In His Own Words: Ryan Behling
Meet Ryan Behling from UW Carbone Cancer Center's Emerging Leadership Board (ELB)
How did you hear about the ELB? What attracted you to the idea of becoming involved?
My connection to UW Carbone Cancer Center has been strong for many years, being involved with Bowlin' for Colons. The creation of the ELB was a natural fit for me, as a community supporter and advocate for Carbone and its patients.
What's the last year been like in the group? How has the dynamic evolved? How have your connections with patients/researchers/clinicians/board members evolved?
The first few years of any board are a building exercise. We have finally created an infrastructure, goals, and a solid board member base to springboard our efforts. The group and its chairs have worked closely with Carbone's staff to see that this young leaders group emerges as a model for other philanthropic organizations and ultimately contributes to fundraising and advocacy goals of the organization.
My relationship with Carbone's staff and other board members has been one of unity and excitement. There is a lot of energy and compassion at both levels and integrating an important cause has given purpose to the efforts of both groups. The ELB is fortunate to have so many motivated and networked individuals willing to contribute their time to benefit current and future cancer patients and their families.
Talk about the relationships formed in the group. How has the social aspect impacted your participation?
Initially, I joined the ELB with the intention of specifically benefitting the cause, but over the last few years, my relationship with other board members has flourished. The ELB is composed of a diverse group of professionals sharing a common mission and a personal bond, that cancer has affected our lives. We all see that this disease is pervasive and touches each person in a different way and we realize that these struggles are what unite us. The ELB is a fun, positive and exciting group of now friends that I enjoy seeing at our meetings and throughout the year at various fundraising events for UW Carbone Cancer Center.
What's your link to cancer? How are you personally affected and how did that impact your decision to join the group/volunteer for ELB?
Cancer struck our family very closely with the passing of my mother from colon cancer in January 2006 and then the recent passing of my stepmother to breast cancer in July 2013. Additionally, many other close friends have battled cancer – only further validating the reason I joined the ELB – to pour time into an organization that tirelessly treats patients and focuses efforts on research to produce breakthroughs in treatment and medical advancements towards an end goal.
What's one thing you've learned that you didn't expect?
That UW Carbone Cancer Clinic is the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin and only one of roughly 40 centers in the United States to achieve this designation by National Cancer Institute.
Munich to Madison: Favorite part of the event? Describe the atmosphere?
Munich to Madison is a fun and social atmosphere to enjoy the presence of friends. This event is geared toward a younger population who recognizes the important role that our generation plays in the next phase of philanthropy. The entertaining conversation and camaraderie with friends is well worth the evening out to celebrate.
Granted, there's a limit to how many people in the actual board, but how do you see the group in general expanding? What do you think the future holds for the group?
The ELB will be a model for other organizations in Madison. Not only does the idea of developing tomorrow's leaders benefit Carbone but it will benefit our community at large. The ELB will become a community of individuals touched by cancer and will produce friendships that may be unexpected but lasting.