Many of our volunteers are students who join the BRIGHT Run to earn the community service hours required to graduate from high school. We wanted to find out what some of them are up to now and what they think of the BRIGHT experience.

Meet Roma Dhamanskar, who got involved in the BRIGHT Run about 10 years ago through her mom, a radiologist at the Juravinski Hospital. Roma is now pursuing a Master’s degree in the United States.

Where are you now?

I am a Master of Bioethics student at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA (USA). I am in the first year of my program.  

Why/how did you originally get involved with BRIGHT Run?

I got involved with BRIGHT Run because my mother is a radiologist at Juravinski Hospital and has her own fundraising team, which I was very excited to be a part of. When I first came to Bright Run (in 2010 I believe) I found the experience so fun, uplifting, and heart-warming.

While there were lots of fun activities, I could tell that the heart of this fundraiser was about fighting back – against breast cancer -and giving back to our community. I was pleased to know that this was a local charity and that any funds raised would go towards research in Hamilton, Ontario.

After that, I knew I had to volunteer with BRIGHT Run and did so the very next year. And as they say, the rest was history! I did all my community service hours for high school with BRIGHT Run and continued to volunteer for almost 10 consecutive years until I had to leave for school. 

If you could summarize your BRIGHT Run experience in one word, what would it be?

Transforming. BRIGHT Run taught me values such as compassion and strength and skills such as effective communication and perseverance during my most formative years. 

How would you describe your BRIGHT Run experience to a Grade 9 student who is looking for volunteer hours?

I have recommended volunteering with BRIGHT Run to many kids of family and friends who are in high school. I have heard great feedback from a few of them who decided to volunteer with BRIGHT Run, all of whom had a very positive experience.

Whenever I suggest BRIGHT Run, I am sure to mention the great community and camaraderie between volunteers that makes the experience so much more fun. When I was younger, I always had a more experienced volunteer guiding me and any member of the volunteer team was happy to help me out.

I also tell future volunteers about how satisfying it is to fundraise for BRIGHT Run, as you can see the fruits of your labour on run day. It is always amazing to see it all come together as everyone arrives in their pink shirts ready to have an amazing BRIGHT Run, rain or shine (and statistically speaking, probably rain lol!)

Finally, I am sure to describe the lifelong skills that BRIGHT Run has helped me develop — leadership, tenacity, teamwork, compassion, and a fervor to help my local community that is still strong today.