Greetings to There Goes My Hero’s volunteers,

I’m glad to be able to give you some definite updates about the volunteer program in an indefinite time. We’ve been fortunate enough to have had some successful drives to start 2020, but ever since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have had to adapt to accomplish our mission remotely. Don’t worry, though– the volunteer program abides. There are still plenty of opportunities for you to help out, and we need your talent and resiliency now as much as ever. This blog will provide you with more details about our new volunteer-run virtual drives, adjustments to volunteer opportunities and the events schedule, and news about a brief virtual drive tutorial video featuring my short-lived acting debut. 

As is the case with almost any organization at the moment, There Goes My Hero has had to suspend its day-to-day operations and move online. Handling the DNA swabs of numerous people would be a recipe for disaster during a pandemic. Instead, we’re having people join the registry on an individual basis through virtual drives. The reach of our virtual drives is dependent on how many people our volunteers reach. We’re counting on you to continue to fulfill our mission!

Virtual drives are uncomplicated, and they can be created quickly. When a volunteer expresses interest in doing a drive, I send them background information and then communicate to them how the virtual process works. Then I send them a link to their own drive, and it’s their responsibility to promote the drive on social media or by emailing and calling close contacts.

The drive is perfectly safe for the volunteer. When people sign up with the link they receive a kit in the mail, swab, and then send it directly back to DKMS, so there is no one else involved. A virtual drive is also appealing in its simplicity– volunteers’ main job is to promote the link and be a resource for potential donors if they have any questions as they join the registry, but volunteers won’t have to deal with the logistics of picking up drive materials, setting up their drive, or organizing forms and swab kits.

There Goes My Hero will soon be posting a video where I go into more detail about virtual volunteering and drives. It will be available soon on our website or in the next volunteer newsletter. It is an early version so soundtrack recommendations are welcomed.

The volunteer response to virtual drives has been excellent so far, which helps us offset some of the setbacks of an ever-changing schedule. The following list is a general outline of where our events stand as of early April. For the latest information about Hero’s events and COVID-19 response, you can look at our website and in the latest edition of our newsletter.

  • Several drives with the Red Cross and the Pearlstone Foundation on April 14th and 18th are being rescheduled or cancelled.
  • Our April 23rd drive at United Karting Racing in Hanover has been tentatively postponed until June 25th. 
  • April has previously been our biggest month for Join for Joe, a campaign named in honor of a former Loyola Blakefield student, Joe Gorman, who passed away after battling leukemia. Local high schools host “Senior Swab Days” where seniors join the bone marrow registry. We are currently working with representatives from these schools to preserve the Join for Joe legacy remotely, in a way that is productive and safe for all involved.
  • June 7th marks Heropalooza, one of our biggest events of the year. Heropalooza is still set to occur. Whether it will be on-site or in a different format has yet to be determined.
  • The status of our drive with the Aberdeen Ironbirds at Ripken Stadium on July 12th is currently uncertain. 

There will inevitably be a lot more Hero news to come, so be sure to keep checking our website and Facebook page for updates. If you have any questions, want to volunteer virtually, or would like to share any personal experiences with TGMH, you can reach me by email at thad.cwiklinski@theregoesmyhero.org. Until next time!

Stay well,

Thad