Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Blog

The Bucket List Bake Sale

Filed under: community fundraising ideas,kids fighting cancer — Tags: , — The Good Cookies @ 9:01 pm July 11, 2017

 

Hello, Good Cookies! Today’s blog was written by fellow Good Cookie Rachel Kirkham, who put her own spin on the classic bake sale. 

The Bucket List Bake Sale

Not long after Liam Witt’s passing, I stumbled upon his mother’s blog. I was a new mother, and my heart instantly broke as I read about their journey. If possible, my heart also pieced itself back together when I saw that they were working to help kids like Liam through their charity, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. It was from that moment on that I decided I’d follow Gretchen Witt to the ends of the earth if it meant that children like Liam could get help battling this horrible killer.

I have since met Gretchen and her family and have done anything and everything I can to help when they need it — be it volunteering at their annual Chef’s for Kids gala, or educating people about this amazing organization. The one thing that I was always too afraid to do was what Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was known for — the very roots of their foundation: a bake sale.

I am three years away from my 40th birthday, and I have managed to create a hefty bucket list of things I want to accomplish before that big day. Many of the items on my list are superficial and silly: meet Julie Andrews, run a sub 2-hour half marathon, successfully make a meal my children will eat. And some goals are lofty: plan and execute a big-city race benefiting charity, travel through Greece with my husband, take my kids to Austria. But, at the very top of my list is to finally conquer my fear of having a bake sale for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

Don’t ask me why I have been afraid to do it. I’m sure it is because I’m worried I will fail in some way. I don’t want to ask people for help, I don’t want to beg for donations…. blah, blah, blah. My list of excuses was miles long, but my list of reasons to do it was even longer. I knew that this year was the best time to do it because it would kick off my bucket list and my kids are finally old enough to help and truly understand the purpose. My daughter Lucy is the same age Liam was when he lost his battle to cancer. I look at her and can’t imagine my life without her, and I would be remiss if I didn’t help this cause in some small way.  

I have rallied my neighborhood pals and begged for baked goods. I have talked to city council. I have secured a location with major foot traffic. I have nailed down donations from local vendors. I have gathered a gaggle of cute kids, and even have friends and family from afar who can’t be here, but have donated to our fundraising page online. I have put myself out there, and have grown so much from this journey that I’m not sure who is winning more, me or the kids we aim to help. 

When asked what my inspiration was to add this bake sale to my bucket list, I was able to instantly answer with one person’s name: Gretchen Witt. I look and her and see hope for so many kids. I often face hard days and think of her and her strength and know that if Gretchen can get through a day, so can I. I want to do this bake sale to thank her in a small way for being such an integral part of my life. If she could do it, I could do it. 

The best part about this whole journey has been teaching my kids what it means to truly give back. I feel like they have a connection with Liam somehow and have taken in his story so deeply, and I am grateful for that. I now know why it took me so long to get the guts to have this bake sale: I needed my kids to help me be brave.

So, if you see our bake sale in New Jersey, we will be the loud ones with green balloons and orange shirts giving our hearts to Gretchen, Larry, Ella, and Liam, and everyone we have met on this journey.

– Rachel

Inspired? You can still make an online donation to Rachel’s Bucket List Bake Sale fundraising page here, OR you can register for you own bake sale or other fundraising event.

 Visit our Facebook page for more fundraising event ideas!

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Spring is Here! Big News for May!

Filed under: community fundraising ideas — Tags: — The Good Cookies @ 10:08 pm March 20, 2017

 

Happy first day of spring! We have fun and exciting news to share about “getting on board” this May.

1. WE HAVE A MATCH! Every dollar raised during the month of May will be matched, up to $100,000, thanks to a generous gift from The Smith Family Foundation.

2. NEED IDEAS? Host a bake sale, a school fundraiser or a dress down day at work. You can also encourage people to get active for Cookies by organizing a fun run or a mini-golf tournament.

3. UNIQUE EVENT! Liam Witt, the son of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer founders Gretchen and Larry Witt, would have had his “Golden Birthday” this year: turning 13 on May 13th. This day just happens to be World Cocktail Day. We’re celebrating with a toast to honor Liam and kids everywhere who are battling cancer. Since the best place to make a toast is gathered with friends in a bar, ask your favorite bar or restaurant to pick a day in May to give a portion of sales back to Cookies. If you’re interested in learning more, we can help with tips and ideas for getting your favorite local spot on board. We have gifts for bartenders who join you. Imagine a few dozen bars or restaurants around the country giving back this May with every dollar doubled for childhood cancer research?

