On August 28, 2017, Alicia Hoover, a former Howie’s House guest, delivered a warm heartfelt speech about her transplant journey. She also described how Gift of Life Howie’s House supported her and her family throughout the whole process. Read below as Alicia addressed the attendees of the 13th Annual Kidney Open Golf Outing.
“First of all, I would like to thank you all for allowing me to be a part of this amazing fundraising event. The family house has done so much for myself and my family over the last few years. They have become and continue to be a second family to all of us.
My father and I were both diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. This lung disease is terminal. After diagnosis life expectancy is on average 2-4 years. The only treatment currently available is a lung transplant.
On March 1, 2013 two days before my dad’s 46th birthday he received his call and was on his way to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia to receive his new set of lungs. The transplant was successful, however after a 6 month recovery in the hospital many complications my dad lost his battle and passed away on August 21,2013.
At the time of his passing, I was almost 5 months pregnant with my 3rd child. From that point forward I was on oxygen full time. I went as high as 20 liters of oxygen at some points just to walk across the living room. I ended up going into respiratory failure and having an emergency c-section at only 32 weeks in my pregnancy. I delivered a healthy 4lb baby boy. We named him Chance Edward. After 2 weeks in the NICU Chance came home with us to join his big brother Jace and his sister Kyrstin.
Less than a year later I was ready to begin my transplant journey. I was evaluated and placed on the list at Temple University in Philadelphia awaiting a double lung transplant. I waited about 1 ½ years and finally my call came. I received my transplant on February 29,2016. As you can tell my surgery was a success. During all of these surgeries and appointments my mom and my husband, Dave, stayed at the Howie’s House while we did our job in the hospital on the road to recovery from our transplants.
The Howie’s House offers so much to its patrons that stay there. We have met and continue to meet so many amazing people waiting on transplants or recovering from their transplants.
And it’s not just the patients, it is their family and loved ones as well. The Howie’s House allows all these people to come together and create a great support system for the patients but also for the caregivers. I have been on both ends and I truly believe the caregivers have a way harder job than the patient in my eyes. The Howie’s House offers support groups for the caregivers which is a huge necessity. The staff will go above and beyond for any one of us staying there.
They are genuine and care about all the families that come through there. To them you are not just a number. They know you. They ask how your children are doing back home. They know you by name. I love going there and meeting so many people, sharing our stories, eating dinner with so many people who are stronger than they ever thought they could be. I am thankful for the Howie’s House as it has not just offered a place of shelter for my family but provided me with a whole other family that I love and care about as if they were my own blood relatives. Thank you to all of you for your time and generous donations that benefit this amazing home for so many people. Without the Howie’s House there would be patients and their families lost among the health care system not knowing which way to go. The Howie’s House gives them a sense of direction and allows them to meet others that are going through the same situations so they tend to guide one another on each journey. All of you are amazing for being here today and if you take anything from what I have said today, please walk away knowing that the money you raised today is going to an amazing cause for some incredibly strong individuals. You are making it possible for the Howie’s House to offer an environment that is safe to people going through extremely rough times in their lives and again for that, I thank you.”