Tuesday at Gilroy Rotary, The Long Riders gave a wonderful presentation. The Long Riders Hepatitis C Project was created by Vic Ferrari, a HCV survivor, Frank Collison, an actor, and Steven Ferrari, Vic’s brother. They will ride the entire 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail on horseback from Mexico to Canada. The mission of The Long Riders is to educate, inspire, and empower those who are suffering from Hepatitis C to get tested, treated and cured. They have partnered with the HCV community and formed an advisory board of Dennis Simon, the Founder and Secretary/Treasurer of the Hepatitis C Association and managing partner of Help.4.Hep, a non profit peer-to-peer help line with counselors; Ryan Clary, Executive Director, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHP); Wayne Gosbee, Founder, Linkage to Health, Inc. Emalie Huriaux, Direct of Federal & State Affairs for Project Inform. They’d like to raise funds to increase testing since 75 percent of patients don’t know they have the disease. They’ve created “Miles Per Test” program. Every mile ridden, they will raise funds to get 20 more people tested. Each test is $25 a test and their goal is 53,000 people. For more informationwww.longriders.org.
Friday the Gilroy Rotary brought in 92 people who registered for Be The Match bone marrow registry program at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the single largest Be the Match event in Northern California. The three days of the festival we brought in 300 people and almost 100 over last year’s total. Volunteers included Jaime Rosso, Evelia Rosso, Keith Higgins, Kersty Daniels, Michael Eichenbaum of CHS, Andy Garcia UC Berkeley, Victoria Corrales CHS, Be The Match advisor Amber Firestone.
While I was working the booth five Gilroy Unified School District employees came into sign up. With them was Dan McAuliffe, Maintenance & Operations Manager at the School District. They were passing the booth and Dan said, “Hey I know that organization, they saved my nephew’s life.” Then they saw GUSD School Board member Jaime Rosso, school board member who convinced them to sign up. His nephew, Jason Jones, a Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputy, suffered from Acute Myeloid Leukemia 2 years ago and received a bone marrow transplant through Be The Match. Just two days before I met Dan, Jason’s mom texted Dan a picture of the donor who lives in Germany. Her daughter had been searching social media for the recipient and found them! His nephew is now back to work just three months later and celebrated his second birthday since his bone marrow transplant, which marks the start of a new life.
That same day a woman came in who was a survivor of a bone marrow transplant and thanked each and every one of us for volunteering and saving lives. I didn’t get her name but know that she came from Southern California to attend the Festival. It was very heart warming and made us work harder to pull people in.