Jim and his wife, Kim, began their organ transplant journey in October 2014 due to complications with his liver function. He initially declined treatment because he wasn’t feeling sick and wanted to continue working towards his retirement. “There was no indication how bad it was,” Jim says. However, as time went on, Jim’s condition worsened, so much so that he was near death and his doctor recommended he turn to Hospice care. Neither Jim nor Kim accepted this diagnosis, so he began treatment. Towards the end his treatment regimen, his doctor informed him that he would need a liver transplant in order to sustain his life. The doctor referred him to a transplant hospital in Philadelphia where he would be tested and listed for a liver. For five months, Jim and his wife traveled back and forth from Virginia to Philadelphia for appointments.
During this time, the Princes’ planned a trip to visit Kim’s brother who was ill and receiving treatment in a hospital in Pittsburg. They planned to meet up with family friends Peggy and John during the trip, but when they arrived, they learned that John had suffered from a blood clot and was brought into surgery. Sadly, John did not survive and was pronounced brain dead later that afternoon. This was a terrible tragedy for their family, but John’s wife Peggy bravely decided to make the selfless decision to donate her husband’s organs—and she wanted Jim to receive John’s liver.
Shortly thereafter, Jim’s transplant team in Philadelphia flew to Pittsburg overnight to bring the liver back. After an incredibly unique chain of events and a brave family’s decision, Jim’s life-saving liver transplant surgery was successfully completed.
His story became a hospital favorite across different departments and floors. He stayed in the hospital for almost 12 days and then joined his wife Kim at the Howie’s House for the first month of his recovery. He attributes his strength during recovery to his faith and the Howie’s House’s warm, friendly environment. “Everybody’s so supportive [at the Howie’s House],” Jim says. “This is our house, and our family, too.”
“You never know the importance of how something we take for granted can change a life forever,” Kim reflects. “If you have a life, you can save a life. You never want to lose a loved one, and if there’s someone you can help, you should be willing to help someone else keep a loved one.”