In July, our first apartment opened 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.
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.
By October, we’d expanded to seven apartments and an office and dining room, where our guests began creating the healing community we have today. Countless meals and cups of coffee were shared, as this non-traditional family shared in each other’s challenges and triumphs.
When I picture your Transplant House, I picture a haven where patients and caregivers can go and feel safe and refresh and renew themselves during these tough times; a place where the coffee is always on, that feels like home, surrounded by others in the same situation that understand what you are going through.
—JEANNE FROM SOUTH DAKOTA, caregiver to husband, Michael, who received a lung transplant.
The House expanded to 15 apartments, which were quickly filled as occupancy became consistently 85% or higher.
When I had my liver transplant in 2004, there was no Transplant House. There were rooms available in a hotel run by the Cleveland Clinic which were also full when I was ready to leave the hospital. As a consequence, I was sent home too early, developed complications and had to go back into the hospital. I was so delighted when the Transplant House opened. It offered a gentle place of transition for people who have had transplants as well as for their families. However, there are rarely enough apartments for everyone who needs them. I come to the Clinic two or three times a year. It’s wonderful that Transplant House has grown to accommodate the needs of transplant patients. I just hope it can keep growing so we can always sleep over when we need to.
—JULIE FROM NEW YORK
The House volunteer program grew and the Family Assistance Fund was created by Lifebanc to honor CEO Gordon Bowen, allowing further reduction of housing costs for families in need.
The Transplant House provided us a refuge of emotional support during a very hard time. The staff and Transplant House family really lifted us up when we needed it most. I am convinced that the Transplant House was critical to my husband’s survival, and to my sanity.
—KATE FROM IOWA, Caregiver
In October 2017, as the needs of transplant patients traveling to Cleveland with their families grew, so did our need for more physical space. Building 2 opened, adding nine more apartments to our campus, for a total of 24 units.
Our apartment is beautiful and inviting. We spend much of our time here and always feel so joyful to be here. Such a lovely space and container for healing.
—CAROLINE FROM OREGON, Caregiver to her son
We knew from the beginning that while a welcoming, affordable place to stay was a logistical necessity for many traveling to Cleveland for a transplant, the need did not stop there. Providing a healing community would aid so many in their challenging journey. We expanded our support programs with more community meals, yoga, meditation, patient and caregiver discussion groups, neighborhood walks and an educational series we named “Transplant Topics.”
To have a ‘home away from home’ has been beyond amazing and reassuring. The gatherings such as support groups, dinners, etc. has helped in many ways to make me feel that my life is more than an endless hospital story.
—PATRICIA FROM PENNSYLVANIA, Patient
With growing staff and programs, our offices and community spaces were feeling small and restrictive. In September, we completed renovations on a half-duplex between our two other buildings, transforming it into our Guest Office, Staff Offices and “real” Community Space of dining room and living room for guests. This new space is more versatile, allows us to offer support programming to local patients, and provides an escape from guest apartments and the chance for connection with others.
After relocating to wait for a transplant, a wait which seemed interminable, a bright spot was the summer support group meeting. To be with others who were waiting; to hear their stories and those of both recent and longer-term transplantees, did much to both help us get through a difficult time and prepare us for many of the eventualities that lay ahead.
—JILL FROM NEW JERSEY, Caregiver to husband, Jerry, who received a liver transplant.