2016 HGTV Dream House

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HGTV Host Tiffany Brooks, Dave & Meg with Father Amjad and Ron Marcho Right After the Announcement

So it is official now so I can write about it here.  I was named the winner of the 2016 HGTV Dream House in Merritt Island, Florida.  It is an amazing prize and includes the House (which was totally renovated and remodelled), the furnishings and original artwork, a $250,000 cash gift from Quicken Loans, a 2016 GMC Acadia Denali and a new Bryant Speranza speed boat!   I still can hardly believe it but I have signed a bunch of paperwork about it all.  My daughters and son-in-law worked with the Rector at our church and the crew from HGTV to set me up for the ambush.  The church was planning to do a blessing for me and my wife for the 1 year anniversary of our Kidney Transplants at the Palm Sunday Service, very much like they did the Sunday before the Transplant last March.  At the end of the Blessing, Tiffany Brooks, who  is also a Transplant Recipient, was at the Lectern and things got really crazy after that!  After the service was over, we went outside and they had a GMC Acadia and the big check for $250,000 from Quicken Loans.  We posed for a bunch of pictures with the check, with the car, and with everyone.  After we did some more interviews in the parking lot and in the church, eventually it calmed down and everyone left.

IMG_0314Carolyn, Meg, Dave, Kate & Kenny

After the Chaos of the Ambush at Church

Meg and I had been totally in the dark but my daughters and son-in-law had been in on it for a couple of weeks!  They were all planning to come for the palm Sunday Weekend since it was Carolyn’s spring break from college.  My name was selected in early March and they wanted to reach out to a family member but only could find a number for my son-in-law, Kenny, at his office.  They finally convinced the receptionist to put them thru to his voice mail and we are eternally grateful the she did and that Kate and Kenny decided to return the call and the it wasn’t a scam, which was the first reaction!  Over the next two weeks Kate & Kenny enlisted Carolyn to the cause and they worked with HGTV, and Father Amjad at our church to set things in motion.  We didn’t know any of this until after everything had quieted down and we went out to brunch and they spilled the beans!  The time since has been a blur!  I thought getting the new Kidney was my 15 minutes of fame  – this is like winning the lottery for a second time!

dh2016_front-yard-full-house-straight-on_h.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.966.644Courtyard of our new Dream Home

Sometime in the next few weeks we will go to Florida to see the house!  There is a big dinner with all the sponsors of all the different aspects of the house.  We will have a tour of the house that will be filmed and hosted by Tiffany and Brian, the designer of the house.  We are very excited and hoping for great weather and a great weekend in Florida!

 

One Year Anniversary

th-3So it is March and that is the one year anniversary of my Kidney Transplant – March 3 last year 4 women donated to 4 men and changed our lives forever.  This was all made possible by the altruistic donor, a wonderful woman from Mystic, that wanted to help someone so she donated her kidney and I was fortunate to receive her kidney.  Then Meg donated to a man from Old Saybrook, then his wife donated to a man from New Haven (who is a volunteer BSA leader), then his wife donated to a man from Stamford who had been on dialysis for over five years waiting for a kidney.  It is hard to believe it has been a year and my life has improved immensely.  I am not 100%  recovered and I have had some significant challenges since the transplant, including three additional hospital stays, but I feel so much better and can do so much more than when I was on dialysis.  Dialysis saved my life first – the lowest point I was at was the several months prior to dialysis.  Having said that I don’t miss Dialysis at all!

IMG_0548Me with my Kidney donor, Patricia!

My kidney function continues to be doing very well.  I had a Kidney Biopsy in February where they put needles in my new kidney and take 2-3 tiny slivers of the kidney out.  One they will do some chemical tests on and the others get viewed under various micro-scopes.   Apparently there are some forms of rejection that they can catch this way where is they wait for it to appear in my monthly blood work it is already too late.  I have an appointment at Yale Transplant next week to get the results of the biopsy.

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My job hunting is not going particularly well.  Everyone is very interested with why I was on disability and they lose interest in me once they hear about the transplant.  I am starting to look at opening my own part time business from home to generate a small income and give me some sense of purpose.  Hopefully I will have more to post about that as it comes to fruition.