Volunteers from the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) brought holiday cheer to heart transplant patients at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. The volunteers, who have all undergone heart transplants themselves, delivered care packages filled with comforting items to patients who couldn’t go home for the holidays. The care packages included crossword puzzles, games, and chapstick, among other small gifts, to help the patients cope with life post-surgery.
Mike Eckman, one of the volunteers, expressed his gratitude for being able to give back and connect with the patients who have just received new hearts. Eckman, who received a heart transplant a few years ago, understands the anticipation and anxiety that come with waiting for a donor. Another volunteer, Dax Craig, highlighted the importance of asking questions and learning about the process as a way for patients to navigate their own transplant journeys.
Allegheny General Hospital has completed 31 heart transplants by the end of this year. The delivery of the comfort kits by CORE volunteers not only provided practical items for the patients’ recovery but also served as a reminder of the support and understanding from those who have been through the same experience.