Restoring Hope
Fall 2018
The Miracle of Mom at my Wedding - By Amber
I got married on September 7, 2018. It was the most perfect day of my life - one that my family and I had been waiting for a long time. One that we were told way too many times that my mom wouldn't live to see. My mom, Shelly Grovogel, was diagnosed with Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH) in 2005. At the time of her diagnosis, this was basically a death sentence. We carried on for years of different treatments, but eventually, it was determined that a bone marrow transplant would not only allow her to live longer, it could cure the disease completely. We had a long road before her bone marrow transplant on May 1, 2013. A road we could not have walked without somewhere to stay and amazing people who took us in and made us family - Brian, Cindy, and Eric. They, and the other families who call Restoring Hope Transplant House a second home, made those days not only bearable, but fun and truly filled with hope. My mom and I lived at RHTH for about a month while she recovered- we were some of the first who truly called RHTH home. When we went home after her recovery, we knew we always had a place to stay anytime we needed it. In the end, we ended up needing it a lot sooner than we expected.
Even though my mom's PNH was cured, the lasting damage it caused to her liver was not. My mom started turning yellow and noticed that something was wrong. On New Year's Eve of 2015, she went to the hospital for a check-up and was told that she would need a liver transplant. Now. She was admitted and we waited, knowing that we had a place to rest and recharge (and shower). My dad had just made it back to Sturgeon Bay, WI when we got the call that she was getting her life-saving transplant the next day so back we came. My dad, grandma, uncle, and step-grandpa all waited in the waiting room of the UW hospital for 12 hours, only to find out that they were not able to establish enough blood flow to the new liver and it would have to be given to someone else. The transplant that would save her life failed. We called Eric to tell him that my grandma, uncle, and step-grandpa would be coming back that night and that my mom was probably going to die soon. At 3:00AM, he had the lights on, the driveway shoveled, and his always-ready ears to listen and shoulder to cry on. But my mom made it to my wedding so this isn't the end, right?  
We knew that this wasn't the end - we were going to fight until her heart stopped beating (and probably even after that). So did the doctors - they came up with the idea of a multiple organ transplant - liver, pancreas, stomach, intestines. Everything that they would need to give her a chance. On February 8, 2016, she got that chance. An amazing, beautiful, young woman passed away and was kind enough to be an organ donor. Back into surgery my mom went. 18 hours later we were able to make a much different call to our RHTH family: one full of joy. The road to recovery wasn't easy, but again, we had a place to call home while in Madison.  
Cindy, Eric, and Brian are more than the caretakers for the caretakers. They live and breathe family. They have created an environment not only of healing, but of hope. They have always been there for tears, laughs, pie, pizza, anchovies (bleh!), and love. God put this mission in their hearts and they have carried it to each and every person who walks through their doors. My mom was there to help me pick out my dress, to help me plan and decorate, to take goofy pictures of me getting my hair and makeup done, to walk me down the aisle to my husband and best friend. She was able to dance with my dad. Her photo was not in a frame on our "In Memory" table. My wedding day was a day overflowing with love and joy, it was everything I had ever dreamed it would be and more. And my mom was alive to share it.

A Transplant Miracle Of Our Own: Happy Anniversary
Brian and Cindy's Anniversary: One to Remember!
How blessed we were to be able to enjoy another anniversary together in Door County recently after all we have been through battling Brian's leukemia.  The outpouring of love and support we have received from you all throughout this journey has truly been overwhelming and appreciated.  A current bout of expected GVHD reminds us all just how delicate these situations can be, but we continue to move forward with great hope. 
We are so grateful to reach this milestone anniversary together and really want to thank you all again for the steady stream of well wishes. When you go through something like this it is hard to put in to words just how meaningful the little things in life spending Halloween with your grandchildren!
One of our RHTH bone marrow transplant recipients recently learned of the donor that gave her the gift of life and it was so wonderful to follow their interactions on social media as they shared so many of their emotions and stories.  It certainly hit home with us as we think often of the kind-hearted person who sacrificed so much to give us another chance to enjoy moments like these.  We hope sharing stories like these inspires others to consider learning more about whether becoming a bone marrow, organ or blood donor makes sense for others.  These incredible gifts have not only given us hope, but have saved the lives of so many of our guests over the years.  
Oak Creek Family Receives Rare Liver-Kidney Transplant
My husband Gary came to UW Hospital and received a liver and kidney transplant on September 16th, 2018. My daughters and I were especially grateful to be able to stay at Restoring Hope Transplant House. Cindy was able to accommodate us on a short notice. The comfort and compassion both Cindy and Eric gave us was more than we could have hoped for.

