He is young. Articulate. Caring. He’s building his place in corporate Calgary and he’s charting his path with philanthropy at the core of all he does. Des Nwaerondu gives. Back and forwards and up and down. Des is a young man committed to making a difference — in business, in life and in the world. I met him for the first time earlier this year when, after hearing my talk at TEDxCalgary, he emailed to ask if I’d have coffee with him. From that simple cup of coffee, we both came away inspired. Des has gone on to get involved with the United Way of Calgary’s BeCause campaign and continues to look for ways to ‘give back’. I’ve continued to write every day about making a difference and today, Des shares a touching story of what lit his ‘volunteer fire’ and inspires us with ways to get our fires burning brightly.
Because, as Des invites us all to make a difference, there is power when we unite as one and become the difference we want to see in the world.
Thank you Des for sharing your spirit here with such grace and ease. Thank you for all you do to make a world of difference!
Spread Like Wildfire
Being a positive and optimistic person can be contagious and spread like wildfire to all of those around you. I strive daily to take the “glass is half full” approach which, I know makes a difference in people’s lives. One of the main ways I portray this is through volunteering. I encourage everyone to get involved in volunteering because not only will you do it, you will get others involved and your energy, initiative and liveliness will be contagious and hopefully spread like wildfire.
One of my business (and personal) goals this year is to put in over 200 volunteer hours at various organizations around Calgary and around the world. I’m almost a quarter of the way to my goal currently and expecting a majority of my hours to come from a two week trip in November building homes with Habitat for Humanity in Thailand and giving back to those living in a less fortunate circumstance than many of us.
When Louise first started her Year of Making a Difference blog I was sceptical that she could find something to write about daily, but I liked the challenge she set for herself and began reading along. I realized that making a difference occurs daily and you just have to take a second and look back at what you’ve done. In reading Louise’s articles, you’ll notice that things as simple as driving someone who needed a ride, giving career advice to someone who was looking to apply for a job or simply picking up a piece of garbage has and will continue to change the way the world turns and make a difference. In reading her blog I began to think about what I am doing to change the world and how my positive actions can help foster a culture that is focused on giving more than receiving.
My “inner fire” in volunteering started after a friend’s brother passed away from cancer at the age of 19. It was a hard time for both her and her family and it resonated with me, a very naive 20-year old. I thought, what would happen if this was me? The remarkable story is that this young man, Daniel, continued to live his life to the fullest every day that he was alive and never let his cancer get him down (or at least he didn’t show it). His funeral was a celebration of his life and the difference he made in over 500 lives of people that attended. The fire in me started on that day and continues to burn stronger and stronger every day. It has gotten me involved in events like: The Relay for Life, The Underwear Affair Run & Walk, Breast Cancer fundraisers, Kid’s Cancer fundraisers and 2 years ago I started my own fundraiser named Des Fights Cancer. This annual event I host is a night dedicated to raising money towards cancer research and raising awareness that cancer can be fought and protection can be purchased to reduce the financial burden of those distressed by cancer.
In the numerous fundraisers I participate in, volunteer for or host throughout the year I’ve noticed one thing. The more I talk about them, the more people want to become involved, participate, donate or simply give back. People often ask me “what’s the next event you’ll be involved with and how can I help?” The small wildfire within me continues to spread to my friends, family, colleagues and even those who I barely know through social media.
- Decide what you are going to do to change this city.
- Do what you said you would do.
- Then, tell others what you have done.
If you have that fire burning within you, let it spread and let’s all unite as one and make an impact on not only this city, but let’s make a difference in this world!