TO GET STARTED: follow this link. Click the orange JOIN button on the left of the page to register your own event and start a fundraising page. When asked how you heard about us, choose “Smith Family Foundation.”

Be a Good Cookie and get on board this May to make a difference for childhood cancer research!

Art Auction at Chefs for Kids’ Cancer Cocktail Reception

Filed under: community fundraising ideas,corporate fundraising — The Good Cookies @ 10:52 pm February 3, 2017

Guests at the 2017 Chefs for Kids’ Cancer NYC event will have the opportunity to bid on works of art by 19 artists from around the globe in an exclusive silent auction gallery at the cocktail reception. Artists working from New York City to Israel are represented with pieces that cover an array of art mediums. 15 adult artists, some of whom exhibit at MOMA, have contributed unique works for this special event. Inspired by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and by kids helping other kids, four children have also donated drawings and paintings.

The exhibit is curated with love by Good Cookie Daniela Ben-Zion and hung by Sean Cavanaugh. Special thanks to our artists for donating their work, shown here. Click on the individual art pieces to see the artists’ biographies.

 

Share the Love

Filed under: kids fighting cancer — The Good Cookies @ 3:00 pm January 24, 2017

January 24th, marks six years since Liam Witt’s battle with cancer came to an end. On Valentine’s Day 2011, hundreds gathered in New York City to celebrate the life of Liam Witt, the little boy who inspired his parents to start Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. While cancer cut his life short, Liam’s LOVE for people, for living, and for life has become his true, enduring legacy.

Liam Witt

Love Inspired Action…

Just 2 ½-years-old when diagnosed, Liam’s parents, Larry and Gretchen Witt, quickly learned of the lack of treatment options for pediatric cancers.  When his oncologist shared, “It’s not science that’s holding us back, it’s funding,” Gretchen knew she had to take action. But first, Liam had to be ushered through months of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Throughout the process, his bravery and compassion inspired his parents. When he was declared to have no evidence of disease, they began to think of how to help other children.

The 2007 holiday season was approaching as Gretchen thought of ways to raise funds for a promising new treatment. She realized she needed something so sweet and comforting that it would conquer the fear associated with pediatric cancer. The answer? Cookies. With the help of 250 volunteers, Gretchen baked and sold 96,000 cookies – in person, online, any way she could – to raise funds. That original “bake sale” raised more than $420,000. Before long, people began reaching out asking, “What can I do to help?”

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A Transcending Love…

Reaching far beyond his family, Liam’s love knew no boundaries. Though he battled cancer off and on for nearly four years, he had special relationships with everyone he encountered, from doctors, nurses and teachers, to the firefighters of Engine 1/Ladder 24, the station he passed on his way home from school or treatments at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. 

He called the firefighters his “guys,” and made sure they all knew he loved them. And they weren’t afraid to show their love in return. In their station, they gave Liam his own locker, suit and helmet. On January 24, 2011, Liam’s battle came to an end. Suddenly, the numbers of his beloved Engine 1/Ladder 24 took on a special meaning.

For his Valentine’s Day memorial service,  an entire street in New York City was closed off as Liam’s “guys” honored him with a hero’s farewell. The message that day was to Love Like Liam. Today, his locker at the firehouse still serves as a reminder of that message.

- Liam Witt gets a hero s farewell YouTube

A Legacy of Love…

Liam’s love continues to inspire us and people everywhere. Since 2008, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has granted nearly $12.5 million, funding 91 research projects, including 34 that are now treatments available for children battling cancer today.

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer isn’t just about Liam. It’s not about one type of cancer. It’s about every child, everywhere. Every child deserves a fighting chance. As long as there are treatments sitting on shelves waiting for funding, we’ll be fighting to move them forward. This year, we hope you’ll be inspired to join us in sharing the love.

