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Vote now for your favorite art piece below to support the many transplant families staying at Gift of Life Howie’s House. Each contribution of $5 will be equal to one vote. All proceeds will benefit Gift of Life Howie’s House. Thank you to all the talented artists who have submitted their pieces for this special fundraiser.

Review the submissions below and vote today! There is no limit on voting. The voting period will end on April 30, 2024. Submission Theme Prompt: “Kindness through Giving”


Untitled

by Patricia Pavlick

“What better way to give kindness than with a single flower? You do not need a whole bouquet to impress someone’s heart. One single flower can mean the world to someone having a bad day. Kindness is not expensive. It just needs to come from the heart.”

Postcard

by Jeff Feeny

“Receiving a “Postcard” from a loved one is always a pleasant surprise. The sender takes the time to find a special card and carefully hand writes their message in the available space. They talk about the wonderful places they are sending from and want to share their experiences with you. This written act of kindness instantly transports the recipient to a different place and time where they feel connected and loved. My mixed media painting titled “Postcard” symbolizes this lost art of giving and sharing. I took a photo of my artwork and subtly added the GLHH logo. Then I wrote a paragraph about why I chose this subject, albeit from the thoughts of a young person. The two pink heart gems were added last to represent the circuitous journey the postcard makes.”

Untitled

by Patricia Pavlick

“What better way to give kindness than with a single flower? You do not need a whole bouquet to impress someone’s heart. One single flower can mean the world to someone having a bad day. Kindness is not expensive. It just needs to come from the heart.”


Postcard

by Jeff Feeny

“Receiving a “Postcard” from a loved one is always a pleasant surprise. The sender takes the time to find a special card and carefully hand writes their message in the available space. They talk about the wonderful places they are sending from and want to share their experiences with you. This written act of kindness instantly transports the recipient to a different place and time where they feel connected and loved. My mixed media painting titled “Postcard” symbolizes this lost art of giving and sharing. I took a photo of my artwork and subtly added the GLHH logo. Then I wrote a paragraph about why I chose this subject, albeit from the thoughts of a young person. The two pink heart gems were added last to represent the circuitous journey the postcard makes.”


Tree of Life Cares are Future

by Laverne Clark

“I’m LaVerne Clark, heart transplant recipient 12/03. I guess you can say I’m a big supporter in sharing my GOL story. I love going to the hospital and talking to the many doctors and nurses, about how important their jobs are. My goal is to make people think about life after death and how they can save lives by becoming a donor. I would just like to give hope to someone waiting for their gift of life, a second chance.”


Angels Wings Brings Many Blessings

by Laverne Clark

“When a person dye or gains their wings by becoming a organ donor. That one person can bless so many people, this is all apart of “Kindness through Giving”. What’s a better gift to give.”


Early Hudson

by Felicia Casey

“I offer them as reminders of our personal places of joy. Many find the ocean, travel and the earth’s majestic forests, to be gift churches for the soul. Each of us has a specific yearning to find and be comforted by that one place that makes us feel so good. It is kindness to help each other find these good places to rest.”


Earth to Sky

by Felicia Casey

“I offer them as reminders of our personal places of joy. Many find the ocean, travel and the earth’s majestic forests, to be gift churches for the soul. Each of us has a specific yearning to find and be comforted by that one place that makes us feel so good. It is kindness to help each other find these good places to rest.”


Ocean One

by Felicia Casey

“I offer them as reminders of our personal places of joy. Many find the ocean, travel and the earth’s majestic forests, to be gift churches for the soul. Each of us has a specific yearning to find and be comforted by that one place that makes us feel so good. It is kindness to help each other find these good places to rest.”


Untitled

by Karen Carns

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Hands Across Time

by Patricia Busarello

“Kindness through giving someone a moment of our time can make all the difference in how their day unfolds.  It may be a smile or the touch of a warm hand.  This work is colored pencil with gold leaf.  It is based on a photo of my mother with Emily, one of her many great-grandchildren.”


