Giving Back — Just Because He Can

Dennis Wisniewski

Dennis Wisniewski's gift ensures his support for Children's will continue for years to come.

When asked to pick his favorite volunteer experience for Children's Wisconsin, Guardian Society member Dennis Wisniewski has many to choose from. But he is quick to name the Children's Champion breakfast at Briggs & Al's Run & Walk, where hundreds of current and former patients gather before the big event.

"It is hands down the absolute best," he said. "So many families come that day because of what Children's did for them. It's like they're paying it forward."

Paying it forward is what Dennis intended when he approached the foundation about volunteer opportunities in 2007, just before he retired from his 30-year career as a mechanical drawing and woodworking teacher. "I look at my life, and I've been pretty blessed," he said. "If I'm able to give back, that's what I'm going to do."

Also at the back of his mind were former students who had been patients at Children's, especially two boys who ultimately lost their battles with cancer.

After years of volunteering at various foundation events, including Children's in his estate plan in 2014, "just seemed like the right thing to do," Dennis said.

Over time, Dennis's appreciation for all that Children's does, big and small, has only grown. During a hospital tour in 2016, he was moved when he saw a young patient wheeled down the hallway—not in a wheelchair, but in a little red wagon.

"That stuck with me," he said. "I wouldn't have thought to do that, but it made so much sense! Kids need to be treated differently."

For Dennis, getting involved with Children's has been a deeply rewarding way to make an impact. "No matter what I do for Children's," he said, "I always feel like I get more out of it than I put in."

To learn more about ways you can make an impact at Children's, like Dennis, contact Kelly Sachse at (414) 266-6121 or ksachse@chw.org .