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WE RECEIVED A WONDERFUL GIFT

gift   The family that is living in Apartment #2 are from North Georgia.  Their daughter, Tiffany, is a double lung transplant patient.  Her care givers are her mom, Missy, her dad, Harry, and her grandma, Lola.  Mary had the opportunity to meet Harry yesterday for the first time.  And he presented her with the most wonderful gift, a poem he had written straight from his heart.  It expresses everything that has been in our hearts from the beginning and it expresses it SO WELL.  Thank you, Harry!

With sincere happiness upon your face

you welcomed us home,

to your place.

 

This place before we had never seen,

so cozy and homey,

was spotlessly clean.

 

So difficult a journey we had to begin

was made much easier

when you welcomed us in.

 

Your sincere desire to help those in need

was to us far beyond

a simple good deed.

 

When in prayer we asked, “God what can we do?”

He answered with a miracle

and He sent it through you.

 

We were strangers, yet you opened your door

Our burden you lifted

we carried it no more.

 

For in years gone by you had traveled this road

now through you “WE FOUND REST”

with your gift of abode.

 

From your “hope and prayers” now we find

solace and comfort

sweet PEACE OF MIND.

 

The passing of your son, to you so dear

leave you memories of him

still perfectly clear.

 

You determined yourself with this gift to try

to give life to his memories

and never let them die.

 

You have chosen to ease the burden and help bear the cross

to even a stranger

who might suffer such loss.

 

Your help to our family and this daughter’s sweet mother

obeys CHRIST’s commandment

to love one another.

 

With generosity you help bind us together

in this dwelling and in our hearts.

 

JEFFREY “JEFF” CAMPBELL EVANS….

lives on forever.

God bless you,

 

With thankful heart sincerely,

 

Harry A. Ward

11/11/2017

 

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APARTMENT #3 IS COMING SOON!

oBig Cabin at Camp             Jeff Fishing at Camp

One of Jeff’s favorite places on earth was his Great Grandpa Kaarto’s cabin in Michigan on the Upper Peninsula (pictured above).  He spent a very memorable summer there with his Grandpa Evans.  The trip required a round-trip drive from Washington to Michigan and it included many very funny and not-to-be-forgotten moments!  He also spent more than one summer vacation there with his aunts, uncles and cousins.  He couldn’t have asked for more.

So in remembrance of this, Bob suggested that the next apartment be decorated like a cabin.  I know Jeff would agree!  When this idea was presented to Mary, she thought, “how will I ever do that?”  But it turns out that it’s a pretty easy assignment.  Mary has started going to her regular antique stores, consignment stores, junk stores, etc. and she’s finding all kinds of appropriate furnishings.  Just today she picked up a canoe oar, which will be used in one way or another!

We hope to have Apartment #3 opened in February of 2018 at the very latest.  Stay tuned for pictures of the final product!

 

 

 

FIRST HOUSE TO SCROUNGE THROUGH!

I got an email a couple of days ago from a person I met at one of the networking events that I attend.  She is a person who helps seniors move from their big homes to assisted living/senior apartments, etc., in other words seniors who are downsizing.  She told me about a friend of hers who was moving and was willing to donate items that she would not be taking to her next home.  So Bob and I went over there yesterday and had a VERY exciting time at doing this for the first time.  She donated things like a dresser, a bed, lots of lamps, end tables, coffee tables, area rugs, the list goes on and on and on.  So we have arranged with our mover, John, to pick all of these things up on December 5th to move them to storage.  The reason this is so exciting is that it SAVES US MONEY!  And we are all about spending our foundation’s money in the best way possible.  Thank you Trish and Marsha!

 

TRANSPLANT APARTMENT #2 IS OCCUPIED!

#2 Fireplace Ev   #2 Dining Room 2 Ev  #2 Kitchen Ev#2 Gray Bedroom LE     #2 Red Bedroom Ev

We received a request on Wednesday, the 8th, from a social worker at Emory asking if the apartment was ready.  I told them “yes” and asked them to go through the Georgia Transplant Foundation to get started.  On the 9th we got an email from the social worker with GTF’s approval.

Mary immediately called the care giver and she wanted to move in as soon as possible.  They had been offered a room at a Red Roof Inn, which they said was horrible.  They actually preferred to stay in the waiting room of the hospital.

