Gov. Larry Hogan entered a Baltimore hospital Sunday for his second round of chemotherapy treatment, as well-wishers prayed, sang and left him handwritten notes during a Harford County vigil that organizers pledged to repeat around the state.
The hourlong vigil at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air came after Hogan, who is battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, was admitted to University of Maryland Medical Center, aides said. His first round of chemotherapy lasted five days.
"Governor Hogan is so very grateful for the love and support he has received from Marylanders," spokeswoman Erin Montgomery said Sunday. "Their prayers and get-well wishes mean the world to him and his family."
About 100 attendees at the vigil prayed, sang "America the Beautiful" and listened to a keyboard rendition of "Amazing Grace." Some left Hogan notes on brightly colored cards that they deposited in a basket to be delivered to the governor.
"Guv," one well-wisher wrote. "Praying with you and for you. All things are possible!"
Another said: "I am praying for you and your family. I am a living witness of the power of God's supernatural healing."
Another supporter left a shiny red pair of Everlast boxing gloves — symbolic of the governor's fight — that were signed by elected officials and others. "You are not alone," somebody wrote in bold ink on one of the gloves.
"Father, I know this afternoon he's getting his second round," said Del. Ric Metzgar, the Baltimore County Republican who organized the vigil. "But, Father, I ask in that hospital room that you dispense the healing angels in that room, Father, that he'll feel your presence from the very crown of his head to the soles of his feet."
Nicolee Ambrose, the Republican National Committeewoman for Maryland, saw Hogan at an event on Kent Island recently.
"He came across as very strong," Ambrose said. "He seemed like he kind of had a vision and a plan for handling this."
Ambrose, who holds two degrees in music, led the audience in singing "America the Beautiful."
Hogan was represented at the event by David Craig, his secretary of planning.
Similar vigils have been held in Annapolis and Towson, and organizers said they planned many more, including one in Charles County on Aug. 18.
"Del. Metzgar's idea is to hit all 24 jurisdictions in the state," Ambrose said.
Hogan has Stage 3 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. During his first round of chemotherapy, he worked from his hospital room. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford filled in for the governor for some official duties and public appearances.
Hogan said Friday he expected the logistics to work the same this time.
"I'll be in for four or five days, have some fun in the hospital, knock out some work and get back to the grind again," he said.
Metzgar told the audience the idea for the vigils came to him almost as soon as he heard about Hogan's diagnosis last month.
"I was watching the newscast with everyone else," Metzgar said. "I stood there and I said to myself, 'We need to pray now.' It's as though the spirit of the Lord fell on me and said we need to do them all over the state. Within an hour Sen. [Johnny Ray] Salling and I just came together."
Salling, also a Baltimore County Republican, participated Sunday.
"We love our governor," he said at the event. "We know he can be healed through this."
The event was a blend of the spiritual and the patriotic. It included a moment of silence for the five service members killed in the attacks Thursday in Tennessee.
Metzgar said the vigils are not political.
"There are no rally signs," he said in an interview. "Cancer has no 'D' or 'R' behind it."
Hogan backers have launched an effort to sell wristbands and other merchandise with the "Hogan Strong" slogan. The proceeds benefit cancer- and health-related charities.
Some in attendance Sunday sported the lime-green wristbands.
Hogan Strong said Monday that it has sold more than 4,000 bracelets — its most popular item, said spokeswoman Allison Meyers, a Republican fundraiser who worked on his election campaign last year.