Restoring Hope
Thanksgiving 2017
Home For Thanksgiving
A reminder to our current Restoring Hope Transplant House families that we will be hosting Thanksgiving Dinner yet again this year so please make plans to join us if you are currently staying at RHTH and are able to make it.  It is always a very festive time for our guests to enjoy all of the traditional elements of Thanksgiving while away from home and loved ones.  Last year, as shown above, we enjoyed an amazing dinner with transplant families from 4 different states.  We look forward to spending the holidays with you! 
Happy Thanksgiving From Restoring Hope

Dear Friends,

As we prepare to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving feast with our guests here at Restoring Hope Transplant House, we are reminded by their mere presence of all that we are most thankful for: each other.

A bone marrow and stem cell family from Kenosha that has been here for 2 months, including celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary. A kidney recipient family from suburban Detroit that just got "the call" after first staying with us in July of 2016. An LVAD caregiver from Kalamazoo who finds great comfort in preparing home cooked meals for her housemates. A young lady all the way from Connecticut has been waiting for a pancreas transplant to help alleviate a lifetime of diabetes struggles. The first ever simultaneous heart and liver transplant recipient in UW history from La Crosse. A new kidney-pancreas family that proudly calls Marinette home and a lung transplant family from Pepin that had their transplant 17 years ago.

These are the families that are calling Restoring Hope home just days away from Thanksgiving. Most have arrived with a transplant recipient, a sole caregiver and seemingly a million miles from home and loved ones. Together they have shared the widest range of emotions possible from heartbreaking setbacks to celebrations of miraculous achievements.   No matter the situation, they have lived, loved and leaned on each other through those moments - TOGETHER. We are so thankful for each other because nobody should have to go through this alone.

The other day one of our guests was uncertain about how she would get to the hospital while temporarily getting by without a vehicle. Within minutes she had an index card full of phone numbers from her house mates with strict instructions to wake them at any hour if needed. During this holiday season celebrating thankfulness and giving, Restoring Hope Transplant House and our visiting families also need your help to keep these welcoming doors open with your generous financial support. If your family has been forever touched by your experiences here at Restoring Hope or these families and their stories move and inspire you, we hope that you would consider making a year-end donation in support of the things we are most thankful for: each other.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cindy Herbst
Executive Director & Co-Founder
Restoring Hope Transplant House
A Bond Built Through Organ Donation

Two months ago, the members of my donor family were strangers. While they were faceless and largely nameless, I knew they were among the most admirable and impactful people in my life. They were at their very best when life was at its very worst. The gift they selflessly honored saved my life and rewrote the life story for my wife, children, parents, siblings, and everyone close to me. In coordination with The Gift of Hope, the Restoring Hope Transplant House (RHTH) hosted our first meeting in October of this year.
Receiving a donor organ was not the way my transplant story began. I was diagnosed with Wilson's Disease, later determined to be Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, in 2009. I was first listed for transplant in 2010 on my 25th birthday. My younger sister, Brittney, offered to undergo testing to give a portion of her liver through live donation. Brittney and my parents stayed at the RHTH through her testing as her medical team at UW-Madison determined if she was a candidate to donate. RHTH offered them a home away from home. She was a p erfe ct match and I received 70% of her liver in May, 2016. Complications ensued and I was faced with the catastrophic news that a blood clot was killing my new liver. By God's grace and the miracle of organ donation, I received my second transplant in June, 2016 within 24 hours of the clot's detection. This was Ed's gift.  
Meeting my donor family was something I thought often about since transplant. As the day approached, I found myself with a flood of emotions: nervousness, excitement, gratitude, hesitation. Questions filled my mind: What do I say? How do I say "thank you," Is thank you even enough? I recognized the magnitude of the moment. The moment our two families, connected by grief and hope, would meet. To be honest, I was worried it would be horribly awkward.
My family and I arrived at RHTH and were greeted by Eric, Barb, and coordinators from The Gift of Hope. RHTH offered warmth and safety to this intimate meeting. We were escorted downstairs where Ed's family was waiting. It's difficult to put words to the initial meeting; the moment I hugged Ed's wife and his children; the moment when my oldest son met his grandsons. It is a moment frozen in time and a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life. The nerves were gone and there was no awkwardness in the silence. The bond was immediate. We shared pictures, videos, and stories about our families and the process of donation and transplantation. We laughed and cried as our two stories blended into one. I learned what a selfless and honorable man Ed was in life and how deeply he loved his family. I am honored to call this man my hero.
The meeting concluded with the exchange of contact information and hopes to meet again. I am so grateful to The Gift of Hope and RHTH for facilitating our meeting. I recognize that some donor families and recipients are hesitant to meet. This experience has been extraordinary for me and my family and I was honored to learn how impactful it was for Ed's family as well. I hope we can continue to share our life with one another.
Forever grateful,
Green Bay, WI

