Baking Banana Bread to Raise Awareness for Cancer

Lois Fennema lives in Lansing, Illinois with her husband, Jeff. They have three married children, one granddaughter, one grandson and another grandchild on the way! She works in her church office, cleans condos, assists with bookwork for Jeff’s business and has the privilege of babysitting. The most important thing you should know about her: she LOVES to bake.

After she watched her sister in law, Bev, fight breast cancer twice and undergo a double mastectomy, and at the same time learned that their 5-year-old niece, Reagan, was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, and lost her leg to the bone cancer, Lois decided to add “raise awareness for breast cancer and childhood cancer” to her list.

Lois and ReaganLois and Reagan.

“I love to bake, and lots of people love it when I bake for them,” says Lois. “So, let’s get creative – put the two together and we have a fundraiser! My banana bread has earned quite a reputation!”

That’s where the idea of baking banana bread started…and it went wild! Last year, Lois baked 230 loaves of banana bread – two of which made it as far as South Dakota. She was able to donate over $2,600 to CureSearch. She took banana bread orders by posting on Facebook, sending out a personal note – for those not on social media – and by word of mouth.

Reagan with her superhero medal.Reagan with her superhero medal.

This year it happened again at the Kalamazoo Superheroes Unite! event on May 20, 2017, as Lois and several other members of Reagan’s family and friends walked for the “Skeleton Crew of Kalamazoo” team.

Jacob had cancer in his pelvis, Reagan, her niece, lost her leg to bone cancer and Ethan recently lost his arm to bone cancer. They all participated in the walk and continue to bless each other with support.

Jacob, Reagan and EthanJacob, Reagan and Ethan – true superheroes.

This year Lois baked 187 loaves of banana bread – two of which were delivered to northwest Iowa. She had a goal to have the breads delivered fresh – within 24 hours of being baked. It takes some coordination to make that happen, and she is so pleased to see the success of the project!

“A coworker of Reagan’s grandma made a donation and asked me to bake the breads and take them to share with those at the walk,” Lois stated. “A total of $3,115 was donated to CureSearch this year.”

Lois plans to be back again next year, combining her love of baking with the love she has for her family. She already has a list started for those requesting banana bread for next year, so don’t be surprised if you hear about people going bananas for all of Lois’ amazing efforts!

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank Lois, Reagan’s grandparents, and Reagan’s extended family and friends for all they have done for the fight against children’s cancer.

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