Each week we have moments that just totally stop us in our tracks no matter how busy we may be. Even immersed in it on a regular basis, the miracles we so often see move us emotionally and inspire us to do what we do.
This past week, we welcomed one of our heart transplant recipients Keith and his wife Lisa back for a regular checkup. Keith's case is a complicated one as he had a significant stroke just a few months ago. There was real fear that he may never regain many of the most basic functions that we all take for granted. It was a difficult and emotional time for us all sharing a house with Lisa earlier this fall when she was going through all of that as a caregiver. Keith has been making such good progress the past couple months from his stroke that we finally decided that we would put them upstairs for the very first time during their stay. To see him carry up his own bags and climb the stairs effortlessly that night was the best feeling ever. Those moments mean so much when you share the daily journey with a family.
As two of our recent double lung transplant families gathered at a safe distance around the dining room table the other night, one of the recipients abruptly halted the conversation and got overwhelmed with emotion when he shared how much the community of support and family atmosphere here at RHTH meant to him and his family. To see two families with the very same transplant and nearly identical journeys meet here and share stories, experiences and ask deeply personal questions and seek advice is an amazing experience to be part of and one of our favorite parts of this house.
On another recent night, we captured a great imagine of one of our heart transplant caregivers trying to embrace technology so that he could stream his Grandsons high school basketball game way up in Northern Wisconsin. They have been attending so many of these games for 30 years and now that they have a grandson on the team, would never think of missing a game under normal circumstances. We shared the photo with the family to let them know that Grandpa was proudly watching that night. Days later, that Grandson stopped by RHTH with his Mom and gave Grandpa a new laptop so that he could watch all his games on a bigger screen for as long as they are here in Madison. What a cool family moment to witness. Generations of family members doing whatever they can to make a challenging time a bit easier for everyone!
On another recent night, we hosted a multiple myeloma caregiver on a day in which one of our Rochester, MN families had a big appointment that would help guide the future of their transplant journey. It was almost a holiday sign from above for our family. Many years ago, my father-in-law battled multiple myeloma with a bone marrow transplant at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Our families lengthy stay at Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester proved to be the inspiration behind our mission to start Restoring Hope Transplant House here in the Madison area. It brought back a flood of old memories and thoughts of so many people who are sadly no longer with us who would be so proud of the loving community this house has continued to provide to so many families. We can feel the continued presence of so many who have blessed this house in so many ways.
The stories, relationships and love under this roof are so very real and special. We cannot thank you all enough for helping to create that atmosphere and somehow finding ways to support our efforts even during the worst pandemic of our lifetime. These miracles are your creation and for that we are forever grateful.
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Restoring Hope Transplant House