The first goal of personal finance is to get to a place where you have your basic needs covered. After that you can start fulfilling some of your dreams, some of your goals, and, ever importantly, help others.
Today we’re going to look at one way you can help others. I consider myself very lucky to live in Pittsburgh where we have great medical care. It’s so great, that people often travel long distances to gain access to it. Unfortunately, it’s not usually good news when you have to travel long distances to get great healthcare. It means something’s wrong. That something wrong may have been unexpected. Far from being medical tourism, these circumstances often result in travel expenses that can cause hardship in an already overwhelming and traumatic time.
Not in Pittsburgh? Keep reading. There are ways you can help, too.
In Pittsburgh, there’s any organization called Family House that seeks to make all that travel easier. They provide low-cost room and board to families that are traveling under these harrowing circumstances, and cater every detail of their stay to help alleviate the difficult situation they’re in.
On September 12th, they will be holding their 32nd annual Polo Match at Hartwood Acres to raise funds for the continuation of their mission. It’s going to be a great time with a ton of stuff to do on top of the match, but I’ll let you read more about all the details below. Lisa Kahle from Family House was kind enough to take the time to do an interview with me about their history and all the fun things you can expect at the match this year. Not only that, but you’ll have the opportunity to win a pretty nice ticket package to the event, too!
On to Lisa:
Tell me about the roots of Family House, and what your organization does today.
The idea of Family House began in 1981, when organ transplantation – pioneered by Dr. Thomas Starzl – was in its infancy. Families would often sleep in hospital corridors or waiting rooms following these life-saving surgeries. Dr. Starzl, along with other community leaders, realized a need for accommodations that would allow ease of access to hospitals and affordable for long stays. Thus, Family House opened in 1983. Thirty years and three more houses later, Family House has expanded to meet the needs of patients and families who come to Pittsburgh for all types of medical treatment. Although transplantation continues to be a large source of guests at Family House, emerging technologies in cancer treatment and cardiology contribute to the overall demographics, in addition to a myriad of other care (trauma, orthopedic, pediatric, etc.).
Where are patients and family traveling from?
Patients and families travel from across the globe for the world-class medical care in Pittsburgh. In the last year, Family House saw guests from 48 states and 30 countries. However, 60% of our guests travel from within PA.
What does their day look like with your services?
Family House provides more than just a roof over their heads. The magic is in the community of support, from the moment you walk into our house and are greeted by a volunteer, to the dinner that’s cooked by a local corporation. Guests who stay at Family House inevitably benefit from the shared experiences; all are here under similar circumstances.
How big is the need? Can you currently meet it?
Staying at Family House is not free, unfortunately. However, the nightly rates are a fraction of the cost of hotels and range from $49 per night for a single to $80 per night for a suite. Yet, the costs to operate these rooms exceed $80 per night, and Family House fund raises to offset those costs. In addition, we have a Family Assistance Program for families who still cannot afford these low rates, which further reduces the nightly rates to as low as $25 per night.
Tell me about the Polo Match. How did it get started?
Family House Polo began as the initial fundraiser to open our first house at 233 McKee Place in 1983. Over the past three decades, it has become an annual end-of-summer tradition in Pittsburgh and one of the largest polo fundraisers in the country, raising more than $5 million for the patients and families who stay at Family House.
What does the Polo Match involve today? What events are you particularly looking forward to on September 12th?
The Family House Polo Match draws more than 2,000 people to Hartwood Acres each year for a fanciful, fun-for-the-whole-family affair complete with a professional polo match, tailgating, vintage car show, shopping, silent auction and more. Adding to the excitement this year will be food trucks, more children’s activities and pre-match entertainment by studio e’s Protégé.
We will also have a Fancy Hat Contest, in which patrons visit the photo booth to have their photo taken to enter. Secret judges will review the photos, and participants will be invited to parade on the field during the halftime divot stomp. Awards will be given for the Most Unique, Biggest and Best Men’s and Women’s hats.
In the popular Sip & Shop Tent, patrons can enjoy drink samples while perusing local boutiques selling everything from clothing, accessories and children’s items, to artwork, stationery and, of course, hats. Current participants in the “Shop” tent include: Me & My Shadow, Ice & Elegance, Geekery & Gloss, Jazzy G Designs, LulaRoe and Bridget Rose Fine Stationery.
For the “Sips,” we will have samples of craft beer and wine, as well as Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and Grey Goose Vodka.
How are the proceeds of the event spent?
The dollars raised by our Polo event allow us to continue to keep our houses safe and room nights affordable. In addition, they allow us to offer complimentary shuttle service to and from Pittsburgh hospitals, provide grab-and-go breakfast items 3 days per week, as well as pet therapy several times per month.
In what other ways can people help? (Either locally or from afar?)
For those who live in/around Pittsburgh, there are many opportunities to volunteer – from cooking a meal to painting a room. Just contact our volunteer department at 412.647.4917. In addition, we do have an Amazon wish list where you can ship to us directly. If you want to support us even more, visit smile.amazon.com and choose Family House, Inc. as your charity – all of your everyday purchases will benefit Family House!
I’d like to thank Lisa for taking the time to tell us more about this great organization, and for providing a ticket package to the Polo Match for one lucky family! The prize is a White Ribbon Ticket Package, which normally goes for $200. It includes one on-field parking space in rows 5-6, and grants admission for 6 adults. If you decide you want to secure a ticket now, the winner will be refunded their money if they have already purchased up to $200. Prize will be fulfilled by Family House, Inc.
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter! Best of luck to all!
a Rafflecopter giveaway