Hearts and Love

by Rejena Buckley

“My husband received a heart transplant from Jefferson Health in 2023, he spent most of the year in the hospital and then the rehab facility. Our family has stayed at Howie’s House, we engage in support groups and various other activities with GOL. We have seen firsthand how the impact of volunteer support and funding is key to the needed strength and support for both patients and their support families during these journeys. The hearts in this painting signify the gift of new life my husband received from the heart transplant but also the hearts of so many who touched him along the way. The white marks, swirls and dots signify the challenges – ups and downs, the curve balls, the blood, sweat, tears, surgeries, medications, support systems, and procedures we have faced yet overcome with the strength we have received from all the wonderful support, care, actions of the medical staff, support teams, friends, and family along the path. We are grateful for the kindness of others that allows us to all have a happy life. Noteworthy recollection while painting this piece were the kind words of thanks my husband shared with the transplant surgeon during the hospital recovery for his new heart; the surgeon’s humble response, “that’s my job, just do something good with it!”. This is our reminder of the love received with this new heart through the kindness of the people that surround us. A little love of what we do each day gives love to all in many ways.”


Be the Change

by Rejena Buckley

“My husband received a heart transplant from Jefferson Health in 2023, he spent most of the year in the hospital and then the rehab facility. Our family has stayed at Howie’s House, we engage in support groups and various other activities with Gift of Life. The Gift of Life services are keys to maintaining strength, stability, balance and minimize financial strains associated. As my husband continues to recover, I painted this to remind him of the journey…one day at a time. Every positive thought and act of kindness given and appreciation for those received strengthen him on this journey of life. I also added flowers as I love gardening and cutting our fresh flowers for him, however after transplant he can no longer have fresh flowers, therefore this was my act of giving beautiful flowers for him to enjoy. It’s the little things that become big gifts!”


Light of a New Day

by Rejena Buckley

“My husband received a heart transplant from Jefferson Health in 2023, he spent most of the year in the hospital and then the rehab facility. The cost associated with traveling to the city, the travel time, the need to have close resources, support facilities/people as well as food on the go can be incredibly draining financially as well as mentally and physically for patients and caregivers. Our family has stayed at Howie’s House, we engage in support groups and various other activities with GOL. We appreciate the services and are thankful for the love and support we have received from the community and want to give back. I painted this picture as I looked out of my husband’s rehab window at night overlooking the Philly city lights. It looked so bright and vibrant. I am grateful and appreciate every day looking out the window into the city lights thinking of the new life, new light, new day the gift of kindness from our donor family and transplant team have provided us.”


Sunrise on the Beach

by Mindy Ritzman

“Thanks to a generous organ donor, I received a kidney transplant in September of 2019. A few years ago, I took up a hobby called diamond painting. Recently, I gifted my largest custom diamond painting to a very dear person, my transplant nurse. He captures beautiful pictures on his way to work in the morning, and what better way to display them than through a custom diamond painting. Taking nearly a year to complete, each diamond drill was meticulously placed on the canvas and mounted on a board. The nurse supported me through the highs and lows of my transplant journey and experienced a significant loss last year, the loss of his wife. When I learned about this, I realized that this diamond art piece held much more meaning than just being a gift. I don’t refer to this piece as a work of art because it’s truly a work of heart. What you put out into the world has its way of coming back to you!”


Remy

by Nicole McGonigal

“For the past year, I have been getting to know horses at a wonderful establishment. When I first arrived, I was nervous to be around such large creatures. But as I grew to know them more, my nervousness disappeared as I found these beautiful horses to be so gentle, kind, and giving. The horses were offering an opportunity for my child to learn, become brave, and be more comfortable in her skin. They were allowing me to learn more about animals and how to care for them. They are so very patient with us as we get to know them more. I appreciate the kindness they give us each time we visit.”


Kindness Giving Art Angel

by Suzanne and Katelynn Mancuso

“This is a joyful art angel the background is created by Katelynn who makes autistic abstract art in acrylics. The foreground is an acrylic overlay created by Suzanne. She guards the world and her values are kindness giving and love.”


Warmth

by Carol Taylor-Kearney

“This painting is based on a real-life photograph taken at a local fair’s Pet Show. Among the participants was this foundling, a very young kitten, and her rescuer. You can sense the devotion between the two, an exchange of warmth and kindness in giving.”

