Thursday, March 17, 2011
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Mayo Clinic and St. Andrew's Lighthouse, Inc. will today announce the official opening of Gabriel House of Care at a dedication ceremony on the clinic's Jacksonville campus. The invitation-only event will precede a public open house for the new facility, which will be held tomorrow, March 18, from 4-7p.m. The first patient guests are scheduled to occupy the facility in early April.
Gabriel House of Care is a 30-room, extended-stay patient housing facility located on a four-acre lakeside site at the west end of Mayo Clinic's campus at 4599 Worrall Way. It is owned by Mayo Clinic and leased to and operated by St. Andrew's Lighthouse. The facility provides extended-stay housing for visiting transplant and cancer patients and their families who must remain in the Jacksonville area for long periods to receive specialized medical treatment. St. Andrew's Lighthouse currently houses some Mayo Clinic patients and their families in two smaller housing facilities in Jacksonville Beach.
Jorge and Leslie Bacardi of the Bahamas made the lead gift for construction of Gabriel House of Care to express their gratitude to Mr. Bacardi's organ donor, Christopher Gregory, a 19-year-old college student from Baltimore who passed away unexpectedly. The Bacardis and Christopher Gregory's parents will speak at the dedication event. Several other benefactors joined the Bacardi family in supporting the house and their combined generosity has surpassed the $13.5 million fundraising goal for the house's construction and future maintenance.
"Gabriel House of Care provides a much-needed 'home away from home' for out-of-town transplant and cancer patients receiving extended medical care here in Jacksonville," said Ed Asher, executive director of St. Andrew's Lighthouse. "It will promote a sense of community and encourage patients and their families to share experiences and build friendships that can facilitate healing."
Gabriel House of Care's architecture and interior design is similar to a "southern inn," comfortable and inviting with a dramatic stairwell at the main entry, reminiscent of a bed and breakfast. Its residential design promotes social interaction among residents, allowing them to share similar experiences, and fosters a sense of community. To promote this philosophy, there are no TVs in patient rooms. Instead, there are multiple common areas designed for gathering and socializing, including a great room, game/TV room, exercise room, library, meditation area, community kitchen and dining room. There's even a large screened-in porch overlooking a lake on campus, an ideal place for reflection or for year-round social gatherings. Additionally, all patient rooms are designed to feel like home, with private baths, wood floors and residential-style furnishings.
Founded in 1996, St. Andrew's Lighthouse has become a "home away from home" for more than 1,300 patients and families from 36 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and three foreign countries. The local organization recognized a growing need for temporary, supportive housing for patients and families traveling to Jacksonville for specialized medical care. The organization has operated a home in Jacksonville Beach since 2000, featuring four private bedrooms and community living, dining and kitchen areas. A second home with two private bedrooms was added in 2008 to accommodate longer-term stays. See more information about the organization, its services and Gabriel House of Care.
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