Bob and Mary went down to the apartment to meet the caregivers (mom and grandma) to a 34-year-old single (no children) woman.  It was a VERY emotional meeting.  The mom is distraught to the max and grandma is trying to be the strong one.  The daughter (patient) is a double lung transplant who has lived with cystic fibrosis all her life.  Her transplant was last Friday.  The transplant is going fine, but she has developed a complication (I have no idea what it is called).  It severely affects her circulation and her hands and feet are turning black.  The mom told us that the doctors are considering amputation.  Can you imagine?   AND apparently this is a 1:100,000 possibility and the doctors at Emory have never seen it in a transplant patient.
You can only imagine the conversation.  Mom could not hold back the tears. To say they are grateful for a place to live would be a major understatement.  The mom cried in every room and grandma just thanked us over and over and over again.
As we were getting ready to leave, the mom received a phone call that she should return to the hospital in 30 minutes to meet with the surgeon.  So we told them to just go and we would close up.  So off they went and before we could turn around, they came back in the door for hugs.  Very touching.
This was a hard one, to say the least.  Bob and Mary both commented on the way home how our hearts were so broken.  I don’t think either of us have considered that what we are doing could be so emotionally hard  But it is what it is, and the families we are serving are way more important to us than our feelings.  Our personal transplant journey is over; theirs is just beginning.  Our prayers are with them.
One last comment…what we are doing is everything right.  Both apartments have had families move in on the day they were opened.  There is an enormous need for what we are doing.  And we have just begun.  Exciting (and probably emotional) times are ahead.
We just received an update from the social worker.  She said when the mom was talking to Mary about meeting to get the keys to the apartment, it was the first time the social worker had seen the mom smile since she entered the hospital.  That is what make what we are doing so incredibly rewarding.

MOVING IN TO APARTMENT #2

#2 Movers  Moving day was Wednesday, November 1st, and the guys in the picture did all the work!  First they stopped by our house to empty half of our garage, then on to the storage unit.  They were fast, efficient, and incredibly great guys!  They assembled items, fixed a couple of broken items, and best of all….they hauled off all the cardboard boxes to throw away.  Thanks to JJ, Titus and Hayward .  They work for a guy named John Foster, who is kind to us in that he gives us a nice break on the “travel cost” of moving.  Thanks, John!  Every penny saved helps.

WE JUST KEEP MEETING THE NICEST PEOPLE, PEOPLE THAT ARE SO INCREDIBLY WILLING TO HELP US

Bo #3  Bo #2  Bo #1

By now, anyone following our Foundation knows the story of the cashmere socks.  Just in case you don’t…the story begins when Jeff was in the hospital for the last three days of his life, and his feet were always cold due to compromised circulation.  All of his loved ones spent our time taking turns rubbing his feet and legs in order to make him as comfortable as possible.  And we brought socks from home.  After he took his last breathe, his brother turned to his mom and said, “Mom, he deserved cashmere.”  In truth this was the humble beginning of our foundation.  We began by promising ourselves, that we would make sure that every transplant patient that we came to know would get cashmere socks from us.  That idea has morphed into our apartments, where every transplant patient that stays with us receives two pairs of cashmere socks upon their arrival.

Now came the issue of “where do we get the socks?”  Cashmere socks are EXTREMELY expensive.  But we had made a promise.  So Mary, taking the advice of another nice person she met at a networking event, made a visit to Saks 5th Avenue at Phipps one day to see if they sold cashmere socks.  She ran into one of the salesmen in the Men’s Store, Bo Carver.  Bo told her that, yes, they do sell cashmere socks, but only at Christmas.  From that point on, Bo became Mary’s resource about cashmere socks.  Two things happened:  1) he said he would check with his manager to see if she could order socks for us; and 2) he suggested two other up-scale stores to visit to ask about these socks.

Results:  1) Yes, his manager could get us socks, but the price would still be retail;  2) Mary visited the other stores only to find out that they don’t sell cashmere socks.  Then Bo really went “above and beyond.”  He began researching on the web and calling on is own past experiences in the retail world.

Long story short…he found a resource that sells socks for LESS THAN HALF of what we thought we would have to pay.  And he kept Mary in the loop throughout this process.  So we now have a place to order socks from, which we will do immediately.  And to take this a step further, Mary will pursue this particular company in an effort to make them a “partner” with our foundation and, hopefully, get socks donated in the future, or at the very least, get an even better deal!

This was truly an exercise in stepping out of the blind and beginning a process that we knew nothing about except that we wanted to do it.  Through a lot of determination, birthed out of necessity (cashmere socks are now part of our “brand”), to a little leg work and a LOT of help from a great guy at Saks, we found the solution to our problem.  THANK YOU, BO!!

