In our newest installment of our Client Spotlight series we chat with Renee Owens wife of Leonard Owens a former VAD patient at VUMC.
Can you tell me a little about how your Husband ended up in the hospital?
Leonard ended up in the Hospital due to cardiomyopathy. This was a hereditary issue that runs in his family. Over the years his heart failure worsened, and he needed more and more treatment, ultimately leading to him getting a VAD in September of 2012. Leonard was a destination therapy implant, so it was just about making his life better. He was a very sick man six years ago, and after he got the VAD it was absolutely a vast improvement with his health. He had so much more energy.
Can you tell me about your experience with The Joe Beretta Foundation?
Oh yes! I remember when Leonard and I were first blessed by the foundation almost a year ago (in December). Hospital staff asked if it would be ok if someone from the foundation could come by and drop off a Christmas gift. So someone came by and gave me and Leonard a gift bag and it was just a huge blessing. To be in the hospital over the Holidays and have someone to come be our angel was great.
Can you tell me about a specific moment where TJBF was able to help you?
When Leonard was in and out of the hospital, I was having to take him back and forth and wasn’t able to work as much as I needed to. Because of this our finances were struggling. TJBF was able to help us a lot during that time when we really needed it. After Leonard’s passing (six years after his implant) the foundation has been there for me helping me to grieve and make sure I’m ok as I move forward.
In spite of Leonard passing, are you grateful for the VAD?
Yes very much so. I think it absolutely prolonged his life (along with the grace of God). If it wasn’t for that I think he would’ve been gone six years ago. We had so many issues where he flat lined before the VAD, but thankfully we were able to get the implant and that really helped tremendously. I feel like the VAD helped me get “my” Leonard back for those last few years.
If you were to speak face to face with the donors who helped provide you with help, what would you say?
I would first thank God and them for their gracious gifts to the foundation. I’d just express how appreciative someone like me has been for them to donate their time or money to the foundation. It really made such a huge difference in Leonard’s life and my life. It was just such a huge relief for us to not have to worry about every single piece of the finances. Point blank I’d just express gratitude. We were fortunate to receive that help.