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.
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.
Vision Came to Life
The photo above is one of the final renderings of Gift of Life Howie’s House (130 total).
Gift of Life Howie’s House Groundbreaking Ceremony
The ceremony took place at the 35th anniversary event for Gift of Life Donor Program
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Gift of Life Howie’s House Reaches 5,000 Likes on Facebook!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
Gift of Life Howie’s House’s 7th Birthday
Volunteers, guests, and staff celebrated the with a safari-themed event.
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
Transportation Program Hits Milestone
The shuttle program reached a miles milestone of driving families 10,000 miles to and from the transplant center hospitals.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
$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!
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.