Guest Spotlight: The Josephs
Donald and Ronnie Joseph have been staying on and off at Family House since the summer of 2018, making the 2.5 hour drive to Chapel Hill from their hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina. Diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2014, Donald was initially treated near their home. Then, last summer when he took a turn for the worse, he was admitted to UNC Hospitals and put on the list to receive a heart transplant. While he waited for a new heart, he was fitted for a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), an apparatus that pumps blood out of the heart and into the body. Weeks later, he went into congestive heart failure and was moved up on the heart transplant list.
On February 26, 2019, Donald and Ronnie got the call in Wilmington that UNC Hospitals had a heart for him. Arriving at Family House soon after the call, Ronnie spent the next few weeks going to/from the hospital to be with Donald. The heart transplant was a huge success thanks to the skillful team of doctors that included Dr. John Inkonomidis, Dr. Patricia Chang, and Dr. Adam Caldwell.
Ronnie loves Claudette Whitted, Family House House Manager. During one of her many chats with her she shared, “do you know that when she found out I wasn’t taking the shuttle to the hospital because I didn’t want to miss Donald’s doctors during their morning rounds, she offered to come in early to drive me to the hospital.”
When asked what staying at Family House has meant to them, Ronnie imparts that in addition to feeling safe here, we’ve also been a “lifesaver” for her. It’s allowed her to be with her husband every day he was in the hospital. She’s also been touched by the help she’s received from the staff and volunteers–help that oftentimes have exceeded her expectations. “One night Jabari (weekend house manager) sat and prayed with me. Another night a volunteer sat with me. I never feel alone here.”
A few years ago, Ronnie was told that Donald would not make it, yet here he is, post heart transplant. And even though Donald will be on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life, they're thankful for Family House and that their story is not coming to an end.