It was wonderful to be surrounded by others who were going through or have gone through the same experiences as us. The Restoring Hope Transplant House is more than just a place to stay, it's a place to talk and band with others who can empathize with you and support you. We had a healthy breakfast provided daily and the house was kept very clean and organized. They made us feel like part of the family. We will forever be grateful for the compassion and support we received during this incredibly stressful time of our lives.

Thank you for everything!
Barb, Melissa and Michelle | Liver-Kidney Recipient Family | Oak Creek, WI
Megan's Journey Back to RHTH After Losing Her Father
In 2017 I gained a family that I didn't expect but that will now be a part of my life forever. To my Middleton and UW Hospital Madison, WI families, for all that you did for my dad and I, and for all that you continue to do for me, and for all the others who cross your paths, endless thank you's and boundless love.

A thank you to Eric, who fed me right before my journey back to Chicago today. And to Eric and Cindy who made certain we were cared for during our stay last year in ways that I'm still learning every day, and who made certain that I was listened to, cared for, and had laughs while I was there this weekend. There are things that quite literally I couldn't have done without you. From the bottom of my heart, love and gratitude, always. Words simply can't express...
Every day, you selflessly help people through situations that I can't even begin to imagine. You are blessings.

-Megan (Chicago, IL)
*Father Mike (Rhinelander, WI)
Dual Kidney Transplant For Our Michigan Friends
We received a call on October 9, 2018 at 9:30 eastern time that there were 2 kidneys for Tom. We scrambled around like we were going to the hospital to get a baby. We live 5 ½ hours away, so we were like crazy. Reminded me of an I Love Lucy show. So praise God we are having "twins". We had to be in Madison by 3:30 am on the 10th of October. Long story short, don't know if I could have gotten through this ordeal without Restoring Hope Transplant House. Very calming setting recovering from this ordeal. We are so blessed to have the UW Hospital and RHTH. Class acts for sure and can never say enough kind words. You all will forever be in our hearts.
Tom and Pam
Dual Kidney Transplant Recipient
Muskegon, MI
A Home Away From Home This Year While Caring For Both Parents
I will be forever grateful to the folks at RHTH for their kindness and friendship. I stayed at the house for quite a while this summer during my dad's liver transplant, and later, my mom's cancer treatment. The house provides a built in support system through Cindy, Eric, and the guests. I met so many wonderful people and am so thankful that a place like the RHTH exists.
Liver Transplant & Cancer Caregiver
Mosinee, WI
Homeward Bound For VA Family After 104 Days In Madison
There are few things more exciting and rewarding for us than when our long-term guests finally get the green light to head home after a very lengthy stay.  After 104 days in Madison, we were all very excited to see our new LVAD friends from the Veterans Hospital Jack and his Mom Delores be able to head back home to Cedar Rapids, IA.  What an incredible journey that saw this young man go from being very near to the finish line of life to getting around quite well now on his own.  Amazing to share a home with someone who has made such a complete transformation from when he first showed up at our door until now.
Transplant Veterans and their families make up a large percentage of our monthly guests.  From long-term visits like Jack where transplants and procedures are performed at UW Hospital before the patients are eventually relocated to the adjacent Veterans Hospital to regular check-ups, many of these families have become a big part of the RHTH family since we started working closely with that side of transplant as well in addition to UW transplant families.  Grateful for their friendship and partnership and very thankful for their collective service.
A few more of our favorite photos from the past month...
5th Annual Steve Muenchow Memorial Golf Outing
We all had so much fun at the recent Steve Muenchow Golf Outing hosted by his family and Live Love Donate.  Great to have some of our RHTH friends come out to help volunteer and help share their own transplant stories.  Grateful for all the kind words, friendly people and funds raised that day to help support Restoring Hope Transplant House.  Many thanks to the event participants, hosts, organizers and sponsors for making this a really wonderful event held each year in loving memory of Mr. Muenchow.
Beta Sigma Phi Supports RHTH As Their State Charity of Choice
It was an honor to be invited to speak at an international women's organization called Beta Sigma Phi for the fifth year. This women's organization is strong in the Madison area. In fact, there are 13 chapters just in Madison, and many more throughout the state of Wisconsin and throughout the world. Restoring Hope Transplant House was originally slated to be their state service project for three years, but because so many members believed in what we were doing at RHTH, they voted to continue financial support for another three years. That's because they truly 'got it'. While their focus was on life, learning, and friendship...they all knew that the greatest lesson was LOVE. They heard and saw the LOVE of RHTH and wished to continue their financial support.  We appreciate all they continue to do to give life to this house!
On The Road Again - Speaking At Wisconsin Lions Club Conferences
Getting out on the road has really been a challenge this year with Brian's leukemia, so I am really looking forward to getting up to Keshena for the District 27 B2 Conference this weekend near my hometown of Green Bay and back up to Appleton the following weekend to speak and meet with Lions Club supporters from that district.  These are areas where I was born and raised, where I still have family and where so many of our transplant house families call home.   
The work these statewide Lions Clubs do to support this house and the transplant community is the main reason why we are able to witness the medical miracles we do here at RHTH on a weekly basis.  Not only do they keep us going with financial donations, but they also do incredible things for diabetes research, vision testing, leader dogs for the visually impaired and so many other community-minded projects.  I look forward to seeing you all again this weekend!
Reminder to those who may have missed it in September, Lion Magazine ran a feature story on RHTH.  That wonderfully written story is available online by clicking here.
EAT LOCALLY: RHTH Guests Enjoying Middleton Dining!
In The Middle Of It All
We have had so many tasty meals out this month with members of our RHTH family.  Whether it's long-term guests looking to try something different, old friends back for a check-up and eager to eat at their favorite local restaurant or new visitors just learning their way around our area and the many great restaurants within walking is always a great time to eat out whenever you are in the Good Neighbor City.  We are thankful for all of the great hospitality these places provide our guests as well.  It goes a long way in making so many of our guests feel comfortable when they are regularly welcomed with open arms!
Facebook Birthday Fundraisers: Another Incredible Month!
You all have done it again.  We just received a check for $1,500 from Facebook related birthday fundraisers being held in support of Restoring Hope Transplant House.  Such a wonderful gesture that truly does so much each month to offset so many of our regular operating expenses.  Appreciate all who have chosen RHTH as their charity of choice when celebrating their special day!
Winter Is Coming - Please Help Us Heat Restoring Hope
People often ask how they can help with the work we do here at Restoring Hope Transplant House.  With a chilly Wisconsin winter just around the corner one of our greatest annual expenses is heating this large home so that our visiting transplant families are comfortable each and every day. This is a significant expense each month that we could use your help with if any of our families, groups, clubs or businesses are at all interested in helping to offset these huge expenses.  For more information, please contact RHTH Executive Director Cindy Herbst at 608-831-1726 or via email at  We would be most grateful for your help this winter!

