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Local Lions Clubs raise funds to help build the Heartfelt House

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Contact: Sherri Buri McDonald Media Relations,
PeaceHealth Oregon
541-520-8219 or SBuriMcDonald@peacehealth.org

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – The Heartfelt House, an $8.4 -million project, has sparked the imaginations and pulled at the heartstrings of a diverse group of donors, including individuals, corporations and community service clubs.

Entirely funded through philanthropy, the house is emblematic of the region’s tremendous generosity. So far, more than 600 donors have contributed from $10 to $1 million, raising a total of $5.8 million.

Set to open in June, the Heartfelt House will offer comfortable, affordable lodging to out-of-town families of patients at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield and University District in Eugene. The 20,208-square-foot house will be just a five-minute walk from RiveBend.

Lions Clubs International and local Lions, including the service club in Sutherlin, have raised $220,000 for the Heartfelt House. Lion Ed Gear has witnessed that generosity first-hand as he has talked about the Heartfelt House at clubs throughout the Willamette Valley, coastal and southern Oregon.

“I have not had to work hard to get that kind of donation,” Gear said. “They just immediately started contributing and very much wanted to be a part of it.”

The cause resonates with people, Gear said, adding that many Lions either know people who have stayed at a patient guest house somewhere in the country, or they’ve used one themselves.

A guest house lessens the financial burden of being away from home, but 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, Gear said. “This part is in our control,” he said. “We can help provide a warm bed, a kitchen and a place to let down.”

The project is especially close to Gear’s heart because of his role in bringing the Patterson Street patient guest house to Eugene. As a Lions Clubs International director in the late 1990s, Gear toured a guest house the Lions had helped establish in Christchurch, New Zealand. He and other club members saw the need for one in the southern Willamette Valley. They raised $280,000 to help launch the Children’s Miracle Network/Lions Patient Family Guest House on Patterson Street near the University District campus.

Ed Gear & Yvonne Hamson

More than 20 area Lions Clubs have contributed to Contact: Sherri Buri McDonald Media Relations, PeaceHealth Oregon 541-520-8219 or SBuriMcDonald@peacehealth.org Local Lions Clubs raise funds to help build the Heartfelt House Ed Gear & Yvonne Hamson Southern Oregon Business Journal 29 the Heartfelt House, including those in Eugene, Springfield, Alvadore, Junction City, Cottage Grove, Elkton, Sutherlin, Florence, Yachats, Mapleton, Coos Bay, Jefferson, Monmouth-Independence, West Salem, Brownsville, Halsey and Albany.

Many other groups and individuals also are generously supporting the Heartfelt House. One example is Oregon Community Credit Union (OCCU), which created a foundation earlier this year to deepen its involvement in community service. The foundation’s inaugural gift was $500,000 to support the pediatric wing of the Heartfelt House.

“We have a longstanding relationship and are a longtime supporter of Children’s Miracle Network and believe that investing in the health and well-being of the youngest in our community is a good way to support the strength of the entire region,” OCCU President and CEO Ron Neumann said.

The 20-room guest house will have a 10-room pediatric wing and an a 10-room adult wing. It will be a collaboration between PeaceHealth, which will own the land and building, and Ronald McDonald House Charities, which will oversee day-to-day operations. Guests will pay from nothing to a modest fee, depending on their circumstances. But no one will be turned away because of inability to pay.

“It’s our hope that the Heartfelt House will provide a place where families in our region can be loved and receive the support that they desperately need during their most challenging times,” Neumann said.

There are still opportunities to give to the Heartfelt House, which anticipates serving up to 1,500 families a year. More information about the project and how to donate is available here.

About PeaceHealth:
PeaceHealth, Based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 900 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at peacehealth.org.

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