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Shanna Lunasin of Rochester Receives $1,000 In Seed Money
Rochester employees LuAnn Linderman and Erick Zavala from the Civic Center branch, along with Debbie Dunbar from the West Circle branch, surprised Shanna Lunasin with $1,000 in cash this past summer at Five West as part of our Seed Money campaign. This campaign recognizes and rewards individuals who go above and beyond in the communities we serve.
Who Is Shanna Lunasin?
Shanna Lunasin is a resident of Rochester that has taken her passion and personal experience to help children and their families who are dealing with cancer. After her own experience with childhood cancer, Shanna has dedicated her life to helping other children with cancer. She has since founded, and runs, the Childhood Cancer Community.
Shanna knows exactly what these children are going through, even more-so than most non-profit founders. She was hospital bound at the age of seven years old with bone cancer and there were not many other mentors close to her age to help her through that difficult time.
After a year of chemotherapy – along with a major surgery and leg amputation – she saw and felt the need for these children to have a mentor. Once she recovered, she dedicated even more time to visiting other childhood cancer patients to help those children know they were not alone.
Once she was old enough to go to college, she enrolled in business classes to help her learn how to create an organization with a focus on helping children with cancer.
This organization is centered around creating a community for children and their families who are going through (or have gone through) a childhood cancer diagnosis – while also teaching them to use their experience to give back to the community.
“Childhood Cancer Community was built out of bringing together others, not just ourselves, who also needed a place where they needed to make purpose out of what they’ve been through and helping them give back to the people around them,” Shanna highlights.
What Makes Shanna Lunasin So Deserving Of Seed Money?
Nominator, right hand woman, and Shanna’s mother, Sherrie Decker, knows she is very deserving of the Seed Money because, “She’s gone through so much. She was given something really difficult in life to deal with and decided to take that, turn it around and turn it into something that she could use to help other people.”
Shanna and her family know how important it is for these children and their families to have a community they can rely on. It takes camaraderie and understanding. What started as Lunasin simply going to the hospital to provide support grew into speaking engagements and even a Presidential Community Spirit Award at the age of sixteen.
In 2008, Lunasin and Decker made the trip to Washington D.C. where she was nominated to win the Presidential Community Spirit Award. Little did they know their peers voted for her to win the Most Inspirational Person at the event. When Shanna’s name was announced, they both looked around for another family with the same name.
This recognition opened more opportunities for her to speak outside of the Rochester area to crowds as large as 25,000 people. She has been able to use this recognition to help raise funds to provide services like monthly gatherings, online communities, fundraisers, and awareness opportunities for families of childhood cancer patients and survivors.
Where Did We Surprise Shanna Lunasin?
When Sherrie nominated Shanna, we sent LuAnn Linderman, Corporate Receptionist, Erick Zavala, Universal Banker, and Debbie Dunbar, Mortgage Lender, to Five West in Rochester. What Shanna thought was a lunch with her mom turned into an unbelievable surprise.
After walking into the private dining room, Erick let Shanna know that she had been selected as a recipient of $1,000 in Seed Money for all she has done to give back through the Childhood Cancer Community. “It is not normal to walk into a room and someone gives you cash,” Shanna exclaims. One detail that Erick left out was who nominated her.
After the initial shock passed, Shanna was able to piece together that Sherrie was the one who nominated her. When she asked her mom if she knew about it, Sherrie lit up and was happy to share, “I’m not good at keeping secrets!” She knew her daughter deserves the Seed Money for all she has been through and what she is doing throughout the Rochester community and beyond.
Why Is Giving Back to the Community So Important?
As Shanna went through her experience, she was able to see the importance of a community and how it can help heal children and their families. “Our communities are the ones that uplift us as time goes on.”
Outside of working on growing the Childhood Cancer Community, Shanna also recognizes that giving back provides much more excitement to everyday life. “There’s been so much more value in giving to people than in just living life and just trying to do day to day things,” Shanna explains. “It brings the real purpose of why we exist as human beings to the forefront all the time and I think it’s a gift to the people who do the work as well.”
How Can You Help Childhood Cancer Community?
You can start by visiting their website. There are many ways to support the organization monetarily, but Shanna highlights that it’s easy to get involved. “If you know a family that has a child with cancer or a childhood cancer survivor anywhere in the upper Midwest, those people can be some of the greatest resources to say to their friend ‘hey, you know, I know it’s not your ideal favorite thing to do, but I think maybe you should reach out to this group and see what they can offer,’” Shanna explains. “Having that encouragement from somebody, that can sometimes be the greatest motivator to get involved. That’s what we want, we want families to come be a part of the community.”
Sherrie knows the importance of these communities to help these children and their families heal. “It’s bringing people together and creating a network of camaraderie with other people that are going through the same thing you are.”
The goal of Seed Money is to help recognize and reward individuals who selflessly go above and beyond in their communities. To help recognize Shanna and the work she does, we documented our surprise delivery of Seed Money on video which can be viewed on our Youtube channel. You can view other recipient's videos there as well!
Seed Money was created as part of our Community Roots Initiative where our mission is to “Give Today to Help Grow Tomorrow” and we believe that the money given to Shanna will help encourage and motivate her to continue to give back through the Childhood Cancer Community.
All Home Federal employees recognize the importance of giving back to the communities we serve and seeing them interact with these unsung heroes is one of the best parts of this campaign.
Zack was able to collect his thoughts after presenting Shanna with the reward. “She is very deserving of it due to the effort she puts into her organization. Her story and motivation are what’s driven her to help the Rochester community and beyond.”
Seed Money also allows our employees to get out in the community and meet these often-quiet difference makers. “She makes it seem so effortless, what she does, and her story is amazing and she’s an amazing person. It was an honor to meet her,” Debbie Dunbar reacts to rewarding Shanna with the Seed Money.
“She brought us to tears because she’s an amazing lady and she’s going to continue doing much more for the children that have cancer,” LuAnn Linderman reflects. “I think we’re very blessed to have her in our community.”
To Shanna, and all of those involved with the Childhood Cancer Community, we thank you. Check out our other Seed Money stories and how we’re giving back by visiting our Seed Money page.