Restoring Hope
March 2019
Our Busiest Winter Ever at Restoring Hope
4 Consecutive Record Months
While it may have been one of the most brutal Wisconsin winters in recent memory, Restoring Hope Transplant House still managed to set monthly guest stay records in November, December, January and February.  4 consecutive record months and monthly highs in 6 of the past 9 months going back even further. 

We appreciate the loyal support from our family of transplant guests dating back to 2013 when we first opened our doors.  We also appreciate your patience and understanding on those days so many old friends have called and we have been full.  We appreciate everything you all contribute to this special place that helps to make this house a home.  Thanks for an incredible winter!
No More Crippling Pain After Kidney Autotransplant
My story began in 2013, our lives changed that July when I began experiencing right kidney pain. It took a long time to figure out exactly what was wrong. My mum came with me to Mayo Clinic and after a week there I had an answer - loin pain hematuria syndrome (LPHS). Unfortunately, I was told that there was nothing to be done other than pain management. Prior to this everything was about my kids - my son (16) played soccer, my middle girls did gymnastics (11 and 9) and my youngest girl (5) had speech therapy. My husband stayed home with the kids and coached soccer at night. I had to stop work as a pediatric PT because of pain and meds.

Finally, after 5 years and quite a few different pain management docs and a move from Michigan to the warmth of Florida, I heard about Dr. Sollinger on Facebook. For the first time I had real reason to have hope. It took a while for my insurance to cooperate, but I came up for the lidocaine test to see if I was a candidate for auto transplant (AT). The test worked, next we had to plan to come for almost 3 weeks for surgery and follow-up. Initially, we stayed at the hotel. It was functional and close. After leaving the hospital following my AT, my mum and I came to Restoring Hope Transplant House. It was like coming home. We were greeted by Cindy like we were family. Our first night we had dinner with wonderful people, all of whom understood just what we were going through after transplant - even though we all had different transplants. The group included a few BMT, a couple of folks with pancreas transplants and one person had even had a liver and heart transplant.

I didn't know how special this house was until my second day here. My pain was going up and I kind of thought it was normal post-surgical stuff. Thanks to Jo, another guest who was going through her own hard time, checked on me and even drove us to the ER because she felt that was what I needed. She was right, I'd developed a partial small bowel obstruction. It was hard to feel a new pain, since my LPHS pain was gone from the time I woke up following AT. I was so relieved that my mum was staying at RHTH as I was admitted again. I didn't need to stress about her sitting alone and worrying about me, she had friends for company and Eric for a good laugh. She came to visit with interesting stories about people at the house and their progress. I knew she was eating well.

We even got a bonus week in Madison, as we chose to remain for a week after I was discharged, to make sure I was good before getting on a plane home. During my week of recuperation, I spent a lot of time in the living room watching HGTV and Food TV with my mum and Eric. Learned I had a brother I never wanted, or maybe just never had. Eric even took us over to the Mustard Museum and we stayed longer than anyone before us. So long that he required 2 soft pretzels. He also introduced us to the Diner and some amazing food. While Eric is great for a laugh, Cindy is like a built in therapist - but one you love to open up to. She started each day for us with an amazing breakfast and great chat.

It's going to be tough to leave these folks behind. Brian taught my mum some new cooking tricks and treated us to some of his cooking, too.

I honestly can't say enough good things about RHTH and the people in it. I know that this is where I'll stay when I come back for my checkup in 6 months. And this is the only place I'd recommend to my fellow LPHS warriors if they come to the LPHS clinic in hopes of ending their pain too.

Thank you to everyone at the House!

Kidney Auto Transplant Recipient
Palmetto, FL | Born and raised in Scotland
What Is A Kidney Autotransplant?
In the words of our recent AT recipient Steffanie:

"In the case of a kidney autotransplant, a kidney is moved from its original location to a different spot in the body. For example, my left kidney was removed, had some repairs done, and is now nestled in my right groin. It's a big surgery...the patient is both a donor AND a recipient, but we don't have to deal with any anti rejection medications down the road. UW Madison has THE most knowledgeable and skilled surgical team in the country for this surgery."
Click here for more information on kidney autotransplantation
Thank you Lions Clubs, Dottie Donor Dot, Dr. Odorico and RHTH Speakers
Where There's A Need There's A Lion!
We were so grateful for the opportunity to participate, speak and open our home for a tour at the recent Lions Club Convention here in Madison.  The chance to speak about the house and our families was wonderful, but to hear two of our own RHTH guests, Liz and Jo get up and share their emotional journeys through transplant, battles with diabetes, life-changing moments living at Restoring Hope Transplant House and their collective gratitude towards all of the Lions, Lioness and Leo Clubs throughout this state and beyond who support this cause was special. Their speeches left many in the room in absolute tears.  Their words were so heartfelt and impactful that I shall never forget them.

It was also a wonderful chance to listen to Dr. Odorico speak about diabetes related topics and pancreas transplantation which has given so many of our longtime diabetes suffering guests like Liz a completely new and exciting lease on life.  Also grateful for an appearance by Dottie Donor Dot who helped spread the word about the importance of organ donation.

