Gift of Life Howie’s House serves as a “home away from home” for transplant patients and their families by providing temporary, affordable lodging, and supportive services to those who travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for transplant-related care. Gift of Life Howie’s House is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.
For more than 48 years, Gift of Life Donor Program—a federally designated nonprofit organ procurement organization—has served as the link in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware, connecting patients awaiting organ and tissue transplants and those who donate these precious gifts of life.
Since 1974, Gift of Life Donor Program has coordinated more than 53,500 organs for transplant and approximately 2 million tissue transplants that have resulted from Gift of Life donors.
Recognizing the critical need for affordable accommodations and supportive services for transplant families, Gift of Life Donor Program and the Transplant Foundation collaborated to open a unique lodging facility for transplant candidates, recipients, family members, and living donors. That facility, Gift of Life Howie’s House, officially opened its doors to transplant families in July 2011 in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia.
A World Leader
For the 14th consecutive year, Gift of Life is the nation’s leading organ procurement organization, coordinating the most life-saving organs for transplant among all 57 U.S. OPOs. It represents an ongoing legacy of new beginnings from grieving families to those awaiting the “gift of life.”
In the Gift of Life service area—eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware—there are over 5,000 individuals waiting for a transplant, and it is likely that these candidates will have surgery at a transplant center served by Gift of Life Donor Program. Yet, many others living outside of this service area must travel to Philadelphia’s world-class hospitals for such treatment.
Meeting a Need
While transplant outcomes have improved, the anxiety and challenges associated with the transplantation process continue to significantly impact each family member both emotionally and financially. Transplant patients and their families experience a great deal of stress and anxiety during their journey toward the gift of life. Endless hours of diagnosis, treatment, and waiting for the call for an available organ, false hopes when an available organ is not an ideal match, and the financial burden of medical treatment paired with time away from work are just some of the trials they face when a transplant is the only answer to a life-threatening diagnosis.