In 2014, medical student Robert Bjerregaard worked with the University of Wisconsin Medical Student Association and the UW School of Pharmacy to hold the RAN Charity Ball in memory of Adam Nickel, a UW pharmacy student who passed away suddenly in 2008.
The event raised thousands of dollars to benefit DKMS – an organization Adam was passionate about. 100% of the funds raised at the event went directly to registering new potential bone marrow donors.
What does it feel like to volunteer?
I find volunteering to be fun and also a way to relieve stress. What I enjoy most about volunteering is interacting with people from my community. Volunteering is also a way for me to take my mind off of all other responsibilities, and be productive in a way completely separate from schoolwork.
Do you have any favorite quote or saying?
"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new" - Einstein
What motivates you to volunteer?
I have always believed you should treat others the way you want to be treated -- that is a big part of my motivation. A lot have things have gone my way in life, and that's not true for many people. If someone becomes very ill, they will probably support from friends and family, but sometimes that's not enough, especially in a case where a person needs a bone marrow donation from a perfect stranger in order to survive.
How do you utilize your talents for your volunteer work?
One of my strengths is teamwork, so working with others to plan events such as the RAN Charity Ball is the type of volunteer work to which I am drawn.
Do you have any advice for other individuals interested in volunteering?
Find something that you truly enjoy, and that way your "volunteer work" turns out to be no work at all. Also, any volunteer work that keeps you coming back on a weekly or monthly basis is fantastic, as it removes the barrier of finding and coordinating new volunteer activities – unless you're looking for even more ways to help your community!
Thank you, Robert!