GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The ink is now dry on a fresh set of documents that gives Tracy Gary and Holly Werlein-Gary possession of a commercial-residential home on the corner of Leonard Street and Burke Avenue NE, just a few lots down from Fuller.
For the couple, who we first introduced you to in February, the gray, two-story home represents a milestone in a journey that's last years now.
"We are trying to create a home away from home for transplant recipients and those going through the transplant process, as well as the caregivers and families to have a place to stay while their loved one is waiting," Holly said.
Both Holly and Tracy know how much of a difference that home will make. Holly received a liver transplant 16 years ago, and Tracy received a heart transplant four years ago.
"Both of our families had to go through something similar so just to know that we can help reassure that they have that comforting place to go they can go and feel safe," Holly said.
Once it's complete, the Transplant House of West Michigan will be available to transplant patients and their families for a fraction of the cost of a hotel.
"The layout has got three rooms downstairs. The middle room we're going to convert into possibly two bathrooms. So we're going to have two bedrooms downstairs," Tracy said.
"Then upstairs we'll have two bedrooms, a kitchen, and two common areas where people can gather and talk about what's going on, or just watching TV - whatever they need to do."
Take a look inside the Transplant House of West Michigan
One of the rooms will be called Dale's Room, in memory of Holly's donor.
Now that the Garys have closed on the home, renovations are about to begin. If all goes well, they hope to have the home ready by the beginning of the year.
However, fundraising is still very much underway.
"We haven't reached our goal yet. We put money down on the house, but we owe between $130,000 and $135,000 on it yet. But, we're hoping we can get some more donations and just get things going," Tracy said.
"It's our dream come true. We're super excited," Holly said.
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