Our Donor Stories

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Ana Russo

“My husband became terminally ill with stage IV lung cancer and spent a lot of time at Kaiser Santa Clara. I [also] have a cousin who has a child who is developmentally ill and she would spend a lot of time over there as well. As anybody can tell you, sleeping in a hospital room when you’re not the patient is quite uncomfortable and there are lots of noises. [At JW House], you have all the comforts that you don’t necessarily have when you’re in the hospital taking care of a loved one. It takes a terrible time in your life and makes it a little bit easier to handle.”

Ana Russo is a guest, donor, and advocate for JW House. As a Bellarmine mom and local realtor with Intero Real Estate (a JW House grantor), she promotes support for JW House from all sectors of her life. And as a past guest, she knows first-hand the importance of providing a home away from home for families with loved ones in the hospital. Thank you for all you do for our organization, Ana!

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Ana Vargas

“My [91 year old] dad had a stroke, and he had numerous problems health-wise. He had Alzheimer’s too, which made going to the hospital difficult. We took him to the hospital by ambulance and they put him in the ICU. We weren’t sure if he was going to make it.

My mom is 86, we were a little exhausted and going on 24 hours, and out of the blue this wonderful social worker at Kaiser said “you guys need a break - I know a place” and she explained JW House to me. And we landed there. Everyone who was there was so compassionate and kind and wanted to make sure we rested and had a meal so that we could go back to the ICU. That touched me, it felt like home. I think it’s that sense of home and family. There’s really no other organization that offers that.”

Ana Vargas-Smith is the President of the Santa Clara Parade of Champions. This year, the parade chose JW House as their charitable partner, because of Ana’s experience visiting the House. This is a perfect example of when we say “JW House was built by the community, for the community” - and it truly comes full circle! We couldn’t provide services to so many families with loved ones in local hospitals without the support of our amazing community. Thank you Ana for sharing your story!

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Joan Leis

“Heritage Bank of Commerce gives back to the community by supporting the nonprofits in the community that it’s in. JW House is one of those. We’ve been very lucky to be part of the JW House project from the beginning and started to become their bank back in 2006 when Dr. Wong and JW’s mom came to the bank to start [an] account.

In 2016, my family and I were here to use the facilities. Our mother was at Kaiser across the way. She spent her last couple months there before she passed. We needed to have a family meeting and the hospital didn’t have a large enough space for [about 15 of] us. So we were able to gather and meet here and it was wonderful. We had a quiet safe place to talk about things we needed to do for our mom. It was invaluable for us.

Those of us that live close to all the medical facilities - we don’t think about those that have to come in from far away to get the special treatments. And then they have nowhere to stay. And in Silicon Valley its extremely difficult to find a place and its very expensive. [It’s] so much more besides a bed - when you think about it, it’s a home away from home for people that come here. They’e safe and they’re comfortable and you can just relax.”

Joan Leis and Heritage Bank are some of JW House’s earliest and most consistent donors/supporters. It is because of the people who support us year after year that we have been able to keep JW’s dream alive for over 11 years! Joan is an amazing advocate for JW House and we thank you for sharing your story!


Linda Yuen
Leaving a Legacy with JW House

Linda Yuen started volunteering on Monday nights at JW House in February 2013 after spending many years as a teacher. For more than two years Linda’s compassion, kindness and strength helped hundreds of JW House guests while they cared for a loved one experiencing a medical crisis. Linda shared many stories and amazing photos from her trips to exotic places around the globe. Each of them a significant milestone as she lived her journey with stage 4 lung cancer. Linda would say, “Do not wait to enjoy life! I am grateful for my ‘extra’ time.” Linda enjoyed her service at JW House so much so that she kept her JW House badge with her during her hospital stays. Linda passed away on September 10, 2016, but continues to help families through a generous bequest of nearly $55,000 she left to JW House. We are grateful to Linda for her service, her financial support, and her friendship.

If you are interested in remembering JW House in your will or living trust, please contact
us at 408-606-8545 or info@jwhouse.org.