When Anthony Vetrano learned his father, Joe, would need a life-saving organ transplant, he and his mother, Teresa, became his caregivers. They both stayed at the Howie’s House for 11 days while Joe received his transplant in Philadelphia this past September.
“The Howie’s House allowed me and my mom to be close to the hospital and spend more time there with my father as he recovered from his transplant,” Anthony says. “We’d have to drive 100 miles back and forth from our homes in New Jersey if we didn’t have another place to stay.”
The Howie’s House supported Anthony and Teresa as caregivers while they supported Joe during his treatment and recovery. “As a caregiver, you focus on the patient and less on yourself,” Anthony says. “At the Howie’s House, there’s someone to focus on you.”
Something that really supported Anthony was our Home Cook Heroes program, which offers a warm, home-cooked meal to guests each night as they wind down from what can be long, stressful days. “A meal was really nice to come back to,” Anthony says. “It was also nice to eat and talk with other families who understand what you’re going through.”
While Anthony was staying in Philadelphia, he had the idea to host a Facebook fundraiser to support the Howie’s House. “My Facebook friends know about my father’s transplant and I thought I could use my experience to help other families like ours,” Anthony says.
Because his birthday was coming up, Anthony decided to “give it up” and ask for donations to the Howie’s House in lieu of gifts.
Anthony hosted a fundraiser for two weeks and with the help of the people he loves, exceeded his fundraising goal!
“Some of my Facebook friends asked me what the fundraiser was about which even helped me raise awareness about organ and tissue donation,” Anthony says. “Not many people know about donation and transplant until they need one.”
It’s caring people like Anthony that help us continue to be a “home away from home” for transplant families coming to Philadelphia. His generous decision to “give up his birthday” on Facebook and raise money for the Howie’s House helps support families like his own as they navigate the difficult transplant journey.
“I would definitely host a Facebook fundraiser again…it was so easy!” Anthony says.
“It’s hard to go through something like transplant and not be changed by it. I want to help out as much as I can.”
Thank you, Anthony, for spreading our mission and supporting the Howie’s House!