10 Years of Transplant House

July 2014

On July 20, we opened the door to our first apartment to welcome Ashley and Miriam from Arizona. The need could not have been greater for this very special mother and daughter in pursuit of a 4-organ transplant. After a 4 day drive to Ohio from their home in a car with "4 Organ transplant" painted on the windows, Ashley and Miriam stepped into Apartment 3 at Transplant House. They would call this House home for more than 2 years.

Transplant House was fortunate enough to welcome the perfect family to embody the mission of radical welcome that defines our House. Ashley and Miriam's determination, courage, humor, love, and openness set the tone for the years ahead.

When they arrived, we had no staff, no office, and no other guests in the building. We slowly grew the organization with them and around them. They taught us the unique needs of transplant patients and caregivers; but more than that, their way of welcoming others, enveloping them in friendship, and helping them navigate the challenges of the journey, were instrumental in setting the culture of Transplant House of Cleveland. Ashley and Miriam planted the seeds of this healing community that has served more than 1,600 transplant families since their arrival.
 
 

Words from Our Guests

We felt extremely blessed to have found Transplant House of Cleveland. The staff have really gone above and beyond to make us feel at home. It is such a relief to come back from my appointments and testing and be able to say, "It's nice to be home!" There's no telling how long I will need to be in Cleveland. They say 6 months to 1 year, but there's really no promise. Without Transplant House, we would be forced to stay in hotels or try to find an accommodating apartment. As we all know, those kinds of expenses add up so fast and really put a financial hardship on families. Transplant House has really been our saving grace.

—ASHLEY FROM ARIZONA, who spent 3 years here and became a beloved familiar face among staff, volunteers and guests.

October 2014

By October, with the help of volunteers and generous financial supporters, we expanded to seven apartments, an office, and dining room. 

 

This growth allowed us to serve more families and to serve them in more ways than before. Weekly meals, check-ins at our office, and a larger number of apartments helped us create the firm foundation of a caring community that ensures guests do not feel alone during the transplant journey.

Getting Started!

A lot of growth and changes occurred in the first five months at Transplant House. They allowed us to better serve guests and make them feel welcome while far from home. We also gained new friends and supporters in the community that ensured our continued 

  • Transplant House added our first staff members, David Grier and Cassie Rosenbaum.
  • Local high school Senior, Kiera Grady, organized the "Laps 4 Life" event and raises $1,600 for Transplant House! (Photos)
  • Transplant House hosts a Grand Opening and Open House Celebration, bringing Board Members, medical professionals, and colleagues from partner organizations together. (Photos)

Brian & Diane Vitale

 

Brian and Diane traveled to Cleveland from their home in New Jersey for a liver transplant in 2013, before we opened our doors to Transplant families. Their experience of a long term hotel stay during transplant drew them to our mission and they quickly became Transplant House's first major donor (and Brian, a Board Member and tireless fundraiser for the House). For the Vitales, the mission of the House was one they felt at a deeply personal level.
 

"Diane and I were in Cleveland for seven months for my transplant and recovery. The two months together at the hotel pre-transplant were awful. No friends or family nearby. No kitchen. We have no one to talk to. The only blessing is we had each other.

Post-transplant I was in a rehab hospital for four months. Diane was returning to nothing at the hotel each night. She could have been returning to her 'transplant family' every night if the House had been open then. We both would have had much better experiences if she had been at Transplant House."

– BRIAN FROM NEW JERSEY

In August of 2014 Transplant House held a naming ceremony honoring their significant financial commitment to making this House a reality. Sadly, Brian passed in November of 2020, but Diane has carried on his legacy of generous support.

2015

In 2015, the House expanded to 15 apartments. These filled quickly, as monthly occupancy grew to consistently 85% or higher.

The year also saw Transplant House

  • hold a "Let's Bowl for Transplant House Fundraiser" that brought in over $8,500 for the House (Photos)
  • host our first ever Garden Party Event, raising over $42,000 for the House and marking the opening of all 15 apartments
  • celebrate Blue and Green Day on our Campus for the first time
  • inaugurated two ongoing Holiday Traditions begun by Board Members: cookie decorating for guests hosted by Candice Monroe and a holiday delivery of cookies from Lisa Vegas and Matthew Miller

Words from Our Guests

2015 by the Numbers

We Welcome Our First Volunteers!

 

Judith Wolkoff, Anne Smith, Deanne Lentz, and Steve Goodman all joined our Transplant House team as volunteers in 2015. Each of them brought – and continue to bring nine years later! – care, dedication, and generosity of spirit with them to the House. 

Stay tuned for more Transplant House history throughout 2024!