the torch Summer 2017, Issue 2 | Page 18

Tranplant Patients are Twice Blessed by Baylor, Junior League When Joe Olsen’s first round of chemotherapy didn’t fully rid his body of leukemia, his oncologist gave him three options: 1) give the same chemo treatment a second try and hope it might work; 2) quit treatment altogether, which would mean cutting his life short; or 3) going through a bone marrow and stem cell transplant. “I want to live,” Joe told his oncologist at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. “I’ll try the bone marrow and stem cell transplant.” He knew the transplantation and recovery would be tough, requiring multiple appointments with his oncologist. However, Joe and his wife, Dorothy, a pediatric nurse, live about 150 miles away in Killeen, Texas. That’s where the Twice Blessed House comes in, providing the Olsens a one-bedroom apartment to live in during Joe’s frequent treatments. Located just around the corner from the Baylor Dallas campus, Twice Blessed House is a home-away-from-home for transplant patients and their families. Patients who live more than 50 miles are eligible to stay there for a small fee while being cared for at Baylor. Twice Blessed House, which caters to transplant patients, is a similar concept to the planned Hope Lodge Dallas, which will provide housing for cancer patients who travel long distances to receive care. History of Twice Blessed “By creating these dinners, we’re “In 1986, we realized that we able to help Twice Blessed House home-away-from-home during the said Amy Mueller, Twice Blessed families had to stay in Dallas,” said “Throughout the years, it has been chief of Surgical Transplant Programs bonds with each other. We also hope needed a facility that could be a patients have a sense of community,” many months patients and their project chair for the Junior League. Göran Klintmalm, M.D., Ph.D., rewarding to watch patients create for Baylor Scott & White Health. The Twice Blessed House currently occupies 46 units of the apartment it helps give them a sense of normalcy in such a trying time in their lives.” The Baylor and Junior League of complex, The Marquis at Gaston. Dallas relationship is a positive one for one- and two-bedroom apartments. alike. Junior League members get to to get quickly to and from doctors’ placements in Dallas, and those who “It’s just a blessing to be so close,” return year after year. “I know every The units managed by Baylor include patients and Junior League volunteers Patients can use the shuttle service select from a number of volunteer appointments. choose Twice Blessed House often said Dorothy, who rarely left her woman who’s ever volunteered there through chemotherapy and the That sentiment goes both ways, husband’s side, supporting him has absolutely loved it,” Amy said. transplant. according to Dr. Klintmalm. “Junior Social Gatherings at Twice sacrifices to help and support Blessed League volunteers have made patients and their families needing While staying at Twice Blessed the stability and care while recovering are invited to special outings and home,” he said. “It is truly a Junior League of Dallas. These get- members have provided the House, patients and their families from a transplant far away from weekly dinners organized by the heartwarming gift the Junior League togethers offer a change of scenery community for more than 30 years.” from the hospital setting and a chance to meet other families going through similar journeys. “For the families to come and just sit down and break bread together has been great,” said Dorothy. 18 For more information about Twice Blessed House or transplant initiatives, contact Melissa Dalton at 214.820.2705 or [email protected].