Earlier this month, Ashley Gorecki toured Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. While there had been many changes in the years since she had last walked those halls, the place still held a special place in her heart. She lives in a different state now, but she's never forgotten the hospital that saved her life.
When she was four years old, Gorecki spent 18 weeks with doctors scrambling to diagnose her affliction. As her condition worsened, doctors finally discovered that she had a condition called Septic Arthritic Hip and sent her in for immediate surgery. She doesn't remember much from that time, not the surgery or much more than bits and pieces from the recovery. However, she treasures memories of the time she spent playing in the halls of the hospital, riding around with her mother, and the view of the sunny sands and beaches from the play area on the rooftop. Above all, Goreck recalls the care she received from the doctors at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. With their help, she was able to endure and thrive in the hospital following her surgery, the time she spent under the care of an at-home nurse, and wearing the "dolphin box" - an IV pack that made squeaking noises.
"I was a sick kid," she explained, "but I was still able to be a kid."
Life has taken Gorecki interesting places. She now works as a graphic designer and uses her spare time to create arts and crafts. She felt inspired by her grandmother, a skilled seamstress that left her in awe. Under the tutelage of her grandmother, she learned the ins and outs of sewing machines and learned how to crochet from her aunt. Her mother passed on her enthusiasm for crafting by handmaking the majority of their Christmas ornaments as well as a passion for painting. In high school, she picked up photography, a skill that has stuck with her ever since. All of that has now come together in a brand called A Hare Affair, a handmade crafting circle that aims to pass on a bit of Gorecki's passion to the rest of the world. She does this through her Twitch channel where she streams her artistic endeavors and brings other crafters together from across the planet.
"I was raised by a mother who never stopped giving, even if it was all she had. As I got older, I continued to want to do something for the hospital that helped my family so much," says Gorecki. "We watched all the telethons while I was growing up and I had grand plans for doing something to help other kids who are going through what I went through." That attitude brought her to a place where she uses her platform as a crafting livestreamer to raise money for Extra Life. So far, under her streamer name, AHareAffair, Gorecki has raised almost $4,500 for the kids at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. In 2019 alone, she's sitting at an incredible $2,815 as the captain of her Extra Life team, The Carrot Patch!
You can support Gorecki and the kids at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital by donating to her AHareAffair Extra Life fundraiser.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart, the tip of my crochet hook, and from the big dent in my left hip! Let’s do something good together!" - Ashley Gorecki
Remember, you can be a hero like Ashley by signing up for Extra Life today and helping sick and injured kids in hospitals across the US and Canada!