Share the Love cookies 2

Three simple way to help this Valentine’s Day:

  1. Order cookies. Delicious and all-natural, 100% of the profits goes to pediatric cancer research.
  2. Make a donation. You can select the type of cancer your gift supports, and feel good knowing your contribution will be used to find less toxic, more effective treatments for pediatric cancer research.
  3. Host an event. Thousands of bake sales and other grassroots events have been held in all 50 states and in 16 countries. No effort is too small to make a difference.   Register here and we’ll be in touch to support you every step of the way! #BeAGoodCookie

Breaking Records and Ringing Bells to Celebrate

Filed under: corporate fundraising — Tags: — The Good Cookies @ 7:25 pm November 23, 2016
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Founder Gretchen Witt is joined by donor Janette Liptak, NYSE President Tom Farley, Milk Bar Founder & MasterChef Judge Christina Tosi, and 11 children to ring the closing bell of the NYSE.

 Ringing in the holiday season has never been so sweet.

Yesterday when The New York Stock Exchange hosted Cookies for Kids’ Cancer to ring the closing bell, it was a record-breaking day for many reasons. The Dow closed at an all-time high of over 19,000. A gang of children on the podium were joined by founder Gretchen Holt Witt, and at exactly 4:00 p.m. when Ari Schlanger rang the bell and Taber Cannon brought the gavel down, they set the record for youngest people to ever have that honor.

That’s not all we’re ringing bells about. We are also celebrating the record-breaking $250,000 Challenge Gift Campaign happening now. The Challenge Gift, our largest ever, was made possible by the generosity of loyal donors Janette and David Liptak, who have pledged to match all money raised this holiday season up to $250,000. All donations, cookie orders, and grassroots events will be matched until the end of the year. Let’s all work towards a common goal so that on New Year’s Eve we’ll be ringing bells and popping champagne corks!

And last, but certainly not least, we are celebrating the announcement of the record-breaking day in our efforts to fund research aimed at pediatric cancers: the 2016 Cookies for Kids’ Cancer research grants. This year’s 11 grants to tremendously talented researchers across the country bring our grant total to nearly $12.5 million. That’s a lot of Good Cookies.

We were proud to ring the NYSE closing bell in honor of you. With your generosity and continued support we hope to make the 2016 holiday season record-breaking as well.

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$250,000 Challenge Gift Campaign

Filed under: community fundraising ideas,corporate fundraising — The Good Cookies @ 8:51 pm November 1, 2016

Rise to the Challenge Gift

Join our Challenge Gift Campaign. From November 1 through December 31, 2016, all gifts and donations to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer will be doubled, up to $250,000. The Challenge Gift Campaign was made possible by the generosity of loyal donors Janette and David Liptak who have pledged to match all money raised this holiday season up to $250,000.

“We were inspired by the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer organization because their mission is primarily focused on funding research to find cures for pediatric cancers,” said the Liptaks. “It’s a very specific mission and it’s been a very effective approach. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is literally saving lives every day. So we are happy that we are in a position to be able to support their mission in a meaningful way.”

We offer many ways for everyone to join the campaign and double your donation for childhood cancer research this holiday season:

Host a Holiday Event

Gather friends and family to have fun and make a difference. From bake sales to cookie swaps, holiday events are great ways to spread holiday cheer while raising funds for critically needed research.

Send Cookies

Our delicious, all-natural cookies are the perfect holiday gift. With the 10 mouth-watering flavors and 100% of the profits going to pediatric cancer research, our cookies are the gift that truly gives twice.

Make a Donation

At Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, you can select the type of pediatric cancer your gift supports. In time for year-end tax-deductible donations, give in someone’s honor, and see more ways to help. Cancer remains the #1 disease killer of children in the U.S., but with your support, we can continue to make a difference.

#DoriesCookies

Filed under: childhood cancer research — Tags: , — The Good Cookies @ 8:43 pm October 19, 2016

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Calling all Good Cookie Bakers! 

Beloved baker and longtime Good Cookie friend Dorie Greenspan is encouraging fans to get their bake on this holiday season to support Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

Want to help? Here’s how:

1. REGISTER your event. 

2. In the dropdown menu under “How did you hear about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer,” choose “Dorie Greenspan” to receive a FREE Bake Sale Starter Kit with everything you need to brand your event from stickers, to treat bags, to donation jars and more!

