In my life, I have only volunteered a handful of times. I volunteered walking dogs and selling pop at local BBQs for my high school hours and on my own with Big Brothers Big Sisters because I loved the cause and wanted the free t-shirt.
Every time I volunteered, I was getting something in return.
Working at the Huntington Society of Canada (HSC), I’ve met so many selfless volunteers who dedicate large chunks of their time to plan, execute and debrief some amazing fundraisers.
Volunteers are the real heroes in my eyes. And here’s why.
At HSC, we have at least one local Chapter in almost every province across Canada. All of these Chapters are entirely volunteer driven. Chapters consist of 5-20 and sometimes more members who meet regularly, discuss strategies in event planning and execute multiple different fundraisers over the course of the year. These fundraisers raise thousands and thousands of dollars for research and support services across Canada.
In case you don’t know, Huntington disease (HD) is an inherited brain disorder. HD causes cells in the brain to die resulting in difficulty controlling movements, recalling events, making decisions and controlling emotions. The disease leads to incapacitation and eventually death.
HD is a genetic disorder so each child of a parent with HD has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. Symptoms typically begin to show around ages 30 to 50 and progress rapidly in a period of 10-15 years. The disease can also appear in children, known as Juvenile Huntington disease.
So imagine either having HD in your family, being at risk of having HD or starting to show symptoms of HD and planning multiple fundraising events a year. The reality is, many of our lovely, incredible volunteers have HD, are at risk or know someone close to them who does.
Yet they still take time from their busy, crazy lives to give back, stand up and volunteer on a regular basis. Although many have a personal connection to the cause that drives them to volunteer, they are not required to do all of or any of the work that they do.
April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week in Canada, and it has had me thinking a lot lately about how truly incredible, selfless and driven some of the HSC volunteers I have the pleasure to talk with across Canada every day really are. In particular, there are 4 volunteers who have been profiled on the website for their unique stories. I really hope you do go read those stories, just to see how incredible these people really are for overcoming HD obstacles and still pushing to make a difference in their community.
Every day, a lot of us wake up, do our morning routine, go to work, come home, do our night routine and go to bed just to wake up and do it all over again. Those few, amazing people in the world who have the ability to see past their lives, their schedules and their needs to donate their time for a better cause are the real heroes every day. I will not pretend to be one of them, but I will say I admire those who are this way and aspire to be like them.
Thank you to not only the incredible HSC volunteers, but all volunteers.
This week is for you.
Visit the HSC website to learn more about Huntington disease.
Until next time,