28 people became non-directed (Good Samaritan) kidney donors to complete strangers last year at UW Hospital...that is the largest number at any one hospital in one year in the country. We had the obvious good fortune to share a house with both the donors and some of their fortunate recipients in our own record breaking 2019 here at Restoring Hope Transplant House!❤️
Restoring Hope Caregivers In Their Own Words…
Steven H (Indiana): When "the call that wasn't ever gonna come" came, I was excited, yet terrified! I had been the caregiver to a dialysis patient for a long, long time, but never to a transplant recipient. I knew that it was going to entail a rather lengthy stay in Madison. The social worker at UWHC told me that I could sleep on a couch in a lounge on the transplant floor and wash up in the bathroom...or...there's this place called Restoring Hope Transplant House........
A day or so after Melissa got her kidney, I had to make a "fast" trip back to NW Indiana for work and to take care of our critters (left Madison early in the morning to return late the same night). When I made my reservation at RHTH, I warned them that I would be returning late in the evening. I didn't know that it would be 2AM! When I called Eric to tell him how late I was really gonna be, he said "No problem, man. Just get here safe."
Here is this stranger, someone he had never met before, making him stay up late and he was cheerful, happy that I had made it there safely, receiving the warmest welcome I could have received. Eric and I sat at the dining room table, while I ate in front of him, and he calmed my anxieties about the whole transplant process and what it means to be a caregiver. It was on the same stay of about 4 or 5 days that I met Cindy and Nancy. I've met a lot of kind, loving people in my life. However, I'm not sure that I've ever met anyone as kind, loving, supportive, and funny as Cindy, Nancy, and Eric. Being a caregiver is the most important job I've ever had, and the most rewarding. Thank you to everyone at RHTH for helping me learn how.
Rachelle J (Illinois): Restoring hope is exactly what it’s name states. Cindy and Eric are the restorers of hope. My mom and I found the house while we waited for my husband to come out of his transplant surgery. It let my mom leave me and know I was in a good place so she could go home and take care of my daughter. It provided me the perfect support with Eric’s fun little brother way but always showing concern. And every morning Cindy was there with breakfast and a good conversation. She always had the perfect thing to say. They provided me with the strength I needed to stay positive and get through our two year adventure. You knew you were never alone.
Rita P (Arizona): When we were planning our trip for Hayden’s surgery, I have to admit, I was absolutely terrified. While my husband had to be back here in NE, I knew I was the sole caregiver of someone who was at her lowest of lows. During the drive there I just kept going over in my head "I have to stay positive for her". And " how am I going to be positive when the situation has been so negative for so long"
Once we arrived at the transplant house I had this overwhelming feeling of being home and I had family waiting for us to arrive. Everyone at the transplant house, whether they were caregivers, patients, Cindy, Brian, Eric, or Nancy were our transplant family. And they were right there with us in our ups and downs. We shed tears, laughed, had family meals together and most of all supported each other. The night I had to take Hayden to ER, I was shaken to the core. But I found comfort knowing I had "family" I could call any time. Eric was my exercise enforcer with Hayden. And Cindy gave me much needed early morning support and soul searching time. The Restoring Hope Transplant House definitely is and always will be a blessing to our family
Deb F (Michigan): RHTH gave me the support and comfort I needed to support my son through his successful liver transplant. Can’t imagine returning to Madison for a check up without staying at RHTH. It restores my soul.
Sheryl H (Wisconsin): The Transplant House is a wonderful community of support. It was such a blessing to come "home" to the company of others after spending an often long and challenging day with a loved one at the hospital. The house is about sharing... sharing the journey together, sharing a meal, sharing information, sharing a hug, a smile or tears. It's knowing that there is someone who can relate to what you are going through. This is comforting to the caregiver, and especially for the patient who knows their loved one is also being looked after and cared for. You enter the house as a stranger, but leave as a friend. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all you do!
Boualay C (Iowa): Each transplant journey is unique. Yet we all feel the same roller coaster of emotions. RHTH represents the strongest one of all - LOVE! ♥️♥️♥️
L - Laughter to get through the toughest of days
O - Open because anything is possible
V - Victories can be the smallest of moments
E - Encouragement when life feels broken
Jean P (Illinois): Caregivers need care too. Having someone whose been where you are. Knowing you’re not alone. Time to breathe, time to laugh, time to care.
James B (Illinois): RHTH is the closest thing to family you can find. It is one constant situation where family members are safe, comfortable, made to feel at home and can also trade stories about people's transplant journeys as well learn from others. I have not stayed there for many years but try to stop in for a visit when we are in town (hospital). I know I can come at 2 am and still be welcomed. Bottom line is RHTH is a building and concept the people are what make it so great.
Tara S (Wisconsin): I’ll never forgot the welcome hug my dad received from Cindy as he walked through your doors. And then on the tour shown an environment that was warm, clean, and you felt at home. It’s a place we will cherish as a family forever.
Nancy S (Wisconsin): Where do I start. This house has been a blessing to me in that when my husband had his transplant the house was not there. We came in 2013 to a home that would mean the world to me. I didn't have this house when my husband had his transplant so I sat in an empty apartment with no one to talk to, and if you know me I like to talk. The house is a place you come to and feel so blessed to be there, The people I have meet through the years have been so important for me and I hope I have helped others. I can't image anyone not wanting to stay at the house. Cindy and Eric are so easy to talk with and make you feel a part of their home. I don't know where I would be if I didn't have Restoring Hope Transplant House. Thank you for you have done for me.
Chrisa H (Wisconsin): I thought Restoring Hope Transplant House would be a place to sleep when I wasn’t at the hospital with my husband, but it turned out to be so much more. It was where I was understood and supported. A place where I could remove my “brave face” for a while and show my feelings without worrying. A place where I learned how to care for my husband in the weeks to come, so I knew what to expect. It really became home for me in the weeks I spent there.
Linda B (Wisconsin): As a caregiver, being able to stay at Restoring House of Hope was more than any caregiver could ask for. You ask why, the first night we arrived at the hospital, it got so late, I called the house to let them know I would be way later than I expected. They said No Problem, we will wait up no matter what time it is. This brought tears to my eyes. They never want anyone to come home to an "empty" home. They always wanted to make sure "we were okay as caregivers...this home took away a lot of the days stress. I don't know how to say it, when I first walked in, I was nervous, nervous of the unknown, but instantly I felt a sense of calming, belonging. I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to be part of a very special home away from home.
Priscilla G (Wisconsin): I didn’t know what to expect when my niece and I arrived at RHTH. From the moment we arrived we felt we were home and were made welcome and those there took us in as family. We cried together, prayed together and held each other up through the worst of times. Eric was unique as he has a talent of making you laugh and to celebrate the positive moments and yet when there is a bad day he and Cindy are there to care and hug us. Along with the many friends “family “ you acquire during your stay. They lift you up and provide inspiration to get through each day. To everyone during my 2 month journey I thank all of you. May God continue to use RHTH and Cindy Brian & Eric you are very special people.
Majid M (Illinois): Speechless for the support, love and care I got during my stay , while my wife was struggling to stay alive.
Polly S (Wisconsin): Home away from home!! ..... Family supporting Family ❤️❤️
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