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Gifting Gala attendees tell of Family House's support system

| Sunday, March 29, 2015, 5:59 p.m.
Double lung transplant recipient Kwesi Aguillera joins his wife Teppany during the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
John Altdorfer
Double lung transplant recipient Kwesi Aguillera joins his wife Teppany during the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
Jules Feucht  was among the guests attending the  Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
John Altdorfer
Jules Feucht was among the guests attending the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
Maggie Bodenlos stands in the Grand Ballroom during the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
John Altdorfer
Maggie Bodenlos stands in the Grand Ballroom during the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
Natasha and James McNeal stand in front of the bandstand during the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
Natasha and James McNeal stand in front of the bandstand during the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
Bruce Coleman sports a dapper look during the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
John Altdorfer
Bruce Coleman sports a dapper look during the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
Juli Kundu considers a rack of wine in a silent auction during the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.
John Altdorfer
Juli Kundu considers a rack of wine in a silent auction during the Family House Gifting Gala at the Westin William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. March 28, 2015.

The ties that bind were the driving force behind Family House's Gifting Gala on March 28, a concept that drew no shortage of admiration from 300 guests at the Omni William Penn, Downtown.

“Everyone here has a story of someone who needed help,” said Kim Racan.

The sentiment was echoed by board chair Randy andKim Struk. He spoke of a “shared support system” for clients so deep that “before they leave, they're family.”

Since its inception in 1983, Family House has supported tens of thousands of individuals by giving them a place to stay while receiving medical treatment in Pittsburgh.

“That's my house,” said Trinidad native Kwesi Aguillera, who underwent a double lung transplant last year. “It's my home away from home.”

Dancing the night away to Gary Racan and the Studio-e band were Kim andCurt Fleming, Terrence andLaura Hartford, Kathy Lachenauer, Mernis Ayala, Merritt Fajt Birnie, Brittany Holzer and Darla Shay.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at kbenz@tribweb.com, 412-380-8515 or via Twitter @KateBenzTRIB.

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