Celebrating 10 YEARS of Caring for Transplant Families

Take a look back at our journey together.

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10 years ago, Gift of Life Howie’s House officially opened its doors to welcome home transplant families.  Since then, we have provided comfort and hope to thousands of families along their transplant journeys.

1991

Vision for the Gift of Life Howie’s House began

After Howard Nathan’s personal experience with his sister’s transplant journey he was provided with a deeper understanding of the obstacles that transplant families encounter when traveling to an unfamiliar setting.

Howard Nathan was already a leader in the field of organ donation and transplantation when he personally experienced the challenges of his sister Martha’s need for a liver transplant. He witnessed the generosity of a family who said “yes” to donation so that Martha could have a second chance at life. This is when the vision for Gift of Life Howie’s House begun.

January 2007

family house sketch rendering

Vision Came to Life

The photo above is one of the final renderings of Gift of Life Howie’s House (130 total).

October 2009

Gift of Life Howie’s House Groundbreaking Ceremony

The ceremony took place at the 35th anniversary event for Gift of Life Donor Program

October 2010

Construction of Gift of Life Howie’s House

The construction was underway at 401 Callowhill Street in Philadelphia, just one block away from Gift of Life Donor Program.

April 2011

HCH launch party

Home Cook Heroes Launch Party

A special party was coordinated to promote the program. Pictured is Daniel Briones, Andy Snow, Marc Summers and Marc Vetri.

The Home Cook Heroes program was designed to provide nutritious meals to the transplant patients and families staying at Gift of Life Howie’s House. Recognizing the fact that most transplant patients and their families do not have the resources, time or money to prepare a healthy home-cooked meal, this program has been crucial to our mission of providing care to families in their time of need

June 22, 2011

volunteers at the family house with grad caps

First Volunteer Graduation

Gift of Life Howie’s House hosted the first volunteer graduation for Guest Services Volunteers.

July 18, 2011

Gift of Life Howie’s House officially opens its doors and welcomes home first guests

On Monday, July 18, 2011, Gift of Life Howie’s House opened its doors and welcomed home its first transplant family, representing an enormous milestone for Gift of Life and an uplifting and inspirational experience for the Gift of Life Howie’s House staff members.

For months we have had to get up in the middle of the night to start out on the road.  We would then return home later in the day.  What a blessing to have the House available to spend the night and then be able to go directly to the Clinic within 15 minutes.  The stress of driving (traffic delays, weather) has at least been cut in half.  We were thrilled to finally have a wonderful place to stay.” -Nancy and Thomas Greenholt, McSherrytown, PA – First Guests

July 2011

missy with howard in fh kitchen

First Home Cook Hero Volunteer Group

The first group prepares and serves dinner to families – organized by Missy Gurmankin.

“To see this project come to fruition has been a true thrill. I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to finally cook in the beautiful Gift of Life Howie’s House kitchen. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how grateful the families were to be housed in our beautiful facility. They kept coming over to me to tell me what a lovely home it is and how fortunate they feel to have a place like this available to them at this very difficult time. One of the families had just gotten news that their loved one made it through the surgery well. Just before they sat down to eat they broke into a song. It was very emotional! Then they seemed to relax as they sat down to eat and started laughing and joking. It was nice to see and a pleasant first experience for me at the house.” –Missy Gurmankin

May 6, 2012

Gift of Life Howie’s House Dedication Event

On Sunday, May 6, 2012, close to 400 members of Gift of Life’s community of contributors, volunteers, and advocates were reunited for a special celebration to formally dedicate Gift of Life Howie’s House.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley (R) and President and CEO of Gift of Life Donor Program Howard M. Nathan (L). The Lieutenant Governor presented Gift of Life with a $2 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Development grant from the Commonwealth in support of Gift of Life Howie’s House.

July 2012

Dr. Ranjoo and guest in activites center

Activities Program takes off!

Dr. Ranjoo Prasad, Gift of Life Howie’s House Advisory Board Member, helping guest with special project.

The Gift of Life Howie’s House Activities Program provides a much-needed lift to guests at the Howie’s House. Volunteer led activities help alleviate stress, give the opportunity of quality time spent together not focusing on health issues, and stimulate positive, hopeful feelings.

