Striking Out Childhood Cancer

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We had a ball fighting childhood cancer!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 2017 Striking Out Childhood Cancer fundraising event presented by Northwestern Mutual.  The 3nd annual event was held on October 22nd in Petaluma, and was in honor of what would have been childhood cancer hero C.J. Banaszek’s 17th birthday. Over 225 guests came together for an afternoon of bowling followed by an evening of mixing and mingling at the dinner and auction.  

It was a memorable and meaningful event that raised over $150,000 for childhood cancer research. 

In addition to the delicious food and fabulous auctions, Dr. Mignon Loh, Division Chief of Hematology Oncology at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital spoke about the importance of clinical trials and how funding from ALSF has helped her work.

A huge thank you goes out to the attendees and volunteers that made this all possible!

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About C.J. Banaszek

C.J. was a warm, happy and popular boy. He was quiet, yet he was a powerful leader with a magnetism that drew in kids and adults alike. He had a way of making everyone around him feel good about themselves. 

C.J. was 11 years old when he had a nosebleed that wouldn't stop. His mom took him to the emergency room, where a doctor with a hunch took a blood test that revealed that C.J. had chronic mylogenous leukemia. After he was diagnosed, C.J. had a successful bone marrow transplant, but he relapsed two months later.  He went on to have two more transplants and spent eight and a half months in the hospital. 

He finally defeated his leukemia, but passed away in July of 2014 from a fungal infection acquired during treatment.

C.J.’s mom, Heather, hopes that leukemia treatments improve so that no child has to go through a bone marrow transplant, and, of course, that there can be a cure for cancer. She advises other parents whose children have recently received a cancer diagnosis to “stay positive and take it one day at a time. Be like Dori from Finding Nemo and ‘just keep swimming.’” C.J. faced his illness with incredible strength, a smile on his face and a sense of humor. He fought an epic battle and continued to be concerned for the wellbeing of those around him.

His mother has become involved with ALSF in order to help other children affected by cancer and honor C.J.’s life. Hero Quote: "I am a warrior. I've been fighting leukemia for over a year and I haven't given up, lost my sense of hope or humor, or my smile." –C.J. Banaszek.