WHAT IS GIVING TUESDAY?
Giving Tuesday is an annual global day of generosity that takes place this year on Tuesday, November 29.
This global movement has, in the past 10 years since its inception, unleashed the power of radical giving across the planet and transformed many communities.
The concept is simple. On this singular day, we are all encouraged to do good. Grassroots generosity and community action are powerful forces for good, and we at the HeartBrothers hope to harness that for the greater Heart Failure community.
This year, we invite you to read the stories (below, in our newsletter, and on our social media channels) of four Heart Failure patients and their loved ones who were positively impacted by their stay at The HeartBrothers House in Boston during very tumultuous periods in their lives.
Our hope is that after seeing how great an impact the HB House can be, you will consider making a donation—in any amount—to help fund future stays for Heart Failure patients and families who are overcome with hopelessness and financial strain.
Erica Raspante is only 40 years old and has been living with hereditary Heart Failure the last 13 years. Having gone through a round of recent testing at Massachusetts General Hospital, she is hoping to be added to the heart transplant list. Her brother, Jordan Keshler, received a new heart in 2020. Her son, Ciro, is only 8 years old and is already undergoing testing to determine his risk for developing Heart Failure.
Erica lives in upstate New York and stayed at the HeartBrothers House for several nights during her testing. “It’s so helpful and convenient. It literally took five minutes to get to the hospital. The first time I came to Boston for testing, I stayed at a hotel and it cost nearly $500 a night. I thought, ‘I can’t keep doing this for months at a time.’”
Then, her brother told her about the HeartBrothers. She hopes Ciro and her family can stay at HeartBrothers House when she comes back to Boston for her heart transplant.
“The HeartBrothers House is invaluable,” she said.
The Anderson Family
Nick and Stephanie Anderson spend long days at Boston Children’s Hospital with their 2-year-old son, Paul, who is waiting for a life-saving heart transplant. The couple and their 7-month-old daughter Sophia stayed at the HeartBrothers House for a month this fall.
Paul was born with a congenital heart defect that triggered Heart Failure. He’s had three heart surgeries so far, one to implant a VAD (Ventricular Assist Device).
“Ultimately, his medical team decided he needed a heart transplant,” said Nick. “He’s been listed since May and we’ve been waiting ever since. A heart could come tomorrow or in months. The average is six to nine months...or up to a year.”
Social workers at Boston Children’s Hospital recommended the HeartBrothers House as a place to stay for the Andersons, who are from Maryland.
“It was a wonderful stay. Deb (the HeartBrothers House manager) was able to help us out with anything we needed. She was very responsive. The location is very close to the hospital. I took Sophia in the stroller and she would fall asleep on the walk. We’d spend 8:00 am to 8:00 pm with Paul in the hospital and then we’d head back to the HeartBrothers House.
The bed was the comfiest we’ve slept in,” Nick said. “It was the perfect place that we needed to 'come home to' every night. We knew we were in good hands the entire time with Deb and the HeartBrothers.”
LISA TERRIER & KATRINA MANESS
Lisa Terrier has stayed at the HeartBrothers House five times while visiting her sister Katrina Maness, at Tufts Medical Center.
Katrina, who is 60, was diagnosed with Heart Failure in 2014 and has been on the wait list for a heart for more than two years now. She got a call late in October that a heart was available, but ultimately it wasn’t a match. She has been in the hospital ever since.
“Up until now, Katrina's been very brave, very strong, managing things on her own,” said Terrier. “But after that call, she’s depressed about not getting the heart and not being able to come home.”
Lisa and her sister live in Middlebury, VT—a long drive from Boston.
“Without the HeartBrothers House we wouldn’t be able to do the frequent visits and have somebody stay with her in the hospital,” Terrier said. And, oh my gosh, the HeartBrothers House is wonderful. It’s so much better than the hotels, which are $350+ a night. You can cook your own food. It’s right across from Whole Foods. There’s free parking. It works perfectly. I can even walk to the hospital.”
Before staying in the HeartBrothers House, Katrina’s family also received financial grants from the HeartBrothers to help cover travel costs.
“We were having financial issues and heard from Tufts MC that the HeartBrothers could help,” she said. “They’re wonderful and very helpful. They relieve some stress… from a situation that is very stressful.”
JILL & DUC POWERS
Jill Powers is grateful for the friendship and support she found with the HeartBrothers while her husband was hospitalized for a heart transplant.
“The five months Duc spent in the hospital were very hard for me,” says Jill, who lives in Rhode Island. “There were weeks when I was deciding whether to withdraw care. There were many very scary procedures and days I don't know how I made it through. Even though I had the support of friends and family, it was the HeartBrothers that really helped me through it. They knew what I was going through firsthand. They weren't just trying to imagine what it was like. The phone calls, texts, and support were very much appreciated.”
Duc was only 40 when he was diagnosed with Heart Failure at a routine check-up in 2006. His doctor thinks his cardiomyopathy was caused by the flu he had several years before. (“Just a reminder - get your flu shot!” Jill urges.)
After kidney cancer surgery in 2017 his doctors told him he would need a new heart. He was eventually sent to Tufts Medical Center where he waited months for his transplant. Finally, he got his new heart on July 24, 2022. Unfortunately, Duc had to spend another two months in the ICU.
Tufts social worker Amy DeNuzzio recommended the HeartBrothers and their team of ambassadors. “Mike Ashworth reached out and called me often during some very hard days. Jim Lang came in to see Duc and talked about his experience. It was very helpful for me to hear their words when Duc ran into complications.”
Jill also stayed at the HeartBrothers House for several days this summer.
“It was EXTREMELY helpful,” she says. “It saved me three hours of travel each day. Having a place to park on-site was extremely helpful and having a kitchen to eat something healthy was a big plus. “
Jill says she hopes to stay at the HeartBrothers House again when Duc comes back to Boston for follow-up appointments. She also wants to give back. “We look forward to being able to help others through their transplant experience in the future.”
SUPPORT HOUSING FOR HEART FAILURE FAMILIES
With the deepest respect and appreciation, we ask you to help us provide this incredible housing option to Boston-area Heart Failure families—thereby easing the financial burden placed on the shoulders of these patients and their loved ones.
Donations—in any amount—are welcome. Every dollar counts.
1 Day of Housing $40
1 Week of Housing $280
2 Weeks of Housing $560
1 Month of Housing $1,240
3 Months of Housing $3,720
6 Months of Housing $7,300
12 Months of Housing $14,600