November 1st, 2012

jan and howard presidents reception

First Annual President’s Reception

The Gift of Life Howie’s House’s First Annual President’s Reception recognized generous contributors who financially supported Gift of Life Howie’s House. President and CEO Howard M. Nathan hosted the event which attracted close to one hundred Gift of Life Howie’s House Founders’ Circle and Family Circle members on Thursday, November 1, 2012.

(L-R) Jan L. Weinstock, Esq., Vice President,
Administration & General Counsel,
Howard M. Nathan, President and CEO,
Brianne Harrell and Joe Conklin.

April 2013

Comcast volunteer group at Howie's House

Corporate Groups adopt Gift of Life Howie’s House for their day of service

Comcast staff volunteered and presented Gift of Life Howie’s House with a check for $5,000 on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 during Comcast Cares Day.

May 2013

family smiling in dining room at birthday party

Rodriquez family finds respite at Gift of Life Howie’s House

Maribel and Angel Rodriguez, along with their two sons, Queniel and Kenneth

“Gift of Life was our home for four months, providing support to my family during such a difficult time. We have no way to repay all the love and compassion, all the services that we received in this wonderful place. Today I can say that this house provides everything a family might need in such a difficult time as the one we went through.” —Maribel Rodriguez with son, Kenneth Rodriguez, who received a life-saving liver transplant in December 2013.

February 1, 2014

50,000th Meal Served through the Home Cook Heroes Program

The Home Cook Heroes Program hit a milestone in 2014 when it served its 50,000th meal to Gift of Life Howie’s House guests. The special meal was prepared on February 1, 2014 by five local couples who turned their regular “Family Dinner” that they hold at each other’s houses into a “Howie’s House Dinner.”  Pictured from left to right is Casey Lyons Dilsheimer, J.B. Dilsheimer, Craiger Drake, Denise Duszak, Robert Shino, Julie Cassel, Jeanne McFalls Lamb, Patrick Lamb, Aaron Maass and Ashley Via.

August 25th, 2014

10th Annual Kidney Open Golf Outing

This annual golf event is hosted by Dan Sinnott and Howard Nathan at the Dupont Country Club in Wilmington, DE. All proceeds support Gift of Life Howie’s House.

Summer 2014

Mom and young daughter smiling

The Liu Family

Michelle, a physician and commander in the Navy needed a place to stay when her young daughter required a transplant

“It was truly amazing the level of care at many notches above what we had ever experienced. I would look forward to going back to the Gift of Life Howie’s House just to have dinner with my family after a long day at the hospital.” – Gift of Life Howie’s House guests Michelle Liu, with her daughter Esther Grace, a double lung transplant recipient

December 2014

First Ever 40 Hours for Gift of Life Howie’s House Virtual Fundraiser Launches

Gift of Life Howie’s House held its 1st annual 40 Hours for the Howie’s House Giving Tuesday challenge, and what a success! 40 hours, 50 team members and 500 participants later, the challenge raised more than $27,000.

April 2015

collage of husband and wife wedding in hospital

The Adams Family Were Positively Affected at Gift of Life Howie’s House

Just two days after being listed for a lung transplant, Bobby married Ashley in the hospital ICU. Moments before their wedding ceremony, doctors came in to the room to give them the incredible news: they had a prospective donor for Bobby!

“We are indescribably grateful for Gift of Life Howie’s House and how positively it has affected the outcome of our situation. Without Gift of Life Howie’s House, it would have been very difficult for Ash to be with me every single day, both financially and logistically. Without her unyielding emotional support and care, I wouldn’t be as well off as I am today. Guaranteed. And without the support and the positive environment of Gift of Life Howie’s House, Ash wouldn’t have been as available and emotionally present for me. Gift of Life Howie’s House truly is a ‘home away from home’!” – Bobby Adams

July 2015

Gift of Life Howie’s House Reaches 5,000 Likes on Facebook!

July 2015

large group outside family house with big 4

4th Birthday Celebration of Gift of Life Howie’s House

Gift of Life Howie’s House celebrates being a source of comfort and support to families traveling to Philadelphia for transplant care for four years. It’s a place where families not only find comfortable beds and home-cooked meals, but also a community of other caring families who understand the ups and downs of the transplant journey.

July 2015

The Smith Family hosts Enormous Wish List Drive

They choose to support Gift of Life Howie’s House in memory of their son, Eric Smith who was an organ donor. This is one of over a thousand wish list drives coordinated by volunteers over the last 10 years.

