The Johnson and Bedford families are two of the thousands of families who have called Family House home. Their stories inspire us and show the true meaning behind the Family House Family Assistance Fund.
The Johnson Family
Cedric Johnson came to family house over a year ago. He and his mother, Ollie Johnson, traveled from Northwestern Ohio toPittsburgh, to wait for “the call.” As many families of transplant hopefuls can attest, “the call” is equally frightening and exciting to receive. It means life is about to change in a very big way! Cedric was in dire need of “the call” as he waited for a heart and double lung transplant.
On Christmas day, his nurse called to say ‘get to the hospital!’ The following morning, he received the much needed, much anticipated transplant.
It has been a long journey, but a compassionate one – filled with the love and care of his mother and visiting family members. Cedric came back to Family House Neville to recover with plenty of support. Now he is staying in a rehab center onPittsburgh’sNorthShore, where his mother travels to each day by public bus to visit and care for him. Although his post-transplant experience has proven to be challenging as he adjusts to his new organs and medication, he finds a way to encourage himself and his family. In fact, Ollie mentioned that “Cedric has been positive since we came here – he always says ‘Mom, I’m gonna be alright.’”
“Neville house is a home away from home. The staff here is very courteous and kind to all the guests. Most of the guests have something in common. We share our experiences with each other which makes the time spent here memorable and easier to cope with. We would not want to stay anywhere else. We have made some life long friends while here and exchange phone numbers to keep in touch. It is comforting to know how they are doing.”
The Bedford Family
When Barry needed a lung transplant and coronary artery bypass procedures, the required relocation fromTennesseetoPittsburghwas the only thing to do. Neville Family House was the first stop for Nancy and Barry Bedford during an initial evaluation by the UPMC lung transplant program. The staff of Neville was very accommodating; questions were usually answered before they were asked. Barry decided then that Neville would be their extended home away from home. Nancytook family leave as a nurse practitioner with the VA, as family and friends rallied. Even Teddy, a 10-year-old Portuguese water dog, who had never been left alone, had his personal in-home caregiver.
The lack of personal stuff was quickly replaced with warm, caring humans, many of whom were traveling the same hopeful journey. Those who forged before us quickly became the mentors. After moving in on October 12, the call of urgency came on November 8, 2009. The journey from the waiting area to the surgical suite was done in record time and Dr. Toyoda and crew were phenomenal. While Barry called UPMC his short term home,Nancyreturned daily to Neville to give and receive the comforting words and hugs so desperately needed. The extended family members came and went and new members were added on a daily basis. The friendships made over shuttle rides, parking woes, walks to and from the hospital, meals, trips to the grocery, shoveling snow (yes, event the historic 21 incher), laundering and late night talks are cherished forever.
After calling Family House Neville “home” for five and a half months, the car was packed and the long trip back toTennesseebecame a reality. Barry’s health has permitted longer spans between trips back to UPMC and Neville. Extended family stretch across theUnited StatesandIceland! The magic of Family House carries on as do the beautiful, lasting friendships which otherwise would have never been realized.