Medium: Oil on canvas


Snuggles

by Carol Taylor-Kearney

“This painting is based on a real-life photograph of two sisters readying for a nap. As the older sister snuggles her baby sister, and the baby sister snuggles her doll, we sense the gift of kindness that personal contact, a touch, a hug, brings to others and ourselves.”

Medium: Oil on canvas Size: 8 inches x 8 inches


Untitled

by R.M. Thejan Kovider Rathnayake

“Being kind to the poor and helpless animals by giving foods to fulfill their hunger.”


The Path

by Liz Nathan

“This piece is titled ‘The Path’. It’s a special place I’ve been to numerous times. I always think of nature as a powerful healing force.  I think the image especially represents a serene and supportive environment. When you allow yourself the gift of calm reflection you are engaged in self-care and being kind to yourself.”


From Loss, Comes Hope.

by Kelly Brown

“My name is Kelly Brown and my son Matthew received a heart transplant when he was five, almost ten years ago.  He is thriving with his new heart.  We live in Virginia and we travel to Philadelphia quarterly for follow-up appointments with his transplant team.  We always look forward to staying at Howie’s House.  For the past ten years, Howie’s House has been our home-away-from-home.  The wonderful staff and fellow guests have made our transplant journey much less stressful.  Thank you, Gift of Life!
My painting depicts the transition from the darkness and pain of the loss of life to the brightness and hope of a second chance at life for the recipients.”


Moon and Stars

by Estelle Carraz-Bernabei 

“Love you to the moon and back. Kindness through Giving. LOVE The universal language . We all need more love ❤️  moon and stars represents that LOVE is far and wide as big as the Moon and as far as the stars.”

Medium: Painting acrylic and oil.


Orchid Variation 2

by Sandra Benhaim

My watercolor and charcoal on paper painting, Orchid Variation 2, is my entry for submission to the “Kindness through Giving” art contest/fundraiser. I’m offering and giving this visual still life representation of a spray of small orchid flowers as a hopefully uplifting gesture of kindness. I learned of the contest/fundraiser through my friend Carol Taylor-Kearney, who had the connection with Gift of Life Howie’s House when she underwent a kidney transplant.

Medium: Watercolor and charcoal on archival paper Size: 12″ x 9″


Teddy my Love

by Alainna Swift

“This painting displays my desire to create a fun, cutesy, and comforting image. My piece is a multicolored, adorable teddy bear with wings! I am fond of many creative styles, and as of lately I have been interested in adorable images and products such as stuffed animals, pastel colors, and bejeweled things. I typically do not always create these kinds of things, so I wanted to fully dive in and express myself with my current cute interests. It has been freeing and comforting making the piece, and seeing its final result makes me smile. To me, teddy bears represent a gift of love. They are fondly regarded as a token of love, for any person or age. To receive a teddy bear, is to receive love. And for my submission, I choose to give to you the kindness and comfort that a teddy brings. I am connected to Gift of Life Howie’s House through my mother who is a two-time kidney transplant survivor, and dear family friends, Bill & Mary Corazo.”




Annette, Nico and Cristina at Gift of Life Howie’s House

Four-year-old Nicholas, affectionately known as Nico, has been a fighter from day one. At just eight weeks old, he was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare liver disease causing severe liver damage and scarring in infants.

Cristina, Nico’s mother, and Annette, his grandmother, are from Puerto Rico and were informed that the local hospital couldn’t treat Nico’s condition. They embarked on a long journey to Philadelphia to seek the best care.

Discovering the House didn’t happen immediately for the family. Initially staying with relatives in Pittsburgh, they commuted back and forth for all of Nico’s appointments.

After months of waiting, Nico received his life-saving liver transplant at just one year old. It was only after his transplant that Crista and Anette came to stay at the House and said they instantly felt at home.

The House provided Nico and his family a place to heal, grow, and connect with other families with similar journeys.

“I was very paranoid, anxious, and depressed, but when we came here and saw all the people who are going through the same process that we are, I was able to feel calmer and more relaxed. We know that we are not alone.”

Cristina

Nico’s mother

Following his discharge from the hopsital, the House lit the way for Nico to experience many important firsts. Just two weeks after his transplant, Nico reminded his family of his fighting spirit and took his first steps in the playroom.

