This holiday season, Gift of Life Howie’s House is bringing transplant families out of the waiting room and into a warm room waiting. While families are enduring treatment, medical conditions and separation from loved ones, the Howie’s House is able to provide support and comfort with the help of volunteers and community members.
Today we share the story of Martha Harris, a recent kidney transplant recipient from North Carolina, who has been able to utilize the Gift of Life Howie’s House while receiving follow up treatment.
After her kidney transplant, Martha Harris knew that she would require extensive doctor’s appointments and follow up testing in order to ensure that her body was kept the healthiest it could be. Because her transplant center is located in Philadelphia, Harris was required to either commute from her home in North Carolina, or shuffle from various houses while in town. Because of the Gift of Life Howie’s House, Martha was able to have a place of her own to stay while she received follow up appointments and treatments. It was a place to call home when she was far away from home.
“I was so grateful to know I had somewhere to go and not have to do so much traveling. It was a long journey but it is nice to know I found someplace where I am comfortable.” said Harris.
While at the Howie’s House, Harris is able to receive transportation to and from her transplant center, allowing her to not be stressed with driving or parking in the city. Instead of staying alone in a hotel room, she has been able to be welcomed home to home cooked dinners that can be enjoyed with other guests going through similar transplant experience.
“My family and my daughter are so far away and I can come here and sit and talk to someone and I miss my family but knowing when I come here this is my family,” said Harris.
While staying at the Howie’s House, Harris is able to enjoy a private room with its own bathroom, television and internet access. That way guests can have the option of enjoying their own privacy to rest, gather their thoughts or make calls to loved ones. If they want to enjoy the company of other guests, all they have to do is step outside to one of the many multiple lounges, activity rooms, or living room center to connect with other guests.
“I was amazed at the place it was so beautiful inside and out. Once I arrived inside the staff greeted me with open arms and I felt like I was at home. The best part about the experience is that you feel comfortable and welcomed,” said Harris. “It is an awesome place and I recommended anyone to join us here we are one big family. Without your support, I wouldn’t have a place to go.”