The mission of the Better Life Foundation is to improve the lives of those affected with blood cancers by funding research and educational programs. The Foundation was founded in 2016 and has raised more than $200,000 for blood cancer research programs. The members of the Board and others associated with the Foundation continue to seek ways to increase the awareness of cancers and to help improve the lives of those affected by blood cancers.

The Foundation is based in Carmichael, California. 

Loel Heupel
Founder and President

Better Life Foundation was founded in 2016 by Loel Heupel. Loel was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2006, and had a successful stem cell transplant in 2012 at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. At that time, he committed to giving back to the people and the community that helped him beat cancer, including the physician who treated him, Dr. Joseph Tuscano of Sacramento. As a cancer survivor, Loel was given a new perspective on life, and strives for a good balance between professional and personal commitments. 

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Rob Brady
Board Treasurer

Rob Brady joined the board of Better Life Foundation as the Treasurer and financial liaison. With a long history in the banking industry, Rob brings his expertise and knowledge to the team. He has been involved with the Fundation since its inception, and has been a leading supporter of the Sunday on the Green fundraising efforts. 

Nicki Heupel 
Vice President and Board Secretary

As co-founder of the Better Life Foundation, Nicki Heupel has played a significant role in establishing the Foundation and co-leading the fundraising efforts. With a background in marketing and communications, Nicki has also contributed to the Foundation's marketing efforts and creating a strong brand for Sunday on the Green, the organization's primary annual fundraiser. 

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James Scheller
Board Member

Dr. James Scheller is a Sacramento area physician and part-time winemaker. He brings his medical and health background expertise to the Board. James has been involved with the Foundation since its inception, and has brought the work of the Foundation to a large network of professionals in the Sacramento area who have become benefactors. James is also the proprietor of James Blake Wines.

Bob Cook
Board Member

Robert (Bob) C. Cook, Jr. is a fifth generation Sacramento area resident, and is president of Cook Endeavors, an investment corporation that owns a water utility and real estate. Bob has been actively involved in Downtown Partnership leadership as a Director on the Board since 2014, serving on the Executive Committee since 2015 and Chair of the Board 2018-2019. He joined the Better Life Foundation Board of Directors in 2018.

Erin Cook
Board Member

Erin Cook joined the Better Life Foundation Board of Directors in 2018. With her experience in planning and managing large events, Erin has increased the Foundation's fundraising success since her involvement. Erin shares Bob's support of Dr. Tuscano's research efforts after their son was treated by him for  lymphoma.

Lynn Byington-Brady
Board Member

Lynn Byington-Brady joined the board of Better Life Foundation in 2018. With a long history in the banking industry and in leadership roles on other Boards, Lynn brings her passion for organization, financial tracking, and process improvement to the team. She has led the check-in systems and silent auction logistics for multiple Foundation fundraisers. 

Shari Scheller
Board Member

Shari Scheller is a pediatric oncology nurse with a tremendous gift and passion for helping others. Shari has been involved with the Better Life Foundation since its inception, and along with her husband James hosted the Afternoon party of the Foundation's annual fundraiser (Sunday on the Green) at their fantastic home for five years. She has been instrumental in planning the Afternoon Party and rallying many volunteers for the effort.