Soon after we opened back in 2011, Lindsey, Bill and their 10-month old son, Stephen, came to stay with us for the first time. At the time of their first stay, Stephen was our youngest guest. The Schwartzes are now one of our longest returning guests and have been coming back ever since they first walked through our doors over 9 years ago.
At the time of their first visit, Stephen was in need of a kidney transplant. Stephen had been diagnosed with Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD), or infantile PKD, a rare genetic disorder that affects 1 out of every 20,000 children. Before Stephen was born, his doctors knew that he would one day need a transplant, as the disease causes poor kidney function and breathing problems that can hinder an infant’s survival.
At just six days old, Stephen’s kidneys were both removed to aid his breathing, and he would remain on dialysis for two years until he was old enough to receive his transplant. Neither Bill nor Lindsey were a match to Stephen’s blood type, so they were unable to be his donor. Just as the Schwartzes received their first miracle with Stephen’s birth, their second miracle came when a family friend offered to get tested to be his kidney donor and was a perfect match. On May 9, 2013, two-year-old Stephen received his precious gift of life.
The Schwartzes desperately wanted Stephen’s kidney transplant and aftercare to happen in Philadelphia, a 3 ½ hour drive from their home in Virginia. Explains Lindsey, “There are not many places in the country you can get pediatric nephrology care, especially for this type of disease and pediatric kidney transplant”.
Lindsey calls the Howie’s House an integral part of making Stephens care in Philadelphia possible.
“At the time, the financial aspect of traveling to Philadelphia would have prevented us from keeping Stephen’s care there after transplant. The affordability of the Howie’s House gave us the ability to make that decision and get Stephen the best healthcare,” says Lindsey.
The Schwartzes are now one of our longest-returning families and continue to come to Philadelphia for Stephens follow-up care. Stephen is now 10 years old and is about to finish the fourth grade. He enjoys racing electric go-karts, golfing with his dad, and playing with his new puppy, Maverick.
Lindsey says that the predictability of the Howie’s House brought her comfort during Stephen’s transplant journey, and that she is grateful for all the amenities that we provide.
“The Howie’s House has everything you need to have a relaxing, easy place to stay.”
This spring, consider making a gift that will help us continue to be there for families like the Schwartzes during their difficult and unpredictable transplant journeys. Your gift will help us provide comfort and stability to our families 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Click here to give today.
Check out this special message from the Schwartz family!