March 2016

people holding balloons that say 30,000

Gift of Life Howie’s House Provides 30,000th Lodging Night of Care

In March of 2016, thanks to generous supporters, Gift of Life Howie’s House provided 30,000 room nights to transplant patients and their families!

July 2016

First Home Cook Hero All-Star Plates Installed

To recognize All-Stars, Gift of Life Howie’s House has displayed logo’d plates to honor each team on the kitchen wall.

January 2017

Gift of Life Howie’s House Led a Research Study

To evaluate how well it has been supporting the families, Gift of Life Howie’s House conducted by an independent, doctorate-level researcher. The study found conclusively that transplant caregivers felt Gift of Life Howie’s House positively impacted their overall health and wellbeing by providing a way to strengthen their resilience to support their loved ones as they navigated the transplant journey.

December 2017

mom and daughter smiling in dining room

Yani and Merida Couldn’t Help But Be Happy During Their Stay

Merida stayed at Gift of Life Howie’s House for two months while she was recovering from kidney transplant surgery. She was grateful for the access to affordable lodging while being away from home.

“I checked in, they greet you and make you feel at home. The environment is very loving and very caring. Financially we did not feel it in our pockets because the price you have to pay to stay there is a lot less than staying at a hotel.” –
Merida, a kidney transplant recipient

February 2018

smiling husband and wife on couch

The Prince Family Said it Felt like Home

“We stayed at Gift of Life Howie’s House for about a month during recovery. Everyone there was really supportive. It felt like being home—that this was our house. You never know the importance of how something we take for granted can change a life forever. The warmth there was really special.” – the Prince Family

July 2018

7th birthday celebration

Gift of Life Howie’s House’s 7th Birthday

Volunteers, guests, and staff celebrated the with a safari-themed event.

October 2018

New Gift of Life Howie’s House Shuttle Arrived

The new shuttle seats 11 passengers and has a larger cargo area for supplies like oxygen tanks and wheelchairs. It also has a bus-style door and raised roof, making it easier for guests to get on and off.

November 18, 2018

family in front of the new shuttle

Transportation Program Hits Milestone

The shuttle program reached a miles milestone of driving families 10,000 miles to and from the transplant center hospitals.

July 2019

Gift of Life Howie’s House launches the Best Birthday Yet program

This program encourages volunteers to raise funds to support Gift of Life Howie’s House on their birthday.

December 2019

Construction was Completed for 2 New Guest Rooms

Thank you to our generous community who supported the project to convert space at Gift of Life Howie’s House into two new guest rooms. Gift of Life Howie’s House is now able to provide 730 more nights of care each year to transplant families. One guest room was underwritten by the Sayles family celebrate the life of their son Nicholas who tragically passed away in 2006 and was an donor.

December 2019

Past guest, Dustin Myers is Thankful for the Services Provided

“I was here from December 30th through the middle of February. I had received a liver transplant and was there to stay while I healed and went to doctors’ appointments twice a week. During that time I met caring and wonderful staff counselors and shuttle drivers. The Home Cook Heroes always provided yummy dinners every evening which was something to look forward too. Another thing that always stuck out was the never-ending baked goods and sweets they always seemed to have I felt like a big kid whenever I wandered into the kitchen and took a treat!! I’m very thankful for Gift of Life Howie’s House and its staff and volunteers.” – Dustin Myers, liver transplant recipient

January 2020

Guest room 203

Gift of Life Howie’s House Launches Sponsor-A-Room Program

Generous room sponsors support families by keeping the nightly fee low and covering costs for families who cannot afford it.

September 2020

250,00 meals celebration

250,000th Meal Served

Through the Home Cook Heroes program, an incredible milestone was reached of serving 250,000 meals to transplant patients and their families! Thank you to all the amazing Home Cook Hero volunteers that helped achieve this accomplishment. Whether they dropped off a meal, arranged catering, made a financial donation, or hosted a food drive, families are grateful for their support.

February 2021

$10,000,000 in Free Care Provided

Gift of Life Howie’s House reached the milestone of providing over $10,000,000 of subsidized care to transplant families since opening!

July 2021

Gift of Life Howie’s House Celebrates its 10th Anniversary!

To mark this special milestone, a year-long anniversary celebration and fundraising effort was called Journey to Hope Campaign was created in honor of the courageous families we serve every day.

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