Retired teacher Bob Wollenberg received a double lung transplant on February 19, 2016. During his 36 years as a public school teacher, drama director and coach in Boyne City, Michigan, Bob made a difference in the lives of countless children and young adults. When his family began fundraising with Help Hope Live in December 2015, his community finally had the opportunity to give back to the man who had given them so much. Bob explains how accepting community support has impacted his life.
“You were a guiding influence, and I thank you for that.” -Former Student
I always tried to treat my students as individuals, not just as another student in a class. Now, they are paying it forward to me.
“Thank you for your years of dedication to the community and to the children of Boyne City.” -Community Member
There is no way that my wife, Jackie, and I could have weathered the storm of bills without my friends and past students helping out. There are so many hidden costs that insurance doesn’t cover. I live in northern Michigan; driving down to Chicago to take part in a specific lung transplant program is crucial to help me maintain my health and secure a transplant. The mileage, gas and travel costs alone for those trips are a huge expense. My Help Hope Live campaign is helping me pay for all of this!
“I am forever grateful to B.W. for inspiring me to become a more creative, confident and dynamic person.” -Former Student
My donors have helped both monetarily and emotionally–community support has become a huge part of my lung transplant journey. I have heard from so many past students. It’s incredible. Some of my Help Hope Live contributors go all the way back to 1972 when I first started teaching and coaching. I keep thinking about the number of times I gave students lunch money because I knew they didn’t have any and would skip lunch without it. As much as I could, I helped. Now, those same students are “buying my lunch,” so to speak. We have helped each other.
“I have fantastic memories of my time as your student.” -Former Student
My online donation page helped me to communicate with all my donors. Reading guestbook comments on my Help Hope Live page, especially comments from my former students, has been a heartwarming experience. You never really know how much you impact a student until years later when you hear from them. It just makes your teaching career worth it in every respect. Many friends and students wrote in and I was able to write updates on my page to respond to their comments. My Help Hope Live campaign is clear, easy to use and just what I needed.
“This man changed my life and showed me parts of the world that I might never have seen without him. He gave us his all.” -Former Student
One of my top literature students from the past, who became a professional writer, sold a copy of “To Kill A Mockingbird” that he had signed and donated the money (to Help Hope Live) in my honor. He said, “I owe my writing and love of literature to Mr. Wo.” How wonderful is that!
“You gave a small town girl a chance to experience culture and a safe place to be herself. This is the least I can do for you.” -Former Student
At first, I was reluctant to ask for help. I thought people would look down on me for asking. I was totally wrong. My community has been incredible. They have supported me in such a big way. When I was feeling uneasy about asking for help, someone in my community said to me, “If I needed help, would you help me in any way you could afford?” My answer was, “Of course.” I had not looked at it from his perspective until then. I absolutely suggest working with Help Hope Live and getting in touch with people in your home community.
Bob and his family fundraise with Help Hope Live for travel, relocation, co-pays, lab costs and other transplant-related expenses. Want to rally your own community to fundraise for your medical and related expenses? Start your own fundraising journey today.Written by Emily Progin