You Can Help - Support RHTH & Transplant Families Today!

If this cause and the above faces, families and stories inspire and move you, we hope that you would please consider making a donation to Restoring Hope Transplant House.  Your generosity is so vitally important  as a non-profit that depends almost entirely upon financial contributions from supporters like you.  We simply cannot do this alone.

Please help support the transplant community by making a secure online donation to Restoring Hope Transplant House via PayPal today! 

We are also actively searching for major donors to help with our joint efforts with the Lions Clubs of Wisconsin and others to help push us over the top for our extensive plans to renovate and add on to the current house as well as monthly donors and fundraisers to help with operating expenses.  This will ensure that Restoring Hope Transplant House becomes a longtime fixture in both downtown Middleton and in the transplant community.  If you have any suggestions, connections or interest please contact Executive Director Cindy Herbst at 608-831-1726 or via email at  Please help!

  In loving memory of dear friends we have lost.  Thank you for your friendship, laughs, love and lasting memories. We are so grateful for all you and your families have done to help make this house a home.  You will never be forgotten!
Cindy getting in the fall spirit at RHTH
About Restoring Hope Transplant House - Contact Cindy

Restoring Hope Transplant House is a non-profit home established to serve organ and bone marrow transplant patients and their families. The home features six generously-sized guest rooms, multiple sitting rooms, full kitchen, laundry, cable tv, wi-fi and a tranquil yet convenient location in downtown Middleton, just five miles from UW Hospital.

If you have any questions about RHTH, please contact Cindy to learn more.