A Great Day For The RHTH Family
We spent several hours in the transplant waiting room at UW Hospital the other night and into the early morning hours. One of our housemates from a tiny New England town received "The Call" for the organ transplant she so badly needed. As she was wheeled in to surgery, her mother was all by her lonesome to wait...seemingly a million miles away from home and loved ones as her daughter who has battled a lifetime of medical issues was taken away for what they all prayed would help to alleviate so many of their daily struggles.
The collective spirit of our transplant guests has always made Restoring Hope so special to so many of our patients and their families. When this young lady first flew in to Madison she was temporarily without a vehicle and housebound. Within minutes of sharing her story to our transplant families, she had an index card full of names, phone numbers and strict instructions to wake any of them at any hour should the need arise. These are the types of people we live with on a daily basis. A week ago we had never even heard of their small town or knew these people existed and now we all anxiously waited in a dark waiting room into the wee hours of the night as a family for any updates. When her surgeon emerged from the shadows to visit with us, his words were upbeat, positive and put us all at ease, but her Mom still wanted a hug from him. Not only for a job well done, but for the hope that a long suffering family now has for the future of a very talented young lady who has never had the chance to fully blossom because of health related setbacks.  These are the faces and moments that make Restoring Hope such an incredible place.
Today Is The Day!
Our entire transplant family of guests would like to extend our best wishes to our friend Peggy who will be getting her stem cell transplant today.  Peggy and husband Gary have been with us for over 2 months now and have become good friends with so many other families who have passed through our doors this fall and winter.  So beloved by all that the house recently hosted an amazing surprise 49th Anniversary dinner in their honor.  We will be thinking of you today and in the weeks ahead Peggy - let's do this!
Why We Donate To Restoring Hope
Live.Love.Donate. Inc. is a Wisconsin-based nonprofit advocating for organ, eye, tissue, and blood donation in the State of Wisconsin, co-founded by twin sisters, Holly and Lindsay Muenchow. Established first in 2013 as a college campus organization, Holly and Lindsay turned the organization into a full-fledged 501 (c) 3 nonprofit in the State of Wisconsin post-graduation in 2016.

Live. Love. Donate. Inc. is inspired by Holly and Lindsay's parents. Their father, Steve Muenchow was diagnosed with a disease known as Vasculitis when he was nineteen. Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels that causes a shortage of blood. This shortage of blood can cause organ and tissue damage, or even death. Their father had TWO kidney transplants; one in 1991 and one in 2007, both at UW Madison Transplant Clinic. Both times he was on dialysis, and fortunately received a donor. The first transplant came from a deceased donor, who's family made the choice to donate their loved one's organs. The second kidney transplant was from our mother, Amy Muenchow. She donated her kidney to their father in 2007; they were the perfect match, in every way.  Unfortunately, in 2014, they lost their father to stage four lung cancer, in part due to a suppressed immune system from transplantation.

It has become Live.Love.Donate. Inc.'s mission to SAVE LIVES, keep Wisconsin residents and the local community informed about organ and tissue donation, and encourage people to register, all while keeping the legacy of their father alive.

Every year, Live.Love.Donate. Inc hosts an annual memorial golf outing in their father's memory, at one of his favorite golf courses in Fontana, Wisconsin. Golf was their father's favorite hobby. He taught Holly and Lindsay to play golf at the age of four years old. Holly and Lindsay decided the best way to combine their father's three biggest passions- family, organ donation, and golf-was to host an annual outing in his name. When Holly and Lindsay heard about the Restoring Hope Transplant House through their mother, Amy, they knew that was where their fundraising dollars should go. Amy works in the transplant clinic at UW Madison and does everything she can to direct patients to Restoring Hope. She sees the positive impact the organization makes on transplant patients every day. This year, Live.Love.Donate. Inc, through the help of generous donors at the memorial golf outing, was honored and humbled to be able to donate $3,000 to Restoring Hope. The donation will go directly to assist transplant patients and their families, and help to keep the transplant house day-to-day operations alive.

Lindsay Muenchow, Co-Founder, Live.Love.Donate. Inc. on Restoring Hope Transplant House: "This house, and the families in it, has a special place in our hearts. They house transplant patients and their families from all over the country at an affordable rate. They provide a home away from home for these families during the most difficult period of their lives. Cindy, Eric, and the Restoring Hope team are true heroes. They change people's lives every single day, by simple acts of kindness and support. Live.Love.Donate. Inc is honored to help play just a small part in what they do for the transplant community. Restoring Hope Team, you give us, and families all over the country, hope and gratitude. We are honored and grateful to be a part of it year after year. Thank you for everything you do!"

Transplant Family Donation In Loving Memory
We also appreciate the Adams family for stopping by the other day with a wonderful donation in loving memory of their son Cory.  Many of our RHTH guests were very fortunate to have Cory's sister as a nurse up on the transplant floor when she worked here at UW Hospital.  They mentioned her all the time.  These are the types of contributions that help to keep Restoring Hope Transplant House in operation as a non-profit so we cannot thank you all enough for your continued outpouring of love for the transplant community!
Lions Club Representative Visitor from Humbird, WI
It was a great pleasure to welcome Lions Club Member Mel Mitchell for a lengthy visit to Restoring Hope Transplant House recently.   
The Lions Clubs of Wisconsin and beyond have been so amazing to this house and our families, so it was really a tremendous afternoon for us to visit, take a tour, meet some of our staff and guests and to give her a chance to really experience Restoring Hope Transplant House from a guests perspective.   
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, please know how very thankful we are for all of the Lions, Lioness and Leo Clubs that have so thoroughly embraced Restoring Hope Transplant House and the entire transplant community.  Truly an incredible group of people!

Your Efforts Are Making A Difference!
As a non-profit cause, fundraisers and donations are so crucial to our success.  Those funds generated and contributions of daily houshold items and supplies truly help to offset so many of our regular operating expenses so that we can continue to provide a comfortable and affordable home away from home to transplant families. 

There are so many people to thank on this front.  These pictured are a sampling of the tremendous families, clubs and groups who collectively help to keep our doors open.  We could not do this without your continued support so please know how much we appreciate you!
You Can Help - ThanksGIVING!

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. 

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!

with thanks to Chelsie at Lettering Works an RHTH transplant family guest

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.