HOUSTON — Nora Gaber was just seven years old when a car crash cut her young life short. But her parents, doctors Osama and Lillian Gaber, wanted her legacy to live on. They donated her organs to save other children.
"In her memory and really in her honor, they developed Nora’s Gift Foundation, which is our foundation, and Nora’s Home came shortly after," said Natalie Lencioni, executive director of Nora’s Home.
Since the facility opened in the Texas Medical Center in 2013, it’s offered a place for organ transplant patients and their families to stay.
"This is my home away from home," said patient Bobby Channell, whose doctors told him in 2003 that he only had months to live.
Bobby refused to give up the fight, consulting with new doctors. Over the years, they installed a defibrillator, a pacemaker and other devices to keep his heart pumping.
"Until Jan. 13, when I finally got my heart," Bobby shared.
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In the months before and since his transplant, Bobby stayed at Nora’s Home.
"My family was there with me through the whole thing," Bobby said. "And faith."
Not just the spiritual kind.
"I feel like Nora’s Home saved my life," said Faith Crouch, who was born with cystic fibrosis. "When you’re diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, you pretty much just assume you’re going to have a transplant."
After six years of being added to and dropped from three different transplant lists, Faith got new lungs in September 2020.
"I ended up coming here, moving in and we lived across the hall from each other," Faith said.
"The first time I saw Faith, I went and told my mother. I said, ‘There’s this girl here and she’s really cute,'" remembered Bobby, prompting a giggle from Faith.
The couple didn’t start dating immediately. That’s a fairly recent development that they’re navigating as Bobby recovers at Nora's Home.
"We definitely want to be together," Bobby said.
Faith nodded, adding, "It gets really hard to not be together now."
Their love story is an example of the relationships nurtured by the staff and volunteers of Nora’s Home.
"They really make the home a home," said Lencioni.
More than 1,400 families have stayed here during their transplant journey, most decorating a tile for the halls of Nora’s Home. Some thank God. Some honor their donor. Some, like the ones painted by Bobby and his mother, are an illustration of the bridges crossed.
"I think the real gift that Nora’s Home provides is that sense of community that you can only see and understand once you’re inside our walls.
It's a place with a whole lot of heart and faith.
"Nora’s Home kind of helped my soul heal while I was staying here," said Faith.
To learn more about Nora's Home, click here.
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