This Volunteer Chases Storms

He once advised an elementary school teacher against lining students near a certain hallway during a tornado drill. His “research” told him it was not the safest location.

During a radio interview at the city’s annual Penrod Arts Fair, he talked so much the on-air talent thought he was taking over her job.

And when he came to Riley Hospital at a year old to receive his mother’s kidney, he was one of the youngest patients to receive a transplant.

Meet Daniel Moore, 24, a volunteer at IU Health who makes his way through the hospitals with the aid of a white cane. “I’ve had a kidney transplant, I have Asperger’s syndrome, I only have 15% vision in my right eye and no vision in my left. When I come here, it’s like sitting at the kids’ table at Thanksgiving every day. I love it,” said Moore.

Two days a week – sometimes three - he helps sort paperwork in the transplant unit of IU Health University Hospital and assists in guest relations at IU Health Methodist Hospital.

“I’ve been coming here all my life as a patient,” said Daniel, who graduated from the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  “I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles to get where I am. Finding my way around the hospitals was the easy part. I even know the tunnels.”

Tunnels, garages, and elevators are some of Moore’s favorite places at IU Health. He once produced a YouTube video about the hospitals’ elevators. He’s also fascinated by the weather and follows storms – especially tornadoes – on his phone app.

“If a tornado is headed for the transplant unit, I’m getting everyone down to the basement,” said Moore. This is the same guy who told his first-grade teacher she needed to change up the routine when she lined students against a wall for a tornado drill.

He wears a shirt and tie to work every day – a look he acquired early in life.

Family members jokingly called him “Alex Keaton” referring to the fictional character on the 1980s comedy “Family Ties.” Michael J. Fox portrayed a conservative young man growing up with hippie parents.

“He’s his best advocate,” said his dad, Michael Moore. “In Kindergarten he memorized all the fire alarms and emergency exits in his school because he wasn’t going to depend on others for a quick escape.”

And by his dad’s account, Daniel Moore ended up as an IU Health volunteer because he “hounded them until they gave him a position,” said Michael Moore, laughing.  It was when he was taking the bus to and from his doctor’s appointments that Daniel heard over the intercom about an art therapy group. He went to the group and learned about volunteering. Now, working in guest relations, he helps recruit other volunteers.

“It’s the closest I will probably ever come to getting a job. Every day is fun here,” said Moore. “Volunteering at IU Health fits me like a glove.”

- T.J. Banes


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