Volunteer Spotlight: The Maryland ACHD Walkers

Posted Wednesday, Jun 16, 2021

A Q&A with Team Captain Kelly DiMaggio, and Dr. Stacy Fisher, Director of the ACHD Program at the University of Maryland Medical System.

(The Maryland ACHD Walkers are the largest medical center team to walk for 1 in 100 nationwide. In 2019, they raised more than $11,000.)

Q: Why do you participate in Walk for 1 in 100?

A (Kelly): I participate in the Walk for 1 in 100 for many reasons. The walk, and ACHA itself, represent hope for all CHD patients—particularly those who are part of the first generation paving the way into adulthood. What better way to raise funds, spread awareness, and celebrate this amazing community than by all coming together for a fun (and healthy!) day?!

A (Dr. Fisher): I participate in the walk and support ACHA to help people understand the success and challenges faced by each individual survivor and to provide larger community engagement to support individuals, providers, and researchers.


Q: What is your favorite part of Walk day?

A (Kelly): We look forward to this day each and every year! We have friends come in from out of town, and as their families grow, we get to teach their kids about CHD from an early age! Our team is made up of our adults with CHD support group and their loved ones. We are all united by our incredible cardiologist! We are truly a special community and it’s so wonderful to get to share this day together. 


Q: Why do you think it is important for ACHD centers to participate in Walk for 1 in 100?

A (Dr. Fisher): Collaboration is how care for this community improves and how people with unique challenges have the best outcomes. ACHA and the Walk for 1 in 100 bring together providers and patients, fostering opportunities for collaborative endeavors.


Q: What fundraising tips could you share with others?

A (Kelly): Here are my fundraising tips: 

  1. Utilize social media.
  2. Share your personal story.
  3. Recruit your friends and family to help spread the word and fundraise on your behalf! The more people you can reach the better!
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for donations.


Q: What advice could you give on how to build a successful Walk team?

A (Kelly): Make it an annual event! The walk serves as one of our four quarterly ACHD patient support group meetings! Be sure to send the date out to your team members as soon as you have it! And, introduce some friendly competition. Each year we have a t-shirt design contest. The winning design goes on our team’s walk day shirts. Finally, use your voice and all of your platforms to spread the word and encourage people to join you.