“He loves the playroom downstairs, that’s where he learned to walk. And we have not stopped him since.”

Cristina

Nico’s mother

Nico and his outgoing personality can often be heard running around the House, charming both guests and staff. “He made a lot of friends here,” Cristina says.

For Nico’s family, the House alleviated many of the stresses tied to the transplant journey. From figuring out what to eat for dinner to the added financial pressures, the House allowed them to focus solely on Nico’s recovery.

“Having the opportunity to improve your quality of life and stay relaxed is so important, and here you only have to worry about your recovery.”

Annette

Nico’s Grandmother

Both Cristina and Annette expressed their gratitude for the people who contribute financially to support the House.

“When people donate, it makes the journey easier and more comfortable. They don’t know but they are changing lives here with donations because there are people here that depend on that support.”

Cristina

Above all, Cristina and Annette are most grateful for Nico’s organ donor for giving him the gift of life, and to all the organ donor heroes that make the miracle of transplant possible.

By making a gift today, you are helping to “Light the Way Home” for the many families staying at the House this holiday season. Every donation, regardless of its size, makes a significant difference in these families’ lives, offering them hope and a path forward during their darkest hours.

Your support will help bridge the gap between our low nightly fee of $40 and the actual cost to provide our services, which is $175 a night. It will also help keep the promise of never turning away a family who cannot afford the nightly fee.

For those who donate $250 or more, your name will be placed on a beautifully crafted paper house, illuminated as a symbol of your support. They will be displayed around Gift of Life Howie’s House and serve as a reminder to our guests that there are compassionate individuals helping to ease their journey and “Light the Way Home”

SPECIAL ANNOUCEMENT:

A generous contributor has offered to match each gift made on Giving Tuesday, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000!


On this national day of giving back, Gift of Life Howie’s House is launching a matching gift fundraising challenge – an opportunity for caring people like you to help reach our fundraising goal of $10,000 – that will be doubled – to support transplant families!

For some families, even the modest $40 nightly fee is out of reach, that’s why every gift during the Giving Tuesday fundraising challenge benefits our Adopt-a-Family Program, which keep the nightly fees low and helps families who can’t pay.

Every $40 you help raise will be doubled and provides them with nights of safe, peaceful lodging and access to all the other services of the House: home-cooked meals, a fully stocked pantry, transportation to and from appointments, an on-site social work team, and a whole community of caring people.

This #GivingTuesday, share your passion for Gift of Life Howie’s House as you help raise important funds – that will be doubled!

It’s easy to set up your page HERE, share your story, and make your own gift. Then, on 11/28, enlist your friends to help us meet our fundraising goal! The special fundraising challenge lasts just one day, and you can participate on your own or with a team.

It’s also a great way to honor or remember a loved one by creating your personal or team fundraiser in their honor. Remember, every $40 raised together will be doubled and is providing more nights of safe, cozy respite for families going through some of their most difficult days.

Don’t miss this opportunity to light the way home for families along this transplant journey and give them hope in their hardest times. Your Impact will be doubled this Giving Tuesday – November 28th!

For questions about the Giving Tuesday Matching Gift Challenge, call us at 267-546-9812.

This Giving Tuesday, you can help light the way home for families along this transplant journey by helping to reach our fundraising goal of $10,000 – that will be doubled – for Gift of Life Howie’s House!

When David Pierson became a donor family member in 2004 after losing his wife, he witnessed firsthand the compassionate work that is synonymous with the Gift of Life mission.

It wasn’t until he began serving on the governing board that he truly understood the full scope of what Gift of Life Donor Program and its affiliates accomplish. This experience also gave David greater insight into the services and care Gift of Life Howie’s House provides to transplant families. “Having been deeply involved with the organization, I witnessed the tremendous good that the House does,” he says.

Even after his board service concluded, David chose to remain close to the Gift of Life mission. He decided to include the House in his estate plans to help ensure that families will continue to benefit from the House for years to come.

“The House truly provides families with an opportunity to be together during challenging times. I am happy and proud to keep that going.”

Please join David Pierson as a member of the Legacy Society for Planned Giving.

