Advancements in TRANS PLANTS made posible by generous suport John L. Hern knew what it meant to need help. In 1996, Hern was a patient at Houston Methodist waiting for a heart transplant. Waiting on the chance that someone, somewhere, had made the selfless decision to be an organ donor . Waiting for an organ that could be a match. there were others waiting with him at the hospital . Always a gregarious person, Hern made friends with his fellow patients and their families. Hearing their stories, he learned of the enormous pressure that many of his fellow patients were under. “It’s just so incredibly expensive,” says Paula Hern, John’s daughter, recalling her father’s conversations. “And not just the procedure itself, but travel, parking, food, lodging…all of those direct needs that people have while they’re undergoing this process.” Near the end of the year, Hern did receive a transplant. It was successful, but almost one year later his antirejection medication failed. In October 1997 he passed away. After his passing, John’s friends and family established the JLH Foundation in his memory. From the beginning, they were clear on the purpose of the Foundation: to fulfill John’s wish. “He was really a very giving, very generous man,” says Paula Hern. “He was very aware of how hard it had been for him, and wanted to be able to help others as well. So when he was there in the hospital and saw some of the patients and families struggling, he wanted to be able to help.” the JLH foundation began its philanthropic mission with a focus on helping heart transplant patients. In 2004, the JLH Foundation broadened the scope of its assistance to include all types of transplant, and established the John L. Hern Fund for Transplant Patients and Their Families at Houston Methodist. “We’ve been able to help patients get their medication,” says Paula, describing the work of the Hern Fund at Houston Methodist. “We’ve helped with lodging… we’ve helped with food, we’ve helped with parking. That’s what we’re wanting to do, help with these direct needs, these concrete needs that people have.” Since 2002, the JLH Foundation has contributed over $1.7 million to Houston Methodist, including a $600,000 commitment made to the Hern Fund in 2014.
Houston Methodist Foundation Magazine | 2014
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