A steady foundation where home is restored, courage is inspired and life resumes.
Gift of Life Transplant House provides high quality, affordable accommodations for transplant patients and their caregivers in a supportive, home-like environment. While hotels are plentiful in Rochester, MN the cost is prohibitive for most people, especially since many will need to stay for at least three weeks to four months. Gift of Life provides a ‘home away from home’ that is safe and affordable.
Each year, the Gift of Life averages 4,400 guests with varying lengths of stay depending on the type of transplant. Guests and their caregivers who come from all 50 states and many countries are welcome to stay as long as necessary for their recovery.
“During the pandemic, we made the commitment to remain open and have done so without any outbreaks of COVID-19, either in our guest population or with our staff,” says Mary Wilder, Executive Director at Gift of Life Transplant House. “While experiencing their own stress, our staff did everything they could to ensure the safety of the guests. We are proud that we have continued to provide a safe haven for guests, even in the midst of a pandemic!”
“Thank you so much for making a very difficult time in our lives much easier. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we had stayed anywhere else. You offer so much compassion, kindness, warmth, understanding and a beautiful home. Plus we got to meet some kind and amazing people who are now dear friends. You are all definitely earning your wings! ” With love and appreciation, D & D
While their biggest challenge continues to be safeguarding guests, caregivers and staff, revenue has been impacted since many patients were asked to wait, if possible, for appointments and occupancy dropped from 90% to as low as 40% during some months. Prior to the pandemic, Gift of Life hosted four fundraisers each year which had to be greatly modified or cancelled in 2020.
When every dollar counts, the NetGiver app is a way for credit union members to give freely to nonprofits like Gift of Life without incurring fees to the member or the organization. “Eliminating those fees means that another guest will be able to sleep in a room with new pillows, a new recliner, or use quality cookware in our kitchens,” says Wilder. “It means that those little touches that make a house a home can continue to be evident, from seasonal decorations to special notes left in mailboxes as encouragement.”
Wilder knows firsthand the process and range of emotions that guests go through. She was a kidney donor for her father 45 years ago. At that time, patients stayed in the hospital during their entire transplant experience, but her mother was forced to stay in a tiny room close to the hospital. “It was an incredibly lonely time for her and having a transplant house like Gift of Life would have changed her entire perspective and given her so much more hope,” said Wilder.
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