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Heather Banaszek

Community Outreach Specialist - Northern California

Heather Banaszek first learned about Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation ten years ago when Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar became a sponsor. At the time, Heather was working for Apple American Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s, as a Marketing Coordinator in Northern California. While Heather always admired the work of ALSF, it didn’t hit home for her until her son, C.J. was diagnosed with Chronic Mylogenous Leukemia at the age of 11 in 2012. After resigning her position with Applebee’s, she became C.J.’s full time caregiver while he fought through three bone marrow transplants. After two and a half years, C.J. finally defeated his leukemia, but ultimately lost his life in 2014 from an infection he picked up during treatment.  Heather’s goal is to see treatment for leukemia get easier, and ultimately, to see the end of childhood cancer. She is also mom to daughter, Gabrielle, and wife to husband, Cas.

What I do at ALSF

As Community Outreach Specialist for Northern California, I see my job as having two main objectives. The first is to grow the ALSF brand in this area by sharing Alex’s mission and increasing awareness of what Alex’s Lemonade Stand does.  The second objective is to raise money! I am actively engaging with community members through schools, businesses, corporations, and organizations, and asking for their assistance with fundraising and volunteering.

What I like most about my job

When my son was first diagnosed with CML, he wrote in his journal that he wanted to help raise money for cancer research. I love working with an organization of dedicated people that is helping to do exactly that. I enjoy reaching out to people in the community and getting them excited about ALSF, too.

Place I would love to travel to

Many! Other than Cabo San Lucas, I’ve never been out of the country. I look forward to traveling with my husband to places like France, Italy and Germany. We would like to visit Germany so that we can meet CJ’s bone marrow donor.

If I could meet one person from the past or present, who would it be and why

Easiest question on the list-I would see my son again. To spend even an hour again with him would mean everything to me.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Horseback riding. After riding as a child, I’ve recently taken it up again, and I love it. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

Many people would be surprised if they knew I....

Can wiggle my ears!