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
Hitting the trail for MS
STEPHENVILLE – The Cowboy Capital MS Trail Ride is a fun-filled event dedicated to raising funds that support national research into the cause and cure for Multiple Sclerosis as well as provide programs to more than 9,000 people in the Lone Star Chapter area whose lives are touched by MS.
Parker County man killed in single-vehicle wreck
A 60-year-old Parker County man was killed around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in a one-vehicle crash in the 2100 block of FM Road 3325, also known as Farmer Road.
Aledo City Council Place 4 candidates for May 10 election
Early voting for the May 10 general election begins April 28. Following is some information gathered from the candidates for the Place 4 Aledo City Council seat. Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall is running for re-election unopposed.
Aledo City Council Place 2 candidates
Early voting for the May 10 general election begins April 28. Following is some information gathered from the candidates running for the Aledo City Council Place 2 seat. Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall is running for re-election unopposed.
USAF heroes to Ride for Heroes
The 12th annual Ride for Heroes bike ride this Saturday in Aledo will include some VIPs: members of the United States Air Force Cycling Team.
FM 5 intersection makeover
City of Willow Park officials were recently told that a planned reconstruction of the intersection of Interstate 20 frontage roads and FM Road 5 now has funding from the state and is moving ahead.
Bearcat Bootcamp holds successful fundraiser
Bearcat Bootcamp, an Aledo fitness organization, held its first 1-mile Fun Run and Back the Bearcats 5K race April 5.
Hearing held for Annetta Crime Control District
The Crime Control and Prevention District proposed for the Town of Annetta — which voters have the chance to accept or reject in the May 10 election — moved forward last week with an April 7 public hearing.
Candidate forums set for May 10 election
The East Parker County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee will host a Candidates’ Forum at 7 p.m. Monday, April 28, in the cafeteria of Trinity Christian Academy, 4954 East Interstate 20 Service Rd S, Willow Park.
Calendar of events
The East Parker County Genealogy and Historical Society invites all who are interested to join them for their monthly meeting and salad luncheon beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the Willow Park Community Center, Ranch House Rd. and Stage Coach Trail. The program will be a computerized photography collage of Parker County photos by Lorena Friddle, president of the Parker County Women’s and Newcomer’s Society, and a 1930s video of the El Chico Ranch in Willow Park donated by early resident Bob Rothel. The video was made when his father was the ranch foreman. If time allows there will be a showing of an 1920s movie of Aledo donated by the King family.
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