ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Forty percent of people who get organ transplants at St. Louis hospitals come from far distances. Some live in extended-stay hotels or even their cars before and after the procedure.
Sam Kribbs has cystic fibrosis and needs a double lung transplant.
Kribbs said, "The call that there's a pair of lungs that fit me could come at any time."
He's from Kansas City but wants to be near Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis when he receives that life-changing phone call.
Kribbs said, "With how quickly my health can take a turn for the worse, it just makes sense for me to be here."
Kribbs and his wife planned on making an extended stay hotel their temporary home, but "the social worker at the hospital called me and said we have an amazing opportunity," he said.
That opportunity was a chance to stay in a furnished apartment near the hospital for a fraction of the cost. It's thanks to the organization, Mid-America Transplant Services, which leased a wing of an apartment complex just for out of town patients. It's called the Family House.
Dean Kappel, President and CEO Mid America Transplant Services, said, "Families can come here and have a home away from home while they're going through a pretty difficult time in their lives."
The Family House is located within minutes of St. Louis' four transplant centers.
Kappel said, "They actually had families living in cars in the parking lots so we felt compelled to see what we could do about that."
Patients can live here as long as it takes to receive pre and post transplant care.
"It's gonna be such a blessing."
An early Christmas present for Kribbs as he waits to receive the gift of life.
It costs as little as $5 to $25 a night, depending on things like the patient's financial situation and size of apartment needed. For more information, visit Mid-America Transplant Services website.