We also invite those who have already included the House in their will or otherwise made a planned gift to inform us so we can celebrate your commitment. The story behind your generosity may also inspire others to take action.

You should consult with your tax advisor to determine the degree to which your gift may result in tax advantages to you, your estate, and your beneficiaries. The official registration and financial information of Transplant House d/b/a Gift of Life Howie’s House may be obtained from PA Dept. of State by calling toll free 1.800.732.0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

Caregiver Lifeline Spotlight


Mia Moore, MSW


Social Worker

Gift of Life Howie’s House


During their transplant journey, many patients and caregivers experience financial stress. Chronic illness and transplants often provide little time for patients and their families to plan.

Causes of Financial Stress

Stress can often be defined as a state of worry or mental tension resulting from a challenging situation. It can impact your emotional and physical well-being in many ways, such as irritability or fatigue, and can potentially lead to anxiety or depression. With financial stress there is an emphasis on being in a state of worry or having mental or emotional strain because of issues such as budgeting, debt, or upcoming large expenses.

Many situations may arise that can cause financial stress during the transplant journey including reduced work hours or income, unexpected healthcare costs, increased travel or living expenses, lack of savings or
unforeseen emergencies.

Symptoms of Financial Stress

Symptoms of financial stress may look very similar to some reactions to your everyday stress or worries. However, due to this stress being a result of financial issues your symptoms have a direct impact on your feelings surrounding your finances. Some common symptoms are :

Ways to Manage Financial Stress

Consult with your hospital social worker to identify transplant-specific
financial resources

Transplant Resources

Transplant costs vary and it is common for patients to use multiple resources to help pay for unexpected costs.

If you have issues obtaining your medications, concerns about medical costs or future coverage, or the cost of medical equipment, reach out to your transplant or dialysis social worker. There may be region-specific or organ-specific grants that you or your loved one may be eligible for.

Fundraising is also a great resource for supporting costs related to lodging, travel, and other medical expenses. The following organizations can aid with getting started:

Stress is a normal part of life and finances are a common stressor for many transplant patients and caregivers. If you have trouble navigating some of the resources listed above, please email:

caregiverlifeline@giftoflifehowieshouse.org

1 BetterUp, Financial stress: What’s money got to do with sanity?, 2021: betterup.com/blog/financial-stress
2 Health Direct, Financial stress and your health, 2023: healthdirect.gov.au/financial-stress


Tom Fennell and his wife, Alice, traveled almost 1,000 miles from Iowa to Philadelphia hoping Tom would receive a life-saving heart transplant. Far from home, they found comfort and support at Gift of Life Howie’s House, which recently celebrated its 12th anniversary.

 “Howie’s House gave us a safe place to stay, dinners, and camaraderie. It was the complete package,” said Tom. “We were able to connect with other transplant families and it helped us on our journey.”

 Tom’s journey was unusual. Many transplant centers declined to accept him as a patient because of his age. Temple Health in Philadelphia welcomed Tom and, at 74, he became one of their oldest heart recipients.

 Tom and Alice stayed at Howie’s House many months post transplant but were finally able to return home recently. They rang the Chimes of Hope at the House to celebrate (click here for video).

 Thanks to a generous donor hero and caring support at Howie’s House, Tom and Alice can get back to doing the things they love. They have already planned a family vacation at their lake house and hope to travel to Mexico next year.

Caregiver Lifeline Spotlight


Dr. Mark Abdelmalek


Dermatology of Philadelphia

www.dermofphilly.com


Transplant patients can live for many decades after transplantation, and with that remarkable success and progress comes a need for personalized and multidisciplinary medicine that includes specialized dermatology care.

Organ transplant recipients have an increased risk of skin cancer because immunosuppressive medications that prevent transplanted organs from being rejected by the body also lower the body’s natural defenses against skin cancer. The most common type of skin cancer in transplant patients is squamous cell carcinoma. The good news is that if detected early, with good care these cancers can be managed and very often cured.

Transplant Dermatologists have a simple goal – no one should die of skin cancer after a second chance at life through organ donation.

How high is the risk of skin cancer in transplant patients?

