On Friday, ground was broken on Amy’s House at the corner of Avenue U and South 15th Street.
Amy’s House, a hospitality house for transplant patients and their caregivers, is a TRIO Central Texas, Transplant Recipients International Organization, project. It has been in the works for a number of years.
“This has been a day we have worked toward for five years,” said John Henderson, chairman of TRIO Central Texas board.
After recognizing the many organizations and groups that had a hand in getting the TRIO project off the ground, Henderson mentioned how important it was to work closely with the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple transplant program, to make sure the house being built fits the needs of the transplant patients.
“The goal is to provide affordable housing for transplant patients and their families,” he said.
Most organ transplant patients have to remain close to the medical center following surgery for a period of time for follow-up care and monitoring.
The property where Amy’s House will be built was donated by the city. It’s made up of two or three lots, which leaves room for expansion, Henderson said.
The house will have eight bedrooms, a common living area, a dining room, a laundry room, a state-of-the-art kitchen, a board room and offices.
The members and officers of TRIO decided to name the house after John and Margaret Henderson’s daughter, Amy, who died suddenly six years ago.
“Amy was a multiple organ, tissue and cornea donor at Scott & White,” he said.
Donate Life America, an organization that works to increase donations, has stated a single organ donor can impact 75 people’s lives.
Henderson said he contacted Southwest Transplant Alliance and the groups that handle tissue and cornea donations and learned that his daughter’s donation helped more than 70 individuals.
Dr, Charles Moritz, nephrologist and kidney transplant surgeon at Baylor Scott & White-Temple, said this project is very important to the patients and their families.
“I’m elated this project is going forward,” Moritz said.
The support offered both inside and outside the hospital to transplant patients is important, he said.
It takes a lot of work from a lot of people and organizations to make this happen, Temple Mayor Tim Davis said at the groundbreaking.
The city’s involvement is the donation of this land and improving Avenue U to provide a backbone to run from Baylor Scott & White to Fifth Street, Davis said.
“This is what good city leadership looks like,” he said. “We have been watching this process for the past four or five years.
Seeing the new traffic circle, the bridges and the walking trail is all about good planning and this what cities are supposed to do for its residents, Davis said.
“I applaud the taxpayers of Temple,” he said. “We’re on a huge growth pattern and while we’re concerned about property values and taxable values, we’re concerned with the human value, and that’s what the TRIO house will do.”
Amy’s House is terrific for patients and the transplant program, said MaryEllen Bond, administrator, Solid Organ Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at Baylor Scott & White Health.
“There are so many barriers to care and when someone needs a transplant, they may not have been able to work for awhile they may have financial barriers,” Bond said.
The transplant program scrambles to find housing for its patients and their families following the surgery and sometimes there’s no help for the families.
“This will be a soft place for them to land after transplant,” she said. “We want the transplant patient to succeed and this will help.”