Please know how much we appreciate every single one of you and the incredible impact you have on this house and our guests on a daily basis!  Our Alaska guest Jo was so touched by the work being done by our state Lions Clubs that she even joined during one of our recent convention appearances!
Birchwood Lion Recalls Her Stay at Restoring Hope

In the spring of 2016 our world was turned upside down because our son Gorman was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's Disease. He lives in Sauk City with a beautiful family of 3 small children and his wife. At that time she didn't drive and he was too ill to drive. So began the many long trips for me here in Birchwood, Wisconsin to Sauk to pick him up for many appointments at UW Madison Hospital Carbone Cancer Center. It was a long year and a half before Gorman was able to be ready for a Stem Cell Transplant.
My concern was where would I stay for a length of time that was needed, to help him out while hospitalized for a six week period. I inquired at the Clinic and they said "please give Cindy a call at the Restoring Hope Transplant House!" I did and an instant overwhelming relief came over me for the first time in months. I met her in person and was accepted to join their loving and very caring home!
What a wonderful feeling after so much uncertainty to be so close to my son and his family and to only have to drive a short ways to get some rest and great food. But more than anything, the welcoming feeling they provide is above and beyond.
I spent many long days and nights at the hospital but felt so welcomed each time on my return no matter the hour. Of course there was always the visits with Eric about our Wisconsin Sports teams. I always felt very safe and comfortable. If I needed anything, they were more than nice enough to provide it.
Our Birchwood Lions Club has donated to the House in Gorman's name and we have done a drive to collect dry goods for the house. I encourage anyone who has the means to please see it in their hearts to help in any way you can to continue support going to a very helpful cause. Many people far away and also close to Madison count on this. Hotels at times like these are expensive and Restoring Hope only charges a very little. Again without this very caring house and it's loving family from Madison and all across the country, that time of need for me would have been too great to bare. Thank you!
Stem Cell Transplant Recipient Mother
Birchwood, WI
Member of the Birchwood Lions Club
Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin Visitors
Nice to have the two Stacey's from the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin stop by to visit RHTH this week. We have seen each other at Lions conventions, but this time we wanted to meet and truly understand each others passion for transplant, donors and recipients and how all of this affects families and how do we urge folks to join the registry. We also want to make sure we are telling each others stories accurately and work together when we are able. We have really longed for the conversations we were able to share. These are amazing ladies, we wish them well with the new Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin facility as they celebrate their ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday.
Badger Pride: Transplant Stats & RHTH Families from Wisconsin
Where They're From: RHTH Tranpslant Families from Wisconsin
A Night at Restoring Hope Before Steve's 2nd Bone Marrow Transplant
Well, it has happened again. Another satisfying fun night at my home away from home. It all started when I arrived back from the clinic to the sounds of laughter and the smell of potato soup simmering in the kitchen. Just another meal made to share by long-term visitors (months waiting for an organ donor).

Everyone gathers at the table for the meal and the stories and laughter resume. Another visitor offers an apple pie with ice cream which is happily consumed with more conversation, stories and laughter.

Then a few good natured insults are hurled by The Night Manager aimed at those who like him best. Soon we find ourselves in the usual putting contest upstairs with a machine that shoots the mostly missed putts back to us at a rapid toe bruising rate. One by one the other folks come upstairs and are drawn into the putting "contest". More conversation and laughter are the result. Soon I have forgotten that I'm ill and my face hurts from the smiling and laughter. Joy happens with the company of others here most every night, and has happened again!
-Steve | Danbury, WI
Written shortly before undergoing his second bone marrow transplant for cancer
Update On Brian's Battle With Leukemia
We are always extremely grateful for the outpouring of support and love we receive on a regular basis regarding the leukemia journey of RHTH Executive Director Cindy's Herbst's husband Brian.  
It has been quite a journey the past year, but we are happy to report that Brian is still cancer free and has actually started to gain some positive weight recently for the first time in a long time.  He does, however, have some issues with Graft vs. Host yet we remain grateful to Dr. Juckett and our amazing team here at UW Hospital for their incredible care.  We remain very optimistic about the future and having many more opportunities to spend magical time like this with our grandkids!  Thanks for your concern!
Dr. Mezrich's New Book
Several of our RHTH guests have noticed, asked about or already purchased Dr. Mezrich's new book entitled When Death Becomes Life.  We were happy to have the opportunity to visit with him personally this winter to support his new book and get several copies signed.  Those interested in his book can order a copy here through Amazon.  It's a fascinating read that even features some good friends of ours!

Upcoming RHTH-Transplant Events
May 19 in Oshkosh: Annual square dance fundraiser to support RHTH hosted by Preceptor Alpha Mu chapter of Beta Sigma Phi

Join the Bone Marrow Registry
Our friend Dave from Waupaca was recently given the gift of life through an anonymous bone marrow donor from overseas.  This was Dave's second bone marrow transplant in his battle with cancer. We encourage you all to learn more about joining the bone marrow registry to help give life to so many of our dear families in need.
Organ Donation Saves Lives - Become An Organ Donor Today!
Congratulations to our Philippines born VA Hospital friends from Chicago who recently received their much needed heart transplant.

It meant a lot that they would stop by Restoring Hope before finally being discharged.
Please take a moment to learn more about organ donation and how you can register to become an organ donor in your state.  A few moments of your time could one day save several lives.
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.  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!

We have lost some very dear and special people this winter.  Throughout those journeys we shared a home, laughter, tears, joy, heartache, heartfelt conversation, meals and loving support that knew no bounds.  We loved these people and will miss them as dearly as their own families. We were blessed to know you all and shall never, ever forget you!
Cindy speaking at a recent Lions Club Convention
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.