- Associated Press - Sunday, June 1, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - People who come to St. Louis for medical transplants often stay up to half a year for follow-up care. A new apartment will provide a place for their relatives, thanks to a grateful transplant recipient.

Larry Bonds of St. Louis County received a new heart in 2008. Since then, he has built organ donor registries and raised awareness about transplants.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1pEO1n6 ) reports that the Larry D. Bonds Foundation for Life is sponsoring the apartment to house families of organ transplant recipients during their medical treatment.

The foundation will pay the $800 rent and utilities on the one-bedroom apartment on Hampton Avenue. Families staying there will be charged $30 per night, but many will pay nothing, depending on their financial situation.

The apartment is named the Tom Quertermous Memorial Apartment in honor of the donor whose heart Bonds received. Quertermous, of Cobden, Illinois, died in a farming accident at age 37. The apartment includes wall hangings in tribute to Quertermous’ love of motorcycles and fishing.

“I’m so grateful that I’m literally living off the function of someone else’s heart,” said Bonds, 57. “I wanted to show gratitude to that family and to the community.”

Two other apartments in the same complex are dedicated to families of transplant patients. Casey’s Place and Casey’s Place Too opened eight years ago and are occupied 95 percent of the time. Both are named for Casey Ann Hohman, who died in 2002 at age 22, three months after receiving a heart transplant.

Families from as far as Oklahoma and Arkansas have stayed in the apartments, about half at no cost. They are referred by social workers in the transplant program at Barnes-Jewish.

“If you’ve ever sat in a hospital for very long you know it’s taxing,” said Vince Hohman, Casey’s father. “Just to get a few hours and sleep in a bed, they need a break.”

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com