Hello all once again!

Since my last blog, things have been moving along as briskly as ever at There Goes My Hero. With each successive drive the process becomes a little smoother and more effective. In October we had four bone marrow drives, including at our annual OctoberTaste event. In November we had two drives. I also had the distinct pleasure of seeing the Volunteer Maryland AmeriCorps cohort again during an in-service training day in Crownsville and a service trip to Moveable Feast. We had two drives and a holiday party in December to round out a great year. 

Hero’s October schedule was a fast-paced one, so I’ll give you a rundown in case you missed anything. At OctoberTaste on the 10th we swabbed a dozen new donors, raised a lot of new funds to support blood cancer patients and their families, and offered patrons an assortment of Baltimore’s finest foods. While twelve registered donors was a slightly lower number than last year, many attendees were already knowledgeable about the registry and had been swabbed in previous years. This was an encouraging reflection of our past success. The annual autumn bash featured food and drink from Baltimore to Gaithersburg, MD. Four great volunteers assisted by serving food and helping at the swab table whenever needed; their contributions helped make OctoberTaste a triumph.

I didn’t make it to our next two weekend drives, which were on a smaller scale than OctoberTaste. The first was the Fly4aCure Kite Festival in Leonardtown, Maryland, which was hosted by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Our Community Outreach Coordinator Stephanie got several swabs, made several new connections, and didn’t get pulled into the air by a kite. The next drive, at the Yorkridge Fall Festival at Timonium, proved a little more challenging as donors were hard to come by.

In early October I met with Ascension of St. Agnes Hospital to organize a drive and do a training. Ascension’s Olivia Farrow and several Ascension interns quickly became acquainted with the drive process. They suggested doing a drive during one of Ascension’s weekly farmers markets, in which patients and visitors can get fresh produce for a reasonable price in the lobby of the hospital. On October 24th we did do a drive, and while there wasn’t a huge crowd, the St. Agnes community proved to be extremely open and receptive to our mission. While maybe 50-75 people passed by the market during our time there, we were able to educate at least half of them. Eleven more made the commitment to swab and become a part of the registry. Several more took materials home to join once they learned a little bit more about the donation process on their own.

November was more relaxed. We had two drives and began to take a closer look at our plans for the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020. I enjoyed to see my Volunteer Maryland AmeriCorps cohort again at our training day in Crownsville on Decmber 14th.  I especially enjoyed hearing about the impact everyone is having at their service sites throughout Maryland. One week later, on the 21st, the cohort attended a memorable day of service at Moveable Feast in Baltimore. We prepared and sealed 270+ meals and packaged and stored over 1,200 bags of fresh produce. I left Moveable Feast with a sense of accomplishment at having had a tangible impact, especially so close to Thanksgiving. The great comradery helped pass the time; I would never have guessed that I would enjoy bagging sweet potatoes as much as I did.

So far in December There Goes My Hero has had several holiday-themed drives and events. Our Ugly Sweater Party at the Olde Philadelphia Inn took place on December 14th. Attendees showcased their best dance moves and most unappealing holiday attire. On December 14th we also had a successful drive at CityFam’s Blessing Bags Event at the Horseshoe Casino. Blessing Bags are Ziploc bags of essentials for the homeless such as toothpaste, bodywash, and small gift cards for food or grocery stores. Three upbeat and helpful volunteers assisted with the drive process and were excellent company. We were able to add ten more people to the bone marrow registry.

In 2020 we anticipate more great things to come. January 20th marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national day of service. We hope to do a drive where people can come out to give back to the community on their day off work. We’d also like to work with any college students that want to participate in a day of service by hosting a bone marrow drive. February looks like one of our busiest drive months, and we’re planning on doing a follow-up drive with St. Agnes Hospital and Ascension. In the coming weeks the date for Heropalooza, our crab feast and 0.5k, will be set and will be here before you know it. 

Being involved with TGMH continues to be a rewarding experience. If you’re considering volunteering I can attest to the impact you will have and highly recommend that you join us for a drive or an event. As always, you can reach me at thad.cwiklinski@theregoesmyhero.org with any inquiries about volunteering, questions about drives, or new ideas. I look forward to hearing from you and working together for a great cause.

 

Have an amazing holiday,

Thad