Today is Ginger Holmes’ last day at the Gift of Life house as she celebrates her retirement. Med City Foundation is extremely grateful to her for her partnership and mentoring spirit over the last three years. We wish her all the best in her retirement! We are also thankful to have interviewed her this Spring for this blog to capture her spirit and dedication to Gift of Life Transplant house.
Gift of Life Transplant House started collaborating with the Med City Foundation one and a half years ago, and have been working closely together ever since. The Gift of Life Transplant House was started 1984 by Edward Pompeian, a two-time kidney transplant recipient, as a small eight bedroom home. Since then Gift of Life Transplant House has had three additions, now with a total of 87 beds, making them the largest transplant home in the country.
They provide a homelike setting for transplant patients and their caregivers to stay in Rochester during the time of the transplant. Each guest receives their own room to share with one or two additional caregivers while living areas like the TV room, kitchen, and dining room are all shared. The patients are going through similar experiences, and the shared spaces encourage support between patients and families.
Perhaps the most important part of the Gift of Life Transplant House’s mission is the sense of family and community within the house. Guests are welcome to stay as long as they need, and have been known to stay anywhere from three days to over three years. No one is ever turned away from the house, and if all rooms are filled, the house works to find an alternative for the patient and caregivers to stay such as a hotel at a reduced rate.
Although Gift of Life Transplant House historically only worked with organ transplant patients, they have recently expanded to welcome blood cancer patients to stay at their facilities if rooms are available. One of the biggest problems with blood cancer patients treatments is that they are long lasting causing many of these patients to be turned away from other housing options liked the Hope Lodge run by the American Cancer Society. Therefore, Gift of Life Transplant House opened their doors to them. Med City Foundation works closely with the transplant house to finding housing for the patients and their families when their locations are at capacity and vice versa.
In 2014, the Gift of Life Transplant House served 4,500 patients and their caregivers. In the next one and a half years, the transplant house is looking to expand and add approximately thirty new beds with additional kitchen, living room, and dining room spaces. The Med City Foundation and the Gift of Life Transplant House are committed to addressing the needs of blood cancer patients in Rochester area.
Ginger Holmes is the executive director of the Gift of Life Transplant House and oversees the operation of the home. She started as a volunteer at the Gift of Life Transplant House in 2010 and was then asked to serve on the board. In 2012, she was asked to be the executive director and has remained in that position ever since. Ginger says the best part of her job is seeing all the smiles from the patients and seeing their excitement when they get that call that they are getting a transplant.