One in five people without a transplant will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. That story is dramatically different for transplant patients. Transplant patients are 65 times more likely to get squamous cell carcinoma than people without a transplant. They are 10 times more likely to get basal cell carcinoma, the least serious type of skin cancer. And transplant patients are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop melanoma, a potentially more serious type of skin cancer.

Skin cancers in transplant patients can grow quickly and have an increased risk of spreading. That’s why having a good relationship with a dermatologist who specializes in transplant dermatology can be game changing. Prompt and expert dermatologic care, which often includes a specialized type of surgery called Mohs surgery for certain skin cancers, is crucial for transplant patients.

What can transplant patients do about the increased risk of skin cancer?

The most important thing to do to lower the chance of skin cancer is sun protection – sunscreen, sun protective clothing, hats and sunglasses. Go ahead and make that hat fashion statement. As with many cancers, early detection of skin cancer is an important factor for preventing serious complications and death. Fortunately, most skin cancers can be easily treated in outpatient settings. The most common way to treat skin cancers in sensitive areas like the face is with Mohs Surgery. Mohs offers the highest cure rate and is the most precise way to treat skin cancer with the best cosmetic outcomes after surgery.

Good transplant dermatology care also offers treatments and medications to help lower the chance of developing skin cancer in the first place.

How often should you see a board-certified transplant dermatologist after an organ transplant?

What time and experience have proven is that routine dermatology care is an essential part of organ transplant care. Every transplant patient should be seen by a board-certified dermatologist around the time of transplantation, not because skin cancer is looming, but to start learning about skin cancer and what to look for.

After that, the frequency of dermatology visits will be based on each person’s unique situation. For some, visits are needed every few months. Fortunately most transplant patients do very well with visits to the dermatologist every 6 to 12 months.

If you are a transplant patient, talk to your transplant coordinators and physicians about finding a dermatologist who has an interest in transplant dermatology. You can also look for a transplant dermatologist through the International Immunosuppression & Transplant Skin Cancer Collaborative’s “Find a Transplant Dermatologist” tool.

Learn More About Transplant Dermatology

To learn more please watch Dr. Mark’s webinar presented through the Caregiver Lifeline Program


PICTURED L-R: Rick Hasz, President & CEO, Gift of Life Donor Program, Troy Ovechka, Jennifer Ovechka, Faith Osborne, LSW, Abby Wells, Talia Giordano, LCSW

For those undergoing the transplant journey, having a place to feel safe and supported during a medical emergency makes a world of difference. While many would agree that there’s no place like your own home, Gift of Life Howie’s House has been providing a home away from home for transplant families for over a decade.

This summer, the House celebrated 12 years of serving the organ transplant community. Since opening in 2011, the backbone of the House has been the generous contributors and dedicated volunteers that continue to support the mission.


Annual Breakfast Honors Generous Community

“It has been an honor to watch the House grow and change due to the support of this amazing community. The House completes the circle of care that begins when someone gives the gift of life. I couldn’t be more grateful to this community for helping fulfill that mission.”

Rick Hasz, President and CEO

To recognize their support, a special breakfast was held for the contributors and volunteers that help make the House’s mission a reality. The annual President’s Breakfast took place on May 12th, and was truly a fantastic morning where lots of laughs, memories, and milestones were shared. The event’s theme was “There’s No Place Like Home”, in honor of the home away from home that the community helps to sustain.

PICTURED TOP L-R: Jan L. Weinstock, Esq., Jennifer Platzkere Snyder, Esq.; Andrew Bowen, Burton John Mattice; Janice Schwartz Donahue, Karen Barnett, Barbara Katz-Chobert;Lesa Kramer, Catheanne Long

Rick Hasz, President & CEO, along with Jan L. Weinstock, Chief Administrative Officer & General Counsel, shared a few words about how integral the generosity of the community is to sustaining the House’s mission. They also shared some exciting House happenings and important milestones reached.

Past guest and lung transplant recipient, Jennifer Ovechka, shared the story of her journey while staying at the House, and the amazing things she has been able to accomplish after receiving her life-saving lung transplant.

