At the Transplant House of West Michigan, we are on a mission to assist transplant/LVAD patients going through the transplant journey by providing housing to patients, caregivers, and their families during this difficult
At the Transplant House of West Michigan, we are on a mission to assist transplant/LVAD patients going through the transplant journey by providing housing to patients, caregivers, and their families during this difficult time. Our founders, Tracy Gary and Holly Werlein-Gary have a firsthand understanding of the cost and emotional toll this journey puts on the patients and their caregivers. Holly is a 15-year liver transplant survivor and Tracy had three LVAD’s and is now a proud three-year heart transplant survivor. Holly’s family had to travel six hours from Northern Michigan to Cleveland, Ohio and Tracy’s family traveled four hours from Indiana to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tracy and Holly were brought together by the selfless act of organ donation, and they are on a mission to help others going through the same journey.
The need for this type of housing for transplant recipients and their families is in great demand. Just a little over 35,000 transplants happen in the United States each year. More than 100,000 patients are on the waiting list annually and those who do receive the gift of life are in a small percent of the population. To make matters scarcer, only 4% of medical centers in the United States have an organ transplant program. Thankfully, here in Michigan there are 12 organ transplant centers—three of which are local in Grand Rapids: Spectrum Health, Helen Devos Children’s Hospital and Mercy Health-Saint Mary’s.
With many patients traveling to Grand Rapids for transplants and testing, the need for affordable temporary housing is high for caregivers and patients going through the many steps of the transplant journey. Of the three current housing facilities available in Grand Rapids, there is not one that caters towards transplant/LVAD patients or their families. Additionally, these facilities are not large enough to keep up with the high demand in the area. Consequently, leading to a long waiting list and leaving many families without the support that these great facilities have to offer. Thus, the Transplant House of West Michigan is stepping in and will be strictly and uniquely available for transplant patients, family members and caregivers.
As mentioned above, the effect of travel on caregivers and patients is emotionally, logistically and financially cumbersome. The financial burden adds up quickly and is not covered by insurance. On average, the length of stay after a transplant is 10 days, but it can also lead into months. As in Tracy’s case, he was in the hospital just over 3 months in total and the housing facility available to his family was full the entire time. The average hotel costs in the area are $140-$200 per night. The Transplant House of West Michigan will be $50 per night.
The Transplant House of West Michigan would like to lessen the stress and financial burden on the caregivers and families of transplant/LVAD patients. With your help and investment, we can do that by providing an affordable temporary home away from home for those going through their difficult transplant journey.
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