Meet Bruce and Tina Bradshaw

The Bradshaws celebrate Bruce’s first birthday with his new heart.

While each transplant journey is unique, many patients and caregivers share similar experiences and challenges. Tina and Bruce Bradshaw’s journey to a new heart for Bruce is no exception.

Like many of our guests, the Bradshaws traveled hours from their home in Ohio to Cleveland, hoping to receive a life-saving organ transplant. In Bruce’s case, this meant waiting for a donor heart – a wait, he and Tina were told when he was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic on January 4, 2022, that would have to take place in the hospital. Until Bruce was transplanted, he would have to remain at the Clinic.

Bruce and Tina’s circumstances are likely familiar to many of our House guests. Often for families facing the need for transplant, the final, tense stages of the wait are when the hopeful recipient is at their sickest and the need for a donor organ at its most urgent. As their loved one waits in the hospital, their caregiver faces their own set of challenges: stress and worry, feelings of loneliness and homesickness, and the physical and emotional toll of long days spent in the hospital.

Tina and Bruce enjoying the outdoor spaces at Transplant House.

For Tina, these challenges were made more difficult by the fact that their journey was happening during ongoing COVID restrictions at the hospital.

“Bruce was not allowed to have visitors, other than myself,” Tina recalls. “It was a very stressful time, and I was alone.”

Having a place to call home during their 3 month stay in Cleveland made all the difference for her – changing a lonely time away from home and family into one where she felt comfortable in her own private apartment and cared for by others that she met at the House.

“Every morning, I went to the Transplant House office to wait on the shuttle, and I met so many wonderful people, both staff and family members of transplant patients,” she says.

Waiting for and riding the shuttle offered Tina a time to catch up with other caregivers and provide support to one another during what she says was a very difficult time. The shuttle also made traveling to and from the hospital much easier – something Tina was especially grateful for on the many snowy days during their stay in Cleveland.

She also appreciated the Tuesday morning breakfasts and weekly dinners on Wednesdays.

“It was so nice to be able to have a warm meal,” Tina says. “Real food, not hospital food!”   

Tina and Bruce spent three months in Cleveland as he waited for and then recovered from the gift of a new heart. According to Tina, Transplant House became a home in every sense of the word – a place where she felt welcomed and cared for during a difficult time in her life.

“Transplant House is not just a place to sleep at night, it becomes your home. I can’t say enough good things about the Transplant House!”

Bruce rings the bell in celebration of his new heart and in memory of the donor who made his second chance at life possible.

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