Guest Spotlight: A Shining Light

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RickeyEarlier this summer we had the opportunity to have an afternoon chat with guest Rickey Esto. Hailing from Semora, North Carolina in Person County, this charming writer, author, and former chef was staying at Family House for a few days to have some dental procedures done and to meet with his cardiology team at UNC Health.

Ten years ago, Rickey had his first heart attack and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. An earlier bout with pneumonia had reeked havoc on his heart. Three years later, just by happenstance, he ran into a cardiologist right after he was told to get his affairs in order because his heart had deteriorated so badly. He was immediately transported to UNC Health and eventually given an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implant–a machine that’s used to prevent sudden death.

Thankfully, Rickey did well on the ICD for several years. Then last June when he was told he was out of options, Dr. Jack Kuritzky of UNC Health, implanted a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), a pump that’s commonly used for patients with end-stage heart failure. Rickey is now on the heart transplant list and remains optimistic, as is his nature, that he’ll eventually get a new heart.

Rickey shared with us, “When I first got to Family House, I thought I was in the wrong place because it’s an incredibly beautiful building. You can tell a lot of effort goes on here behind the scenes even during a pandemic. There are surprises around every corner. This is a wellness facility to make sure people are getting the rest they need.” He goes on to say, “Good grief. This is like Saratoga Springs. This place has everything you need.”

As Rickey was getting ready to head back to UNC Health for his last appointment, the current writer for Hyco Lake Magazine summed up what Family House means to him: “love, care, compassion.”  


  1. Cindy Godwin's avatar
    Cindy Godwin
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    What a wonderful story about Rickey! He truly has a heart of gold. Over the past year he has become family and loved by so many. His energy, love, and care for others is genuine. I am so glad he was able to spend time with you. Love you Rickey

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