When Dennis Lenz learned his wife had HD in 2015, he received lots of support from his local HD community, social worker and family. But at the end of the day, Dennis needed to know ‘how can I help?’.
“I need to feel like I am helping in some way,” says Dennis. “Volunteering gives me control over this disease. I don’t feel like I’m doing a whole lot, but I like to think that in the end it will help.”
Dennis is being modest, though, because he is doing a fair bit. He has taken on the project of bringing Niagara-based band, Eli and the Straw Man, to his city of Windsor, Ontario for a concert benefitting HSC. He is the lead event organizer in charge of scheduling team meetings, obtaining silent auction items and acting as the ‘happiness coordinator’.
“Everyone has their own ideas and opinions, but I just want to make sure everyone is happy,” says Dennis. “It means taking a step back to think ‘what can everyone get out of this?’ and making it happen.”
For Dennis, the realization that awareness needed to be raised came from when he talked to his former coworkers about the disease and no one knew what HD was.
While Dennis is busy in his personal life with work, his family, recently moving homes and completing renovations, he has found the time to give back.
“I think people are scared of the perceived time commitment that volunteering requires,” reflects Dennis. “But it doesn’t take as much time as people think! It is often a group effort so you have support. You just contribute and do what you can. Every little bit helps.”
In the end, Dennis contributes his need to volunteer to his love for his family.
“I needed to be more involved when it hit so close to home. I know if roles were reversed, [my wife] would be doing this for me.”
National Volunteer Week is April 15-21. We are taking the time to celebrate and thank all of our dedicated volunteers in the HD community! We appreciate the contributions of time and effort from all of our incredible volunteers.