“We fell in love with the Gift of Life Howie’s House early on,” says Jim Carns, lung transplant recipient. “As a patient, it helped me get a better understanding that I was not alone, that there are other people who are going through the same thing as I am.”
When Jim and Karen Carns first made the trip from their Harrisburg home to Philadelphia in preparation for the lung transplant Jim desperately needed, they had many worries on their mind. But there was one thing they did not have to worry about — where to stay. They arrived at Gift of Life Howie’s House to find a warm and welcoming “home away from home” where their every need was met. As Karen states, “From the time we first went there, we felt very welcomed by the staff. They knew it was stressful to us coming there, with what we were facing. And it was comforting for Jim to know that I was in a safe environment.”
The Carns were among the more than 450 families going through the organ transplant process who stayed with us last year. The number of families we serve continues to climb as more families are referred to us from transplant programs throughout Greater Philadelphia.
Jim describes the Gift of Life Howie’s House as a “God-send.” Jim and Karen now stay with us when they come to Philadelphia every few months for doctor visits. In gratitude for their experiences at the House, they have become members of our Family Circle with a generous contribution of their own in order to support our daily operations.
Jim and Karen, both retired, are now busy visiting with their four children and eight grandchildren across the country, and resuming their involvement in their church and local community. They recently enjoyed a cruise to Alaska that would not have been possible just a short time ago. Both are deeply committed to finding a cure for pulmonary fibrosis, the disease that led to Jim’s lung transplant, and to helping Gift of Life Howie’s House serve other transplant families in need. Explains Jim, “The House is a facility that we hope most people won’t need to seek out, but it’s important for people to know that it’s there if they need it.”