transplant games

Legacy Society members Elizabeth and David Kennedy.
Legacy Society members Elizabeth and David Kennedy.

David and Elizabeth are leaving a legacy.

Gift of Life Howie’s House is proud to spotlight members of the Legacy Society who have made planned gifts to support the future of the Howie’s House.

Twenty-five years ago, David and Elizabeth Kennedy lost their eldest son, David Jr., in a car accident. The couple made the brave decision to donate his tissue–one that helped 45 other people.

Shortly after her son’s passing, Elizabeth joined the Lehigh Valley Ambassadors for Organ and Tissue Donation to help spread awareness about organ and tissue donation. She also became involved with Gift of Life, and she and her husband began to attend volunteer meetings. They’ve also attended the Transplant Games since 2004.

When the Howie’s House opened in 2011, David and Elizabeth began to financially support our mission, too, by becoming Family Circle members. They attended our President’s Reception, an event to honor our Family & Founder’s Circle members, and became interested in Gift of Life Howie’s House’s Legacy Society for Planned Giving. Both were thinking about redoing their wills and generously decided to include the Howie’s House in them.

“The Howie’s House gives patients one less thing to worry about,” David says. “What the staff does is absolutely amazing. It’s a great feeling to support it. We’re able to be a part of the Legacy Society, so why wouldn’t we?”

The Kennedys’ decision to join our Legacy Society and make a planned gift ensures that they will help families staying with us years from now, and that their values will live on in the future at the Howie’s House.

“We were thinking about what could be possible for the families who will stay at the house,” Elizabeth says. “We knew they’d need a place to go. We knew what we went through as a donor family and we can only imagine how difficult it must be for those on the waiting list. We understand how important it is for them to have their families close by.”

Are you also considering drafting or redoing your will? You, too, can join Gift of Life Howie’s House’s Legacy Society for Planned Giving and ensure that the love and care transplant families need will be provided for years to come.

Have you already included the Howie’s House in your will?

Let us know so we can celebrate with you now! Enjoy recognition today as a Legacy Society member. Supporters who notify us that they have made arrangements for planned gifts will be recognized as members of our prestigious Legacy Society. Member who have made bequests of $10,000 or more will have their names added to the special Legacy Society Wall in the Howie’s House living room.

Find more information here.

To discuss making a planned gift to Gift of Life Howie’s House or if you have already named us in your will, please contact Sara Cohen, Development Manager at 267-546-9812 or email scohen@giftoflifefamilyhouse.org. Please consult your attorney, tax adviser, or financial adviser before making a bequest or updating your estate plan.

Gift of Life Howie’s House would like to welcome the newest member of the Gift of Life Howie’s House Advisory Board, Bill Soloway! Bill is a heart transplant recipient, receiving his precious gift of life in June of 2015 thanks to a selfless donor. He is well known for his community advocacy, his relationship building, and his endless energy. “You have one life to live and eight lives to give,” he says.  “Become an organ donor. My life depended on it.”

Our new Advisory Board member, Bill Soloway.
Our new Gift of Life Howie’s House Advisory Board member, Bill Soloway.

In the mid-1990s, Bill was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited condition where heart muscle cells become enlarged, altering the structure and function of the heart. Bill lost his 27-year old brother to the same condition.

Before his transplant journey, Bill loved cycling. During his post-transplant recovery, Bill was inspired by stories he heard about the Transplant Games, a multi-sport event for individuals who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries. Just 10 weeks after his transplant, Bill got back on his bike. This year, Bill will compete in both the Transplant Games’ 5K and 20K bicycle races, as well as in badminton, volleyball, and pickleball.

Bill honors his donor and donor family through his work in the community including service as a Gift of Life Ambassador, HUP Heart Transplant Support Group member, Team Philadelphia member, TRIO Philadelphia Chapter Board member, UNOS Ambassador, Masonic Blood+Organ Donor Board member, and a Help Hope Live committee member. Bill is also an Eagle Scout.   

When asked about the Howie’s House, Bill says: “Being a heart transplant recipient, I understand the many trials and tribulations that families go through in the transplant process. To have a place that is a safe port for transplant families to anchor in after a long day at the hospital means an awful lot, especially to those families that are not familiar with the Philadelphia area. I believe in everything the Gift of Life Howie’s House stands for and am honored to be a part of such an amazing organization.”

Ed Galarza’s been a volunteer with Gift of Life Donor Program since he received a life-saving liver transplant in 2003. As soon as the Howie’s House opened in 2011, he started volunteering here, too. He started out cooking dinners for our guests, checking them in at the Front Desk, and driving them to and from transplant hospitals for their doctor’s appointments. Seven years later, Ed’s still hanging out with us. He volunteers twice a week assisting with upkeep around the facility, performing maintenance work, and is a back-up shuttle driver.

Ed was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in the Bronx, and now lives in New Jersey. He has 2 children, 3 grandchildren, and is a retired Army veteran. He was first diagnosed with liver disease in 1999, but didn’t start to get sick until 2003. Unfortunately, there was no Howie’s House for him or his family to stay in during his transplant journey. His wife had to travel to and from the hospital by herself. He understands the importance of having a safe place to stay during such a difficult journey.

“The Howie’s House is very important,” he says. “It’s all about helping people in need.”

Ed is motivated to give back to everyone who has helped him along his own transplant journey. “I volunteer here to give back to the wonderful people who work for this organization, for my second chance at life, and for those who worked their butts off to help me get where I am today,” he says. “I get more than I give when I’m here. Being in the Howie’s House makes me feel better.”

Ed also enjoys giving back to others who are on their own transplant journeys. “I really like talking with the guests I meet. I can relate to them,” he says. “I’ve been there. I know what they’re going through and what they will go through.”

We’re so thankful for you, Ed. You help make the Howie’s House such a wonderful place!

Since 1996, Gift of Life Donor Program has hosted the Donor Dash to promote organ and tissue donation and to raise funds to educate the community about the critical need for more people to register as organ and tissue donors.

dash for donor awareness logoAll proceeds received through fundraising for the Donor Dash benefit Transplant Foundation, the charitable foundation supporting the mission of Gift of Life Donor Program. All funds raised at the Donor Dash go to support programs and activities designed to increase organ and tissue donor awareness, including sponsorship of Team Philadelphia’s participation in the Transplant Games of America, programs and activities in support of donor and recipient families, including the Gift of Life Howie’s House.

Register Now

The Dash celebrates the life-saving power of donation and honors all of the donors who make it possible. By supporting Gift of Life and the Donor Dash, you will help raise awareness about the critical need to increase the number of those registered as organ and tissue donors. We are looking to partners like you to help make a difference in the lives of those affected by organ and tissue donation. There are more than 5,400 people men, women, and children waiting in our region for a second chance at life through an organ transplant. You can help us make a difference!

Event Details

Registration:

Now through noon on April 9, 2019:

*Upgrade by March 14 to receive a Dash tech tee and running hat. Gift of Life will mail your tech tee and running hat before the Dash!

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