The mission of the Gabriel House of Care is to provide affordable, temporary lodging in a “community of healing” environment for adult organ transplant and cancer patients and their caregivers who come to Jacksonville for medical treatment.
Gabriel House of Care volunteers are vital members of an energetic team that work together to provide an environment of compassion and camaraderie for patients and caregivers undergoing lifesaving medical treatment. We know your schedule is busy- and we have a variety of volunteer opportunities to be able to accommodate your schedule available throughout the week! To volunteer, visit www.gabrielhouseofcare.org/volunteers
The Gabriel House of Care was born out of the hearts and minds of transplant recipients and caregivers, physicians, transplant professionals, and leaders in the transplant community. The goal was to create a comfortable and warm environment for transplant and cancer patients and their caregivers who needed temporary housing while receiving medical care at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville.
With a generous gift from Jorge Bacardi, lung recipient and member of the Bacardi Rum family, the project took flight. Working with Mayo leaders, plans were developed and groundbreaking for the Gabriel House was held in March of 2010. One year later the house was complete.
The Gabriel House of Care provides affordable, temporary lodging in a “community of healing” environment for adult organ transplant and cancer patients and their caregivers who come to Jacksonville for medical treatment.
Gabriel House of Care is located on the Mayo Clinic Florida campus at:
4599 Worrall Way
Jacksonville, FL 32224
Main Number: (904) 821-8995
The story behind the Gabriel House of Care begins long before the idea of the house was conceived. It began in the 1940’s with a young boy who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. That boy was Jorge Bacardi, a member of the well-known Bacardi family, who have distributed rum and other fine spirits for 150 years. But a determined young Jorge outlived his doctors predictions of not surviving his childhood, and then went on to become the vice president in the Bacardi family business.
It wasn’t until Jorge reached his 50’s that doctors determined that he did not actually suffer from cystic fibrosis. The true diagnosis was actually a congenital disease called primary ciliary dyskinesia.
His only hope for survival was a double lung transplant.
After much soul-searching and the counsel of doctors and family, Jorge, with his wife Leslie by his side, made the difficult decision to pursue a transplant. They committed themselves not only to the rigorous process, but to deeply respect and honor the gift of life- if he was approved and fortunate enough to receive an organ.
In March 2008, at age 64, Jorge Bacardi received a double lung transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. His surgery was complex but the outcome and his recovery were excellent. He left the hospital a few days later, having experienced a full breath of air for the first time in his life. Almost immediately, the Bacardi’s began thinking about how they could give back to honor their organ donor, whom Jorge called Gabriel after the heavenly archangel Gabriel.
Later, in 2009, the Bacardi’s learned the true identity of their donor.
The donor was Christopher Mark Gregory, a nineteen-year-old student at Loyola University in New Orleans, who suffered a fatal brain aneurysm. They had an emotional meeting with Christopher’s parents, brothers, and other family members at the Gregory’s home in Baltimore. Soon thereafter, Jorge and Leslie Bacardi donated funds to Mayo Clinic to lead the construction of a new hospitality house.
They named the house Gabriel House of Care, in honor of his organ donor.
The Bacardi gift to Mayo Clinic was an expression of their deep gratitude to Christopher, his family, Dr. Cesar Keller, and his Mayo transplant team. The Bacardi’s made the lead gift to St. Andrew’s Lighthouse, Inc. to support the opening of Gabriel House of Care.
With each guest comes another compelling story of courage, determination and human spirit. All of them a tribute to a young man who gave the gift of life to another, and a family whose generosity and caring brings hope and healing for generations to come through the Gabriel House of Care.
Jorge and Leslie Bacardi