who is planning to play college volleyball, is hoping to raise at least $5,000, which would send a family on a trip to Disney World or New York City.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her with everything that’s going on, to do this for a nonprofit which has done so much for us,” Chris Chandler said. “It makes you a proud father at that point.”
What: Walk It Out for IOH 5K walk/run
When: 10 a.m. March 7
Where: Mill Race Park