Restoring Hope
December 2017
Happy Holidays from Restoring Hope Transplant House
Dear Friends,
I hope this letter finds you and your family in good health and jovial spirits as we celebrate the holidays.
2017 was our fourth year of sharing a home and so many incredible journeys with transplant families from all across the country. What a year it's been. Complete strangers have become lifelong friends. Our two busiest months ever happened this year. We ventured  through uncharted waters together with transplant trailblazers. Have shared painful tears of loss with loved ones over people we have grown to love ourselves. We have seen spirit lifting miracles each and every week of this calendar year. Received generous support and heartfelt donations in loving memory. Lions Clubs throughout Wisconsin and Northern Illinois supporting a charitable cause hundreds of miles away from their hometowns because they know it serves so many of their neighbors. A group of UW Transplant Program nurses who stopped by with a wonderful donation because they know our families and believe in this cause. You are the reason we do this. You are the reason this place is so special. In a season built upon lifting each other's spirits, you have filled our hearts with great joy.
The heart and soul of this house comes from the collective compassion of our transplant families. Over Thanksgiving weekend, we hosted dinner for families from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. Away from home and loved ones for the holidays yet united in their journeys because of this welcoming home that supporters and guests like yourself have provided with your generous financial contributions. The miracles we share a roof with will continue only as long as friends of the transplant community embrace this cause as one that is very dear and personal to them. Please help us share this incredible place and the amazing stories that take place within its walls with others who may be touched by our collective efforts.
Your support this holiday season is so crucial. We simply cannot do this house alone. We need each and every one of you. It is our hope that you will consider making a year-end donation to Restoring Hope Transplant House in support of so many of our inspirational visitors. Your kindness and compassion continues to restore hope to so many who simply needed a warm embrace and a friendly conversation. Thanks for all you do to make this house a home!
Cindy Herbst
Executive Director & Co-Founder
Restoring Hope Transplant House
Kenton Meets His Donor Family From Marinette
"A Year of all Years"
I have always been a "big picture" person who loves to celebrate special days. A birth followed by many birthdays, graduations, weddings and especially holidays. Why? I admit it, I was born on the 4th of July!
Then, my life changed forever at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in August of 2016. After 26 yrs. of Type 1 Diabetes and 2 yrs. of Dialysis, I received a dual transplant, Kidney and Pancreas! It was, at this moment in time, my awareness and understanding of these gifts from my donor took on a "life of its own" in me! I became more grateful and humbled by the smallest of things. Little "nuggets" of love and caring from total strangers along the way. Doctors and nurses on the transplant floor at UW casting a vote of confidence our way during the struggle. Families from across the nation, building relationships with Sarah and me as we all healed at Restoring Hope Transplant House. It seemed as though we emerged from RHTH, better versions of ourselves. Taking that spirit among transplant families and spreading that joy back to our own communities. The word and image that comes to mind most is AWE!
Four months ago, this innocent feeling stopped me in my tracks as my donor family, from Wisconsin, took me under their wings! The "gems" of touching base with them for the remainder of 2017, bridge an eternal hope of goodness for all. A wonderful third family (if you will), moving forward together on our journeys into the next year. Fortunately, the wave action on Lake Michigan works as a constant reminder my donor family and friends are closer than I think. For all of our donors and recipients, I wish them abundant peace and joy from even the least likely people and places in 2018!  
With Love,  
Kidney-Pancreas Recipient
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Proud husband of Sarah (31 years) and father of two beautiful children, Nathan (25) and Rachel (22).
RHTH Guests In Their Own Words:  A New Kidney For The Thomas Family
When we first heard about the Transplant House, we were apprehensive. Will it be private enough? Will it be clean enough? Will it be full of really sick people? Dreary? We prayed about it. Since it is highly recommended by the UW Transplant Program, we decided to give the house a try.
We visited in July 2016 and found it to be a beautiful environment full of families just like us. Our apprehensions were laid to rest. Cindy and Eric are wonderful caretakers of the house as well as each and every guest who comes to the house.
Our second visit was November 2017 for Dave's kidney transplant. The house was full of comfort and support. The dining room table is far more than just meals. It is a daily meeting place for sharing, for listening, for comforting, for crying, for joking and for meeting up with the friends we made during our stay.
We now know why Restoring Hope Transplant House is so highly recommended by the Transplant Program. It is a real home away from home.
Thomas Family
Kidney Transplant Recipient
Romulus, MI
In Their Own Words: "I will never forget the family here at Restoring Hope"

Our journey began in May 2015. While my husband was a diabetic for most of his adult life, he managed it well. In 2015, he was hospitalized for complications and he spiraled downhill from there. His kidneys were failing.

By October 2016, he began dialysis at home. We had to look for a hospital for transplant. We began the process of tests to get on the list. We started at St. Lukes and Froedtert in Milwaukee. We were accepted at Froedtert and Darrell's sister Connie began the testing to become his donor.

Then we got a call from UW Madison. We were hoping to get an evaluation there. We met with the kidney team and waited to see if we could be put on their list. We got a call from them we didn't expect. The coordinator for pancreas was sitting in on his evaluation and felt he was a candidate for a kidney/pancreas. We then met with her and the surgeons and they approved him for transplant. They also put him on the top of the list.

We only waited just under 4 weeks before we got the call. We drove to Madison and he was in surgery the next morning.

