Meet Ton Hagenbeek, our May volunteer of the month
Anton Hagenbeek began as EHA Volunteer when EHA was only starting out. Below you will read more about his motivations and invites fresh blood to support the organization.
- What do you currently do for EHA and when did you start?
I started my volunteer work for EHA at the time the Association was established. Thus... many years ago. My first official task was serving EHA for nine years as a member of the Board, including seven years as treasurer in the Executive Board.
Fun to help mature the organization under a couple of presidents in an efficient team! After that I had the privilege to chair the EHA Communication Committee, one of the major tasks was to prepare and chair the Press Briefings at our Annual Congresses.
Again, perfect collaboration with staff members of the EHA Office was the key to success. In the meantime, I served as Congress President of the 2nd Amsterdam Annual Meeting, a function that does not exist anymore. This gave me a lot of satisfaction, working with a most devoted team, and I learned a lot!
As time passed, I also became a member of the European Affairs Committee with a focus on my chairmanship - and the many projects related to this timely topic - of the EHA Task Force Fair Pricing, interacting with a variety of stakeholders.
May I refer to our position papers on this subject in HemaSphere. Furthermore, as a lymphomaniac, I am actively participating - as a speaker - in EHA Tutorials in Europe, Asia and South America and exploring with the EHA Global Outreach Committee, how we as EHA can be of practical help in supporting Hematology / care for patients in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Finally, it was, and still is a great pleasure to work during the past years with young hematologists as (former) Program Director of CRTH (Clinical Research Training in Hematology).
- How did you become a volunteer? Who helped/encouraged you to become one?
Bob Lowenberg, my friend and colleague in Rotterdam for many years and one of the founders of EHA, stimulated me to become a member of the EHA family and embark on different projects. I have seen the Association grow from the small office in Rotterdam to a most professional organization with our headquarter in The Hague.
- What does volunteering for EHA give you/do to you?
To be an EHA volunteer for me has everything to do with intrinsic motivation. As a hematologist, EHA has offered me a great "micro-environment" to promote hematology in a variety of aspects across borders, in addition to my daily core business, dealing with patient care, laboratory - and clinical research, teaching to medical students and management in my own University Medical Center, until my retirement six years ago.
As I have more time now, it keeps me sharp to stay involved in volunteering projects within the EHA framework. Since I had the privilege to be a pupil of the school of Prof. Dirk van Bekkum, together with many others like Bob Lowenberg, Pieter Sonneveld, Peter Hoogerbrugge, etc., it goes without saying that I will continue contributing to this most exciting area of hematology as long as this is welcomed.
- What would you say to others who would like to volunteer for EHA as well?
To my (younger) colleagues who have not yet tasted what volunteering for EHA brings about, I would just say: try it and let me know how it feels!
EHA is a Public Benefit Organization under Dutch law. This means that at least 90% of our efforts are focused on the general good, and profits generated from our activities are solely invested in projects and programs for the benefit of the hematology community. It also means that volunteers are driving our programs and do not receive any salary or financial compensation. These volunteers range from board members to committee members, case writers, external reviewers. Altogether they work for ‘the good cause’ by sharing their knowledge and experience in the broad range of projects and programs EHA is doing. All aimed at lifting hematology to the next level.