A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation (ABOH) is so grateful for all of the wonderful volunteers that support our mission. Each month the ABOH staff selects one volunteer that goes above and beyond and features them here. This month, we are proud to highlight Darby Hilgendorf as ABOH’s Volunteer of the Month!
My name is Darby Hilgendorf and I am a Hematology RN at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. My family and I have been participating in the A Breath of Hope Lung Run/Walk Twin Cities since 2014. We first heard about A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation in 2012 when our 51-year-old mom passed away from stage IV lung cancer after a courageous five-year battle. She was a nonsmoker, so we were glad to find an organization that is dedicated to raising awareness, but also to fighting the unkind and inaccurate stigma that is associated with lung cancer.
I choose to volunteer to support patients, families and friends while exploring their emotional connection to this deadly disease. As the years pass following the loss of a loved one, the amount of time spent talking about them lessens. Being part of this organization and sharing my story as I talk about my mom helps me understand that others empathize with my feelings. I appreciate connecting with others in the community A Breath of Hope has created. Each year I run/walk to support, remember and fight for increased awareness, funding and education so that the survival rate continues to increase!
From A Breath of Hope Staff:
Darby and her family have become “regulars” at the A Breath of Hope Lung Run/Walk Twin Cities – and we couldn’t be happier about that. Loss and grief don’t have a timeline or a limit, and we are happy they have found comfort in our community.
Darby came to us after losing her young mother to lung cancer. Darby has been an incredible advocate, participant and volunteer over the years and can usually be spotted at the early packet pickup, the day before the Twin Cities Lung Run/Walk or helping check in attendees the day of the race.
Her desire to share her experience and make a difference in the lives of people that are struggling with lung cancer is inspiring. She has a wonderful presence, a kind demeanor and is very approachable and easy to relate to. It’s people like Darby that keep A Breath of Hope alive and functioning efficiently. We rely on our incredible volunteers to keep coming back, keep participating and keep helping one another – and Darby does just that.
Thank you, Darby!
Learn more about volunteer opportunities with A Breath of Hope here.