I needed a place to stay and so did our daughters who were also there. I saw a flier and some information on the Restoring Hope Transplant House. One phone call and conversation with Cindy and we had a place to stay. The warmth and caring of everyone we came into contact with warmed my heart. To say we felt at home was an understatement. Hugs were always there for you. So many new friends were made. Everyone supported us in a way nobody could. We were all on the same journey. Cindy made a wonderful breakfast every morning - she took care of us so we could face each day at the hospital.

I'm happy to say Darrell's surgery was a success. We will be going home just 1 week after his transplant to begin a new life. We will thank God every day and pray his donor family finds comfort in the life they have given to so many. I will never forget the family here at the Restoring Hope Transplant House. They made me feel safe, comforted and loved my whole stay. They took care of me. I never felt alone for 1 minute. Thank you so much for opening your home to all transplant families. You have a special place and I thank God we found both Cindy and Eric. Your warmth and compassion will never be forgotten.

God bless you both - Restoring Hope Transplant House is truly a special place!

Darrell and Polly
Kidney-Pancreas Transplant Family
Marinette, WI
Chelsie Gives Back to RHTH
"I love to contribute to meaningful causes with my lettering and design work. The Restoring Hope Transplant House has a special place in my heart because of the services, support, and encouragement they provided my family throughout my dad's two kidney transplants and many other appointments over the years. Being able to provide unique visuals to help them communicate their passion and efforts reminds me of why I love to do creative work."
-Chelsie Tamms |
We are so incredibly grateful to Chelsie for donating her time and immense talents to help create so many beautiful and inspiring graphics in support of the very house that served as their home away from home during their transplants.  Chelsie is such a great coach and always encourages everyone to find the wonderful things in life even when our journeys can oftentimes be clouded with challenges.  Restoring Hope is a place of great humanity and compassion and Chelsie always does such a great job of capturing that in her work.  We appreciate you!
Spreading Holiday Cheer In Memory of Paul

Dear Natzke Family & Friends,

We can't thank you enough for the donated cookies you delivered to Restoring Hope Transplant House in loving memory of Paul Natzke. Pictured above are some of our current transplant families who have come from Puerto Rico, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. On behalf of everyone here at Restoring Hope, I would like to pass along our collective love and appreciation to you all this holiday season. Thanks for filling this house with smiles! ❤️
Lunch and conversation with our Puerto Rico friend at The Village Green in downtown Middleton
Our First Transplant Visitor From Puerto Rico
How wonderful it has been to welcome our first guest ever from Puerto Rico.  Randy was a longtime military man who fell in love with and married a young lady from the island.  He has been in town for his 3 year lung transplant checkup.  At the time of his transplant, the VA near his home told him he was the first resident of Puerto Rico to have received a lung transplant.
As he prepares to head back home, Randy and his wife are still without electricity following the devastating hurricanes that hit the island in mid September.  We wish them all the very best on so many fronts!

Seasons Greetings To Our Lions Club Friends
We would like to wish a very Happy Holidays to all of the Lions, Lioness and Leo Clubs who work so hard in their respective communities to make such a huge difference for their neighbors in need.  No single group has embraced Restoring Hope Transplant House more than these incredible people.   
That includes our former heart transplant recipient guest Steve from Kirkland, Illinois.  With a second chance at life, Steve is making the most of his opportunities to give back to Restoring Hope Transplant House and so many of his transplant neighbors in need by regularly speaking about RHTH and raising funds for the cause from Lions Clubs in his district.  These are the types of people that make Restoring Hope possible.  Thank you all and Happy Holidays!

In The Holiday Spirit
The spirit of the Holidays have led many wonderful people to Restoring Hope this month.  So grateful for the Glodosky's of Stevens Point for donating a new lift chair for our transplant families to enjoy, to the volunteers who helped out in our crafts room at a recent holiday event, for the Sepanski family for gifting a new microwave, to our loyal friends from Beta Sigma Phi who have committed to RHTH as their charity of choice for several years and to the great group of people at the Middleton Seniors Center who dropped off a large batch of warm and comfortable winter gear for our visitors to enjoy this chilly winter.  Appreciate each and every one who has had a hand in making this house a home!

The Pulse Of The House This Holidays!
There has always been something very special here at RHTH about time spent together in the kitchen and at our long dining room table.  Ask any of our long term guests and most of them will have great stories or fond memories of moments spent there.  Especially this time of year when so many of our transplant famlies are away from home and loved ones, it means so much to always have a chair to share at a full table of friends.

We owe so much to our dear friend Lea who helped emphasize the importance of these areas when we first opened our doors.  It is the heartbeat of the house and such a festive place to gather this time of year!
You Can Help - Year End Giving!

If this cause and the above faces, families and stories inspire and move you, we hope that you would please consider making a holiday donation to Restoring Hope Transplant House.  Your generosity during these crucial holiday months of giving are so vitally important  as a non-profit that depends almost entirely upon financial contributions from supporters like you. 

Our regular monthly heating bills during this chilly Wisconsin winter are off the charts for this massive house.  Serving daily breakfasts to a full house is also a significant operating expense where donations are so crucial.  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...
Since opening our doors in 2013, we have been blessed to share a home with enough wonderful people and witnessed firsthand enough miraculous moments to fill the pages of a story book. We have also lost some very dear friends over that span.  It is with heavy hearts that we reflect back upon those people and their families who have so deeply touched our lives.  So many of those frozen in time moments, unforgettable conversations, shared laughs and quality time spent with great friends we will never ever forget.  Our thoughts and heartfelt love go out to all of the families grieving the loss of a loved one this time of year.  May you find peace in this joyous holiday season and a lifetime of great memories together!
Cindy with our Onalaska friends celebrating Liz's birthday 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.