“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” —Greek proverb
At Children's Wisconsin, we often think of that saying when we think of our Guardian readers. You have a real vision for the world you want to help create for future generations of children.
Brian Warnecke is one who delights in planting those trees, investing in a time we may never see. Brian chose to include Children’s Research Institute in his estate plan, to help doctors solve the riddles that currently prevent sick children from healing, or surviving. Brian’s relationship with Children's Wisconsin came about through his volunteer work at the Ronald McDonald House. Some 20 years ago, Brian’s supervisor suggested he take advantage of his company’s volunteer program, giving back to the community during work hours. “That changed my thinking about volunteering,” Brian says. “I realized that you just build it into your schedule.”
Brian’s assignment was to drive the van that shuttles families to and from the hospital, and he quickly got to know some of the kids being treated at Children’s for complex conditions. He met kids like Nicholas Volker, whose baffling illness led doctors at Children's Wisconsin to sequence his DNA in search of answers. It was the first time doctors had done that, and it made headlines around the world.
Brian was inspired, and started asking questions about research taking place at Children’s. When he met Martin J. Hessner, PhD., who is trying to cure childhood diabetes, Brian’s decision was made. “Hearing more about research convinced me this is where the money’s got to go,” he says. “We’ve got to find solutions to childhood diseases.”
Brian tells us that it was easy to make the arrangements, and he recommends that other would-be donors talk with their financial advisor or estate attorney for direction. He also tells us that his gift comes with a built-in sense of satisfaction: “It makes me feel secure in the knowledge that I am going to leave something behind that benefits everyone, particularly kids. There’s satisfaction that it’s done—my wishes are going to come true sometime in the future. When I am gone, I can’t volunteer anymore, but I can help this way.” Brian’s original good deed has evolved into decades of service and a meaningful legacy.