What Leadership Is To Me
Recently Hutchinson Ambassador and Bring It Home Committee Member Brian Renner posted a remarkable story on Facebook. Someone who had signed up for Be The Match at his son Carter’s 2016 Benefit had received a call telling them they were a match to someone who needed a bone marrow transplant in the United States.
Maybe you know the story behind the Renner Family’s battle with cancer last year, maybe you don’t…… the middle part of the story is a one of a family battling through juvenile cancer, the ups and downs of test results, waiting, waiting and more waiting, battles of endurance, juggling the needs of Carter’s three siblings, the demands of full time careers, and more waiting. I am going to tell you more of the story….
Dawn Renner (insert SuperMom music here) began the Hutchinson Leadership Institute in the fall of 2015. Shortly after the beginning of class, like a WEEK later, the Renner’s had received the news Carter was going to be battling cancer and needed in-depth treatment and the family would be constantly at his side in Minneapolis. Dawn and her family knew she would need to withdraw from the class. The Leadership class was of course saddened to lose someone from the class who had already built relationships and nicknames with. The class moved on, sending special thoughts and prayers to Dawn periodically. Half way through the year, the class is divided into Project Groups. Each group reviews community needs, evaluate projects to strengthen the community and provide community service experience in a variety of community topics. ie: education, park & rec, civic, non-profit, etc.
Here’s where our Group Projects took a turn….. one group was anxious to help their past classmate… “What if we connected with Be The Match and did a bone marrow donor drive?” From there, they ran with it. They did not stop at one, no… they did a blood drive and donor drive at the mall, then coordinated with Carter’s Benefit Committee and set up a donor drive there as well. They went through training to take samples, provide information and walk potential donors through the paper work. I remember many of us also writing notes to the anonymous donor from Germany, thanking them for their selflessness. The group worked with passion to help someone, anyone, if nothing else, honor Dawn and her family’s tireless battle.
Now just a little more than a year later…. That drive, that one idea may have saved the life of another person, and perhaps more in the future. That group project may have brought another family peace and health.
Sometimes leadership isn’t guiding others to see fruits of your labor today, it can be a faith-filled choice to know you might be doing something with a ripple affect farther into the future.
I of course love the idea of this “Hutchinson Leadership Institute, we build community and save lives.” Even if we aren’t saving lives, we are building community and I can tell you, that class will never forget the lessons learned because of one family’s diagnosis of cancer. We are Community. We are Hutchinson.
Post Notes: Today Carter is home, doing well, finished sixth grade and is enjoying a summer filled with his favorite activities with no limitations.
Dawn Renner Graduated the Hutchinson Leadership Institute on May 17, 2017.