Katie's biggest cheeleader has many giving hats


Source: NapervilleSun.com 

May 2, 2010 (Naperville, IL) - Naperville resident Amy Hausman has found a unique way to improve the quality of life in Naperville. Besides being an advocate for cancer research, the blind and dyslexic, a volunteer in education and so much more, she's also part of a national advisory panel that influences the food choices served by a national restaurant chain. 

Hausman, 38, hails from Chicago and attended the University of Illinois in Champaign where she majored in history. She followed that up with an advanced degree in history from George Mason University in Virginia and began work in real estate marketing, nonprofit, education and tutoring work, and market research. 

Shortly after moving to Naperville 10 years ago, she became a volunteer for the blind and dyslexic, where she read and recorded textbooks for visually challenged individuals -- a project that would change her life. 

Naperville resident Amy Hausman is part of a panel that represents Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants known as "The Kitchen Cabinet." Joan Scharff, executive director of brand and menu strategy for Garden Fresh Restaurant Corporation, said the group, established in 2007, "is a forum for our restaurants to hear more directly from restaurant guests." Submitted photo 

"As a kid, it wasn't like I grew up in a family that was active in a lot of charity or not-for-profit work, but I remembered reading a story in The Naperville Sun, actually, about doing recordings at this local studio and I got involved from 2000 until 2009 when (the) Naperville studio closed due to economy," Hausman said. "My husband and I had our two children during that time and the hours were flexible, so I kept doing it." 

A change in plans 

Fate then took a difficult turn as Hausman's oldest child Katie, now 7, was diagnosed with leukemia. Unlike so many other children, she has responded well to treatment and is actually a year away from being considered no more at risk than any other child. But Hausman's efforts to raise awareness and money for cancer research continued.
"I don't watch any TV," Hausman insists. "And if it wasn't for the need to sleep, I feel like I could do a whole lot more."
 

Her cancer-related resume includes volunteering with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for its annual Light the Night Walk in September in Lisle. She has served as team captain of the Katie's Cheerleaders team, honoring her daughter. 

"We have participated for six years and our team raises over $10,000 each year and hopes to hit the $70,000 cumulative mark this year," she said. "I also volunteer for the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation as Illinois team leader, where I have been involved since 2007." 

Hausman said her most rewarding work with cancer research has come from annual trips each year to Washington, D.C., where she has met and spoken with Illinois legislators, asking for funding for childhood cancer research. Her most recent visit was January of this year. 

Food connection 

Hausman is part of a panel that represents Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants known as "The Kitchen Cabinet." Joan Scharff, executive director of brand and menu strategy for Garden Fresh Restaurant Corporation, said the group, established in 2007, "is a forum for our restaurants to hear more directly from restaurant guests."
"Each member will visit headquarters in San Diego to taste new recipes, review upcoming restaurant campaigns and offer overall feedback on the brands," Scharff said. "Members were chosen to participate based on their community involvement and willingness to share opinions on health and nutrition trends."
 

The local benefit, Hausman said, is that whenever local representatives from the company come to Naperville, they often support nonprofit events by donating food or raffle prizes, which helps local organizers of these events. 

"In these tough economic times, it's sometimes hard to find sponsors or people who will donate to a cancer run or whatever is going on," she said. "This kind of connection eliminates some of the leg work for organizers and takes something off their plate." 

 

- David Sharos 

 

Christine Bork
Email Christine
(800) 458-6223



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