The Volunteer’s Secret

Sometime back I was wondering what is the secret to volunteering? What is it that one thing which if organisations and volunteers can identify one would never really need to “promote” volunteering. It would just be a part of our life.

During my travels in the last two months, I asked this question to many people – Why do you volunteer? I got the usual responses – I like to give back; I like to contribute in the local community; it helps me meet new people; I do it for the smiles 🙂 and many more. But now that I think back, I realise I got the answer to this secret right at the beginning of the two months when I ran in the Dash for Donors on 13th April.

the secret to volunteering, the volunteer's secret
Emotions ran high as people volunteered with and for their loved ones!

I still remember what Gazala had shared the first time she ran for dash for donors last year. She had just started running and until the dash for donors every run was about improving her timing; but not this one. This one was not for her, but for the three angels who gave her nephew Shaahed a new life. It was to honor them and all other organ donors.

She had also found “Team Shaahed”  so that everyone close to Shaahed can come together to raise awareness and funds for organ donation. When she talks about organ donation, she talks from her heart. She doesn’t need any preparation or any statistics; she experienced it. This year I was lucky to be there in Philadelphia on the day of the run and for the first time I experienced the emotions behind Team Shaahed. And not just Team Shaahed, Garry’s Gift, Joshua’s Legacy, Maddie’s Mob, Papa Joe’s crew and every other Team that was running and that was organising. It was a rush of emotions. No-one there was because they wanted to give back or they wanted to meet new people or they wanted to contribute to the society! They were there because their heart was in it. Because they were doing it for their loved ones or the loved ones of someone they knew…

“Today I ran the most meaningful 10 K race…..I ran in honor of my nephew Shaahed and the three organ donors who gave him the gift of life. One of the many things that Shaahed’s ordeal has taught me is perseverance in life and today I could see that in my run too….I crossed the finished line in under an hour. In that hour I relived the pain, agony and helplessness of the time when Shaahed was on the transplant list, remembered the exhilaration of when they got the call, remembered the desperation of the first failed transplant, remembered loosing hope when the second transplant did not go well and smiled as I thought about what what the doctors had said after the third transplant… Third time is a charm!! Every mile I ran, I ran with my heart today and so this run will always be very special to me…”      
– Gazala

How beautiful it would be if we all could find that one cause close to our heart and then volunteering for it will never seem like something for which we have to take time out of.

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