“Since leaving Gift of Life Howie’s House, I was able to run a 5-mile race, work full-time as a medical assistant, buy a home, and above all marry Troy, my sweet big guy who never left my side. The House was crucial during my recovery. Every meal at the end of the day was appreciated, and every tidy bed to rest my head was valued.”

Jennifer Ovechka

Lung Transplant Recipient

In its 12-year history, the House has provided thousands of families with the care and services that they desperately rely on while on the transplant journey. Since opening, it has provided over $12,530,000 in subsidized care, over 316,000 meals, and over 88,457 lodging nights of care. Families have never been asked to pay more than $40 a night, and no family has ever been turned away due to inability to pay.

PICTURED L-R: Cynthia London, Dearrdra Hollingsworth, Johann Schneider, Beverly Schneider, Vivian Gano, Tom Gano


Volunteers Provide Valuable Support

Many volunteers help strengthen the mission. Rosie Lemansky, a donor family member and long-time volunteer, has been serving at the House since its inception.

“In my 12 years of volunteering, I have talked to so many of the people and they are incredibly grateful for this place. When I work here on Wednesdays, I see people that have come together that live in different parts of the country, but they’re bonded by their situation and they can relate to each other and I think that is such an important part of it. It makes me feel good to know that I am a part of this whole process.”

Rosie Lemansky

Donor Family Member

Although the journey home after transplant is much more than three clicks of ruby red slippers, the dedication of volunteers like Rosie, along with many generous friends have helped make the House a home away from home for thousands of transplant families.


GIFT OF LIFE EXTENDS ITS GRATITUDE TO THE COMMUNITY

FOR HELPING TO PROVIDE 12 YEARS OF HOME AT THE HOUSE.


Support Gift of Life Howie’s House

Explore ways to support Gift of Life Howie’s House and our mission to provide 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.

Donna Nelson with her husband, Dana Nelson, a lung transplant recipient

At Gift of Life Howie’s House, guests are provided with a private bedroom and bathroom that comes equipped with many of the necessities that families rely on when away from home. Many of those guests, however, experience limited mobility due to significant physical challenges that come with transplant and request rooms that are more accessible

Approximately 25% of guests make these requests. Unfortunately, many have to wait for a more accessible room to become available.

“You never know when you go somewhere if it’s going to be accessible, so knowing that we had this room where he could maneuver was a relief. It allowed him to have his privacy and independence, and I could have a little bit of free time as well. Even if it’s ten minutes where I could read a book while he showers, it makes a difference,”

– Donna Nelson, Past House Guest

Out of 32 guest rooms, only 5 have bathrooms that are equipped with walk-in showers. For some guests, navigating over the wall of a tub can be incredibly challenging or even impossible. Many patients require the use of a shower chair, which is also difficult to maneuver in an already tight space with a wet surface, like the bathtub.

Replacing a bathtub with a walk-in shower makes getting in and out much easier on both the patient and the caregiver. Guests with limited mobility do not have to worry about navigating over the wall of the tub, and those who require the use of a wheelchair have easier access inside of the bathroom and can transfer to a shower chair more smoothly.

Learn more about our campaign in our Spring 2023 Newsletter.

Spring Campaign 2023

Support the construction of four new, more accessible showers at the House.

husband and wife smiling in front of legacy wall
Betsy and Robert Horen at the House

Robert and Betsy Horen became involved with Gift of Life after Robert received a kidney transplant in 2006.

When Gift of Life Howie’s House opened in 2011, they enjoyed attending events and visiting on special occasions. After witnessing the outstanding care provided to the transplant families, the volunteers donating their time and the comradery among families, they became avid supporters of the mission.

“We always enjoyed visiting the House at special times and watching the love and caring of everyone that worked there, friends donating their time, and cooking ability, and hearing the personal stories of the people that were staying there.”

A few years later Robert sadly passed away, but Betsy remained dedicated to the mission. She made the decision to join the Legacy Society for Planned Giving to support the future of the House, while ensuring that Robert’s legacy lives on.

“In 2014 my Robert peacefully passed away, but our dedication and love for the House will continue,” says Betsy.

For more information on making a planned gift to the House, click here or call 267-546-9812. If you have already provided for the House in your will, or by another planned gift, please let us know so we can celebrate your generosity now!

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