By Judy Sheridan
Back-to-back fundraisers for Aledo teen Dylan Hancock — now recovering well from a successful heart transplant Aug. 4 — have been set for Friday, Sept. 20, and Saturday, Sept. 21. Both events will be held at GamerTagz in Weatherford, 116 East I-20, behind Whataburger.
A “Family Game Night for Dylan” is scheduled for 6-11 p.m Friday, with GamerTagz co-owner Mike Jones and his wife, Jodi, donating all the proceeds from the $10 per hour game time purchases. Local businesses will donate prizes, too, to be given away in a raffle.
Saturday’s event will spotlight a classic car show to be staged from noon to 5 p.m. The U.S. Army Chopper will also be on exhibit, and the U.S. Army will provide custom-made dog tags. Organizers say there will be prizes and giveaways during the day and food available at nearby restaurants.
Raffle drawings for all major prizes are scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Fundraisers target new house
The weekend’s events launch a second major community fundraising drive for Dylan, who was released from the hospital Aug. 14. This one focuses on building a “House of Hope” for him, his mother, Mondee, and his little sister, Elizabeth. The new home, to replace the family’s present house off Bankhead Highway, south of I-20, will be designed to lower the risk of illness: all hard surfaces, for example, along with state of-the-art air handling and water filtration systems.
“The biggest challenge Dylan will face medically is infection, primarily respiratory infection,” Rob Helms, Dylan’s school mentor and the founder of Hearts of Hope for Dylan Hancock, said.
The Aledo Children’s Advocats and Business Group of Aledo — both non-profits — are partnering with Hearts of Hope in an effort to raise about $50,000 and build the house by Thanksgiving, according to Helms.
In the first fundraising effort, which began in mid-April, the Aledo community put up $40,000 for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association in honor of Dylan, with the money directed toward the teen’s non-medical transplant-related expenses.
Dylan would have been a freshman at Aledo High School this fall, but his plans were unhinged by the onset of viral dilated cardiomyopathy, eventually leading to a heart transplant at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
Currently he is in isolation — but not hospitalized — in Houston, undergoing weekly pinpoint-sized heart biopsies and taking drugs to suppress his immune system.
He is expected to return to Parker County in November, 90 days after the operation, but will not attend regular school in Aledo ISD until after the first of the year, Helms said.
“He is attending home-bound school with Houston ISD twice a week, but he would like everyone to know he is still a Bearcat,” Helms said.
In fact, Aledo head football coach and athletic director Tim Buchanan promised Dylan, a middle school football, soccer and track athlete, that he would give him a support role in the district’s athletic program, Helms said.
Helms said Dylan prepared himself for the transplant, working out and gaining weight to get in the best physical shape.
In fact, when the call came that a match had been made — at 7:15 p.m. on Aug. 3 — he was in the weight room at the hotel. Whisked away by his mom without so much as a shower, Dylan was at the hospital within 45 minutes, Helms said, awaiting the arrival of the donated heart.
Helms, hosting a backyard cookout at the time, said he set off for Houston immediately when his wife got the call from Mondee, about 7:20 p.m.
“I had 25 people in my backyard, with a boneless ribeye roast on the grill,” he said. “I walked around the corner with tears in my eyes, got down on my knees and thanked God.”
Arriving in Houston at midnight, Helms said it seemed “fantasy-like” to be there as Dylan underwent the lifesaving surgery.
“It turned into reality against a backdrop of a mother up all night long for a different reason,” he said. “Out of tremendous sadness and crushing heartache, people made a gift that brought hope to Dylan’s mother.”
Dylan’s family doesn’t know the age or gender of the donor, Helms said, but is profoundly appreciative of the gift.
The new heart arrived at the hospital at 3:15 a.m. and took its first beat inside Dylan’s chest at 6:07 a.m., Helms said.
“In the waiting room it was great stuff,” he said. “It was going well, and there was relief in his mother’s eyes.”
Account established for donations
The ACA has established a banking account solely for the purpose of receiving financial contributions for the House of Hope project. Donations can be sent to: Aledo Children’s AdvoCats—House of Hope, P.O. Box 25, Aledo, Texas 76008. They may also be made online at aledoadvocats.com.
By Judy Sheridan
- Aledo ExtrA
SPRINGTOWN – After finding that a breaker manufactured by a company with a history of issues contributed to a house fire Friday, Parker County Fire Marshal Shawn Scott is urging Parker County residents with Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breakers to call an electrician and get them checked for safety.
Candidates have filed for city, school board elections
Filings for May 10 city and school board elections are now complete. A summary follows:
On the Aledo ISD school board incumbents David Davis, in Place 6, and Hoyt Harris, in Place 7, have both filed for re-election, each drawing one or more opponents. Farida Goderya has filed for Place 6, opposite Davis, and Riley Morrison and Debra Rogers have filed for Place 7, opposite Harris.
East Parker County Calendar of Events
The East Parker County Chamber of Commerce will welcome retired USAF SMSGT Vernon M. Anderson, Jr., senior technical instructor, Bell Helicopter, Integrated Operations Engineering Support Technical Training Department, as the key note speaker for the March 12 luncheon.
The Sunny Side
WILLOW PARK – Peppered with anecdotes from his stellar baseball career, former Texas Rangers catcher Jim Sundberg gave witness to his Christian faith and told how it changed his life before a crowd of about 200 at the recent annual Trinity Christian Academy dinner and fundraiser.
Aledo ISD approves suicide prevention program
The Aledo School Board approved the LifeLines Suicide Prevention Program in February, lining up with a recommendation from the Student Health Advisory Council, which has spent a year reviewing choices.
Aledo ISD could save up to $2 million
Expecting to save close to $2 million, Aledo ISD trustees recently voted to let district staff pull the trigger on a bank-qualified refunding of some of the district’s outstanding bonds once market conditions are optimum.
Don't feed the deer!
HUDSON OAKS — The city council recently passed an ordinance banning the feeding of deer.
Parker County Sheriff's Report Feb. 27-March 2
Burglary of a vehicle
Deputies were dispatched to the 300 block of James Street in Aledo shortly after 6 p.m. regarding the burglary of a vehicle.
ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Is it too early to start a vegetable garden?
Considering our winter temperatures this year, that’s a good question. When it comes to a successful vegetable garden, timing is everything. The goal in Texas is to have most of your vegetable crops mature before the temperatures soar in mid-summer.
EXTENSION NEWS: Getting more zzzs could help you lose some lbs.
We spend about one-third of our lifetime sleeping. Sleep is important for learning and memory. Sleep also helps our immune system to resist illness and disease, increases response times in emergencies, improves our mood and feelings of wellness and gives us the energy we need to be more active and alert.
- More Aledo ExtrA Headlines
- Breaker, breaker!