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
Christmas Tyme in Aledo rescheduled
Due to the wintry weather predicted for the area, Aledo city officials have decided to postpone Christmas Tyme in Aledo from Saturday, Dec. 7, to Saturday, Dec. 14. The event will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with most activities centered in the historic downtown area.
Aledo ISD playoff game cancelled
The Aledo Bearcat AAAA Divison II State Quarter Final football playoff game set for tonight, Thursday, Dec. 5, has been cancelled due to weather conditions.
All-district volleyball - Classes 5A-4A-3A
Parker County volleyball polished off another stellar district-play year in November. The counties’ schools netted two outright district titles, a district co-champion, a district runner-up and a playoff-qualifying third-place finisher.
Celebrity cutters lined up for Friday’s Careity benefit
For more than a decade now, one event has served as a big help for the Careity Foundation in terms of funds and donations.
The National Weather Service in Fort Worth has issued a winter storm warning for freezing rain and sleet across North and West Texas, including Parker County, for the period 6 p.m. Thursday through 6 p.m. Friday.
Bearcats to encounter Coyotes, wintry threat
Aledo vs. Wichita Falls High
Time: 6 p.m., Thursday
Site: Northwest ISD Stadium — 18501 Hwy 114, Justin
Type: Class 4A, Division II, Quarterfinal (Region I final)
Last year: Did not play
Aledo ISD football playoff game rescheduled
The Aledo ISD AAAA Divison II State Quarter Final Football Playoff game has been rescheduled to Thursday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m.
Hancock runs in Thanksgiving Trot
Heart transplant recipient and teen Dylan Hancock, who will receive the proceeds from this year's Thanksgiving Trot for a new home, ran in the 1-mile event in the Aledo area on Thanksgiving Day alongside mentor and friend Rob Helms.
Parker County jail facility under discussion
Community Education Centers, the company Parker County contracts with to manage the Parker County Jail, has offered to build a work-release low-security jail facility for the county free of charge.
Parker County earthquake tally rises
Two more minor earthquakes rattled northeast Parker County Tuesday, Nov. 26, bringing the total number of earthquakes last month to 17.
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