A Heartfelt Gift to Families in Need

In the summer of 2019, the doors to Heartfelt House opened in Springfield, Oregon, offering affordable lodging to out-of-town families of patients at the newly constructed PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.

Among the more than 600 donors who contributed from US$10 to US$1 million are Lions. More than 20 Lions clubs in Oregon, along with LCIF, contributed US$220,000 to the Heartfelt House, and Lion Ed Gear – who reached out to clubs throughout southern and coastal Oregon – says he did not have to work hard to get Lion support.

“They just immediately started contributing and very much wanted to be a part of it,” says Gear.

This is the second time Lions have come forward to support families of hospital patients in Oregon. In the late 1990s, the Eugene Downtown Lions Club spearheaded a fundraising campaign to provide a special guest house for the families of patients who had to stay for long periods of time at Sacred Heart PeaceHealth Hospital in downtown Eugene. A group of Oregon Lions clubs, with the help of US$75,000 from LCIF, raised more than US$280,000 to help establish the Children’s Miracle Network-Lions Patient Family Guesthouse.

Families of hospital patients in Springfield, Oregon, find affordable housing and the feel of home at the new Heartfelt House, thanks to Oregon Lions and LCIF.

But the house that was renovated with those funds was built in the 1920s, so upkeep was an ongoing issue, and the downtown hospital had no room to expand as needed. The Sacred Heart PeaceHealth Medical Center at Riverbend in nearby Springfield was planned. The Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation, with the aid of the local Lions, began the US$6 million capital campaign to construct this new house adjacent to the hospital complex. And the Eugene Downtown Lions led an effort that raised money from Lions clubs and individual Lions to match a US$100,000 grant from LCIF.

Groundbreaking took place in April of 2018, and the new home opened in September.

The guesthouse has a 10-room pediatric wing to house families of pediatric patients and babies in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, and a 10-room adult wing. It is a collaboration between PeaceHealth and Ronald McDonald House Charities, and guests pay nothing to a modest fee, depending on their circumstances, but no one will be turned away because of inability to pay.

“A guesthouse lessens the financial burden of being away from home,” says Gear. “Even more important, it can help ease the anxiety when a loved one needs hospital care. So much can’t be controlled when a family member is in the hospital. This part is in our control. We can help provide a warm bed, a kitchen, and a place to let down.”