Securing Comfort for Transplant Patients and their families

Help continue the commitment to safety this Spring by supporting the enhancement of the security system at the House.


Families traveling from far away for medical care face numerous concerns while navigating the challenging transplant journey. For those coming from out of town, feeling safe and secure while in an unfamiliar environment such as a large city, is essential for their peace of mind.

At Gift of Life Howie’s House, ensuring guests feel safe during their stay has always been a top priority and an integral part of the overall mission. That’s why multiple measures are in place to make sure guests feel as comfortable as possible when walking through the House doors.

From the secure perimeter gate that encloses the facility to the overnight security guards and surveillance system, the goal is to ease the mind of the families who stay at the House as soon as they arrive.

As part of our commitment to providing the safest environment possible for guests, House staff continuously assess our systems for the most up-to-date improvements.

This year, an upgrade to the existing security camera and public announcement system is planned, and the House is calling on the support of the community to help complete the project in 2024.

Your support of this important project will help families like the Bachers, who said they relied on the safety and security that the House provided during their stay.

Mike Bacher was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy over 16 years ago, a heart disorder which he contracted from a viral infection. Mike and his wife Jo-Ann live in Lewes, Delaware, a rural beach community over 2 and half hours away from Philadelphia.

Heather Bacher, Mike Bacher, Jo-Ann Bacher, and Melissa Rodriguez

For years, Mike managed the disease, until his condition started to quickly worsen at the beginning of 2022. Mike’s doctors suggested he get listed for transplant, so they made the journey to Philadelphia to begin his evaluation.

Traveling into the city from a rural setting, they didn’t know what to expect before arriving to the House. Mike shared that as soon as he saw the facility, he knew he made the right choice.

“It was a huge relief. I couldn’t have imagined anything nicer and safer. I was pretty apprehensive about coming into Philly at all, and I didn’t know what area we were going to be in until we got there,” Mike said. “We were pleasantly surprised to find what a nice place it was.”

“At first, I noticed all the security cameras inside, I wasn’t used to the place and didn’t know anyone so that made me feel very secure. It was like being in a hotel…even pulling into the gate and not having to worry about where I was going to park my car made a huge difference.”

After Mike was admitted to the transplant waiting list, he didn’t have to wait long. Only 11 days after being listed, Mike received his life-saving heart transplant thanks to an organ donor hero.

Mike at the hospital post-transplant, waiting to be discharged
Mike Bacher with his two daughters, Melissa Rodriguez (left) and Heather Bacher (right), waiting to be admitted at the hospital

While he recovered in the hospital, Jo-Ann remained at the House to stay close to him while their two daughters, Heather and Melissa, would visit periodically to provide support.

“This facility was a lifesaver, providing a safe environment for my family to allow them to visit through this whole ordeal. I spent a total of 56 days in the hospital, and they were there through almost all of that,” explains Mike.

Mike’s family was so grateful for the services the House provided that they have since given back to the mission by hosting a successful Facebook fundraiser, serving a meal through the Home Cook Heroes program, and now support the annual fund!

Post-transplant, Mike and his family have been traveling as much possible, including a recent trip to the Floridia Keys that had been rescheduled twice due to his health complications. Jo-Ann and Mike say they are trying to travel as much as possible and make the most of every day.

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