 

 

APARTMENT #2 IS COMING

belara_logo_w_bkg_r_  Today Bob and Mary visited Belara Apartment Homes in North Druid Hills, just three miles from Emory and CHOA.  We decided to go ahead and start the application process to rent a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment from them.  We will be able to move in on November 1st and, hopefully, welcome our first guests shortly after that.  These are exciting times for our foundation and, more importantly, for the transplant community in Atlanta.  We have had to turn away several requests for Apartment #1, which just shows that there is an urgent need for what we are doing.  It just makes us SO HAPPY to know that what we are doing is needed and so very much appreciated.

talk-of-the-townCleve and Michell

Oh my, oh my, oh my!!  What exciting days these are for our foundation.  On Sunday, 9/17 and again on Tuesday, 9/19, Mary was on the RADIO!  The story begins at ACE Hardware (as so many of our stories do).  A woman named Michelle Gaddis came into the store and asked Bob to make a key for her.  A long story short, they began talking about the foundation to the point that Michelle was moved to tears (her words).  Michelle went home and told her husband, Cleve, about the foundation.  Well….Cleve is a radio host on Newstalk 1160 in Atlanta and before much time had passed, Cleve had called Mary and asked her to be on his show.

A side story here will illustrate how often things work in our foundation world.  It’s our belief that NOTHING IS BY CHANCE!  Cleve, as well as being a radio host, is a real estate broker.  And he was was hosting another guest on his show whose house Cleve was selling and who is in the roofing industry.   And who BTW had donated his kidney to someone.  Thus the segway!

This was all done first by phone.  On Tuesday afternoon, Mary stopped running errands and sat in her car to listen in.  She was a bundle of nerves in anticipation of what she was going to sound like.   But all went well.  For a first-time radio personality (!), she did a pretty good job of letting people know what we are all about.

Thank you, Cleve, for this incredible opportunity.

OH….the icing on the cake?  Cleve and his co-worker, Alfie, donated $500.00 to the foundation.  Incredible generosity.

 

ASCNN Presentation

ASCNN Picture

September 14, 2017….another super day in the life of our foundation. I was privileged to present our foundation to a senior networking group called Atlanta Senior Care Network Niche. And before I got up to speak, I was introduced and given a donation of $1,000.00! It has been an interesting journey getting acquainted with quite a number of senior networking groups. The people involved represent so many different parts of the senior industry, from care givers, to financial planners, to movers, to people in the medical profession…I could go on and on and on. To say I’m having the time of my life would be an understatement. And for me to have imagined, even a year ago, that I would be comfortable doing what I’m doing….well let’s just say I couldn’t have! I truly feel like I have found my special purpose in life, the purpose that God intended for me all along.

SOCIAL WORKERS AT CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL ATLANTA

Childrens_healthcare_of_atlanta   On August 29th, Bob and Mary brought boxed lunches to CHOA meet with four of the social workers that we will be working closely with.  Each one represented a specific solid organ.  We met with the ones working with hearts (Molly Dugan), livers (Cindy deSa), kidneys (David Cooper) and intestinal rehab (Anne Sanders).  What stood out the most to both of us was their dedication to their small patients.  Mary specifically asked them if they fall in love with their patients and they all said a resounding “YES!”  And they also added that when they lose a patient, they grieve them. It’s hard to imagine a more difficult job.

At CHOA, kids aren’t simply tiny adults. They need specialized pediatric care.  The CHOA staff are committed to making all kids better today and healthier tomorrow.

Many different conditions can lead to the transplant of solid organs.  Transplants are not necessarily congenital, as some might assume.  The transplant program at CHOA provides 1) pre-transplant evaluations, 2) wait list levels and donor process information, 3) patient matching processes, 4) care before transplant, 4) care during transplant and 5) care after transplant.  And part of the role of the social workers is to connect with the families (care givers) of their patients.  The Evans family is very familiar with being the care givers and it is that part of the social workers’ jobs that we understand the most.  And it is what we are most passionate about.  In regards to our foundation and our apartments, the social workers are the professionals who recommend a family to the Georgia Transplant Foundation for use of our apartments.

Here is a summary of what the transplant department at CHOA does:

  • Liver Transplant Program: They are home to one of the largest pediatric liver transplant programs in the country. They have performed more than 500 liver transplants on infants, children and young adults, and have some of the shortest wait times in the country.
  • Heart Transplant Program: Their pediatric heart transplant team has performed more than 350 heart transplants on children with survival rates that are better than the national average.
  • Kidney Transplant Program: For more than 30 years, they have been a pioneer in pediatric kidney transplantation. They have wait times and patient survival rates that are better than the national average. They have performed more than 675 kidney transplants.
  • Adolescent and Young Adult Transplant Program: They provide the resources to help make the transition to adulthood as smooth as possible. Their “I Own It” Clinic is specially designed for their liver, heart and kidney transplant patients ages 14 to 21.

CHOA treats patients from birth to age 21.  Most families of the patients stay at the Ronald McDonald House and they are so grateful for that resource.  Our apartments will in no way compete with the Ronald McDonald House; we will supplement it.

It was absolutely wonderful to finally meet these people.  Our hope is that we will be able to accommodate their patients and care givers in any way possible.  Sometimes an apartment, with total privacy, will be the best thing for a child and his/her care giver.  And that is why our foundation exists.

 

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