“We rise by lifting others up.” – Robert Ingersoll
Life Leadership is making a significant difference through its Life on Life Initiative. Thousands of Members have bought into the cause and continue to go above and beyond in their efforts to serve their communities in unique ways.
On Saturday, November 7th, 2015, volunteers from Life Leadership organized a day of love and service for the residents at Fair Haven in Indianapolis, Indiana. The day started with a Thanksgiving meal where Amanda Milner, the founder of Fair Haven, shared her story and how the organization came to be:
Imagine receiving a life-threatening diagnosis requiring weeks of treatment far from your home, family and job. Imagine the relief of finding housing near the hospital at no cost to you, and the comfort of knowing you are not alone.
That is the mission of Fair Haven Foundation. Fair Haven exists to share the love of Jesus Christ with out-of-town patients and families of patients being treated at Indiana University Health (IUH) Hospital, IUH Methodist Hospital, and IUH Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis.
Fair Haven provides free, temporary housing and compassionate support to these families, creating a “haven” amidst the storm of serious health issues. The name comes from the Mediterranean island of “Fair Havens” where a storm-tossed ship once found refuge (Acts 7:28).
Amanda Milner was provided such a haven when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma four weeks after her husband left her with a two-year-old and one-year-old. Her father purchased a home for her near the hospital and her church family and friends rallied together to help her in her time of need. Inspired by the love that she had been shown, Amanda founded Fair Haven in 2007. Since then, Fair Haven has provided more than 10,000 nights of lodging to over 400 patients & families.
Over 20 Life Leadership Members participated in this Life on Life Initiative to provide assistance where it was needed at the Fair Haven apartments. The group split into three crews (a painting crew, a cleaning crew and a maintenance crew) to accomplish all of the tasks that needed to be done between 8 apartments.
The cleaning crew provided deep cleaning in three of the apartments. The maintenance crew worked on kitchen cabinet door hardware, sliding glass door hardware, hung a window treatment, switched out dining room lights, installed a grab bar in a bathroom and other small tasks to improve the condition of the apartments. The painting crew added wall color to one of the apartments and touched up painting on trim in the apartments.
“I was part of the painting crew and when we were let into one of the apartments, Amanda told us that the new occupants would be arriving shortly to drop off their things. Sure enough, before Amanda even left they had arrived. Amanda helped them get settled – there were 4 people, two older parents, and two grown children. During their introductions it became known that they were there because their son was receiving treatment for cancer. They had put their things down and were preparing to leave. The mother was at the table fiddling with papers and I was painting nearby. As I watched her, I felt led to say, “May your time in this place bring your peace and wholeness.” She looked up at me and I knew she needed a hug. She needed someone to “see” her in that moment. So, I approached her and asked her, “May I hug you?” And she nodded yes and hugged me. As she did that she began to cry. At first she hugged lightly, patting my back, and said, “Thank you,” somewhat apologetically. I said, “It’s ok, just hug me…it’s ok.” and I hugged her tighter as she began to sob. And we just stood there in the dining room hugging, both of us crying. I could feel her pain and knew she needed to release her fears. It was a healing moment. When we let go she apologized and I said, “You have nothing to be sorry about! You are doing an amazing job, no one should have to go through this, and you are so strong.” She smiled lightly and wiped tears. I gave her a tissue and squeezed her arm lightly saying, “Be blessed, my friend.” I then went back to painting, and she left with her family talking about how “sweet the people are here.” – Kristine Cassady (Life Member)
“Serving at Fair Haven certainly gave me a new perspective and appreciation for my life and the problems I face. As I go about living my life these patients and families are living many times across the country from their homes, families and friends to seek treatment from a life threatening illness. I am so grateful to see those we were serving smile and ease their burdens even for just a few moments.” – Kristin Jarvis (Life Member)
“Thanks so much to everyone at Life Leadership who came out to serve at Fair Haven on Saturday! It was great to meet all of you! We appreciate all of the cleaning, painting, repairing, and everything you did to make our apartments a “haven” for our patients and their families. Thank you for making a difference for them!” – Amanda Milner (Executive Director at Fair Haven)
Life Leadership is so proud to have Members of the community who are not afraid to show kindness and compassion where it is needed most. Thank you to the volunteers who participated from the Patriot Revolution team under the leadership of Marc and Kristine Militello and Chris and Kristen Schill.