Our supporter of the month initiative is an opportunity to thank the special people who have shown incredible commitment to LIVESTRONG. It also serves as a chance to introduce LIVESTRONG staff, interns, clients and community to the powerful stories behind some of our biggest supporters.
August Supporter of the Month: Lois Banning
Lois is one of LIVESTRONG’s hardest working volunteers. She has been with us since 2009 and her work continues to improve the lives of those we serve. Lois was first introduced to LIVESTRONG through the work of her daughter-in-law, Helen Knost, the Foundation’s Director of Donor Relations.
LS: How did you become involved with LIVESTRONG?
Lois: After retiring I wanted to do something to give back to the community. My daughter-in-law was working at the Foundation and I asked if they needed any volunteers. The rest is history.
LS: What is your occupation?
Lois: I am retired from many jobs. I tell everyone that I am a Jack of all trades and a master of none. That means that I have worn many hats from selling real estate in Austin for 10 years, working for a company that manufactured gravity meters for 3 years, working at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest for 10 years and the last paying job was working in the Advising Office of the College of Business at The University of Missouri for 6 years. Now I am fully retired and busier now than ever before.
LS: What do you like to do in your free time?
Lois: There is nothing better than being on the golf course on a beautiful day with good friends. I am not as competitive as I used to be and the score is not as important anymore, but the fact that I can walk 18 holes and be outside for 4-5 hours is the best. Also having two grandchildren that are 8 and 6 always keeps me on my feet. From guitar and piano lessons to summer camp to anything else that they ask to do I am always on the go. One last thing that I love to do with my free time is work in my yard. I probably spend at least 2-3 hours a day (when I’m not golfing) in the yard.
LS: Can you tell us a bit about your family?
Lois: My husband Bill and I have been married 46 years and have 2 sons, Tom and John who are married to Kristy and Helen. We have two grandchildren; Sutton, age 8 and Sloane, age 6. We moved to Austin in the 1980’s and like everyone else, never wanted to leave.
LS: Why is it important to you to give back?
Lois: I don’t consider myself a philanthropist, just someone who believes in the Foundation and what it stands for. You just have to see or hear what people who have been helped by LIVESTRONG have to say about the care they received to know why LIVESTRONG is so special.
LS: Do you give or volunteer your time in honor of anyone in particular?
Lois: There are a number of people that I could name but my mother was the first person I ever personally knew who had cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1964 and back then there were few solutions to combat cancer. She had a mastectomy and was given radiation and told if she could make it 5 years without any reoccurrence she would be cured. She made it 4.5 years and then was diagnosed with liver cancer which spread quickly, and within a month of the diagnosis she had died. I was 21 at the time and had a younger sister who was 13 and an older sister who was 26. I never forgot what she went through and when I found out about LIVESTRONG, I knew that I wanted to volunteer in memory of my mother.
LS: What is your connection to cancer?
Lois: I have had numerous basil cell and squamous cells removed and have been very lucky that none were life-threatening. I also had a lumpectomy a number of years ago that turned out to be non-malignant.
LS: In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of LIVESTRONG’s work?
Lois: Getting the message out to those going through treatment and survivors as well as the caretakers that there is a place to go when you need a hand to hold, or someone to tell you that it will be okay because they may have been standing in your shoes at some point in the past.
LS/Lois: Finish this sentence: To me, LIVESTRONG means… “understanding and acceptance.”
Our deepest gratitude to Lois and all of our LIVESTRONG volunteers who make such an impact on our work. If you are interested in volunteering your time to help our mission, you can learn more and apply RIGHT HERE.