When Jim Price got a second chance at life following a successful liver transplant in 2013, he resolved to give back in a more personal and meaningful way than simply writing checks to worthy nonprofits.
He reached out to The Doorways, an organization that provides support and lodging for patients and family members who need to travel to Richmond for all types of medical treatment, including transplants. He heard about The Doorways from other patients who stayed there, and he inquired about forming a Transplant Support Group that he volunteered to lead.
“People who are preparing for a transplant are often scared,” Price said. “Many of them have come in from out of town and even out of state, and their friends aren’t around to support them. They and their caregivers have lots of questions. I thought that sharing my experience might help and provide a measure of comfort.”
For more than six years, the Transplant Support Group has met about twice a month. Price and a social worker, Sheran Goodman, are there for whoever shows up.
“Sometimes we have two people, sometimes 10,” he said. “Our main message is that if you need someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to ask us anything. We’re there to listen and to be someone they can trust for insider knowledge about transplants.”
His favorite thing is giving guests at The Doorways an opportunity to meet each other and talk about their concerns. Over the years, he has been brought to tears by the notes of thanks that he has received from participants in the Transplant Support Group.
“I love volunteering with The Doorways,” concluded Price, who celebrates his birthdays at The Doorways and also helps with the annual Thanksgiving feast. “It’s a hidden gem in RVA and a tremendous asset to our city.”
For 40 years, The Doorways has provided a safe and comfortable home away from home to patients and their family members. Originally called the MCV/VCU Hospital Hospitality House, it is currently located at Seventh and Marshall Streets in a 117-bed facility that was a former Days Inn. In 2015, the organization rebranded as The Doorways: Between Healing and Home to highlight its unique role in a patient’s medical journey.
“The Doorways is the largest donation-based organization of its kind in the U.S.,” said Stacy Brinkley, President and CEO of The Doorways. “It has served more than 215,000 guests with more than 1.3 million nights of lodging since its founding in 1983. We’ve had guests from all 50 states and from countries around the world.”
Amenities at The Doorways include an extensive library, a media room, a pool table, a baby grand piano, board games, an outdoor garden, communal kitchens, computers, an exercise room and more.
“But the real magic comes from the people who stay here and the volunteers who provide nourishing meals and so many other services, such as the Transplant Support Group, to support guests through their challenges,” noted Brinkley. “Last year alone, we had 447 volunteers provide over 3,400 hours of service. Our amazing volunteers like Jim are the lifeblood of The Doorways.”
The Doorways will host its annual fundraiser, SAVOR, on Sat., March 2 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Jefferson Hotel. Attendees will be treated to an evening of fun, music and the best cuisine imaginable expertly crafted by nationally acclaimed chefs alongside Richmond’s finest chefs—all to support The Doorways and its mission. Learn more at thedoorways.org.