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Hesburgh’s Heroes club raises funds for hospital

| Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hesburgh’s Heroes, a new campus club working in conjunction with nonprofit Andean Health and Development (AHD), has raised nearly $15,000 to benefit Hesburgh Hospital in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, according to club president and senior Jack McKeon.

“We’ve been raising a lot of money by selling t-shirts and koozies at family football tailgates,” McKeon said.

“Last year, we got the rights to Fr. Hesburgh’s name and face, which we were able to display prominently on the merchandise,” sophomore Nate McKeon, Jack McKeon’s brother and club vice president, added. “It’s definitely helped with sales. Everybody loves Fr. Hesburgh.”

Jack McKeon said the club also raised a significant amount of money by contacting and obtaining donations from Notre Dame alumni.

“We are currently in the process of consolidating the funds,” he said. “We plan to write a check, as a club, to donate to AHD.”

AHD was founded in 1996 by Dr. David Gaus, ’84, and Fr. Hesburgh with the goal of “providing sustainable, quality medical care today and training the rural health care leaders of tomorrow,” according to the AHD website. The organization opened its first hospital in 2000 in Pedro Vicente Maldonado, Ecuador and recently opened Hesburgh Hospital in Santo Domingo. The organization also trains local doctors in order to create self-sustainable health care systems.

The McKeon brothers travelled to Ecuador with the organization in the summer of 2013.

“After touring the hospitals and seeing all the good AHD was doing there, we were really moved to start Hesburgh’s Heroes and bring AHD to Notre Dame,” Nate McKeon said.

“Because the organization was founded by an ND alum with the guidance of Father Hesburgh, we felt it really needed a presence on campus,” Jack McKeon added.

The club hosted its first educational event last week, at which Dr. Gaus presented a lecture discussing the history of AHD and its goals.

“We have about 35 active club members right now, but we also just want to get the word out and spread the club’s mission across campus,” Nate McKeon said.

Next semester, Jack said the club plans to start a webinar series with AHD employees and host a bubble soccer fundraising tournament.

“AHD is currently raising money to build a replica Grotto on Hesburgh Hospital’s campus, which the locals are very excited about,” Jack McKeon said. “We want to direct our next donations to help with that project.”

“Hopefully, in the long term, we will be able to send club members to Ecuador,” Nate McKeon said.

Hesburgh’s Heroes club meetings are held once per month with the next metting schedule for Nov. 18 at 5:15 p.m. in B034 Geddes Hall.

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