3. Host a bake sale, cookie swap or other event in your community.  When you raise $1,000, you’ll receive a FREE signed copy of Dorie’s new book, Dorie’s Cookies and when you raise $2,500, you will receive a signed copy of Dorie’s new book AND be entered for a chance to win a day of baking with Dorie!

4. Make a recipe from Dorie’s Cookies (her new cookbook!) and post a picture to your Instagram page tagging @Cookies4Kids and using the hashtag #DoriesCookies to trigger a $5 donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. 

Added bonus: every dollar raised, up to $250,000, will be matched from now through December 31st!  

Cookies for Kid’s Cancer is a national 501(c)3 non-profit committed to raising funds for research to develop new, less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer, the #1 disease killer of children in the U.S. 

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Tough Cookie Levi

Filed under: kids fighting cancer — The Good Cookies @ 10:04 pm September 27, 2016

As Told by Levi’s Mom… 

Whenever anyone met Levi as a newborn, they always told me how beautiful his eyes were. I couldn’t help but agree. He has my husband’s eyes—deep blue. They draw you into his wonderful soul.

Around his three-month checkup, I noticed Levi had a little bit of a lazy eye. His pediatrician told me there was no concern that she could detect. Still, she referred us to an ophthalmologist to discuss any lazy eye concerns. I made the appointment a week later.

On April 20th, 2015, I was rushing to get both kids and myself ready. The dogs were being obnoxious. I spilled my coffee. I couldn’t seem to get in my groove. It was a terrible morning, and I just wanted to get the day over with. Once we got to the ophthalmologist, my daughter found some toys for her and her brother to play with. She was good at distracting Levi. Once we went back to a room, the doctor looked at his eyes briefly and asked if I thought he was able to see out of his right eye. I was a little shocked and said I thought he could see fine. He brushed it off and told me he wanted to dilate his eyes and look a little deeper. Once the drops were in we had to wait 30 minutes for them to kick in.

My mind was running, how could I have a blind baby? How could I not have known? How did this even happen? I mean, I didn’t even know for sure if that was the problem, but why would the doctor have asked me if Levi was able to see anything? A little confusion, but I knew everything was going to be fine.

My daughter led the way to the room. She always likes to be the leader. I sat on the chair with Levi in my lap. The doctor turned the lights down and held up some toys to guide Levi to look in various directions. He was holding up these different items. They almost looked like crystals. He was looking through them to see Levi’s eye. This went on for about 3 minutes. It felt like an eternity. He turned the lights on and got pretty quiet.

“Does retinoblastoma run in your family?”

I froze.  All I heard was “-blastoma.” I know that means cancer.

“…no?”

“Well, I believe Levi has it, and he needs to be seen right away to figure out the treatment options.” 

I looked down at my four month old, calmly chewing on his teether. I cried, an ugly cry. My daughter ran up to me with tissues, rubbing my arm and telling me everything was OK. I was worried about Levi having a lazy eye, about him being blind. How I wish that was the problem, and it wasn’t cancer. Why was I so mad this morning? Take me back to that chaos. Throw all the nonsense and annoyance on me and just take the cancer away. There was so much I took for granted. Why does my baby deserve a diagnosis? Put it on me instead.

Long story short, Levi was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma. He had tumors in both eyes, but the ones in his right eye were fairly large. He had 5 rounds of chemotherapy, and he has had countless rounds of laser treatment to destroy the tumors. He is still fighting, and they are still watching the tumors to look for regrowth. He needs MRI’s every 6 months to watch for any activity in his brain. All in all, he is healthy. 

Retinoblastoma can be detected when you take a picture with a flash. If a child has retinoblastoma, a white glow from the pupils will appear in the photo (see photo of Levi, above right). A lot of parents aren’t aware of this, and they go years without noticing. When this happens, the child will most likely lose their eye. We got lucky, and we have been able to save Levi’s eyes. All I can hope for now is that we can continue to fight off the tumors and not let them win. Levi does so many things, all the things a “normal” 21 month old does. However, the worry never goes away. Childhood cancer is always in the back of my mind whenever he doesn’t feel good.

This is a battle for the rest of our lives.

We need a cure. All the children need a cure.

levi

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Marks 8th Anniversary, Rallies Supporters in All 50 States

Filed under: community fundraising ideas — The Good Cookies @ 8:28 pm September 13, 2016

During National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Funds Raised to Support Nationwide Clinical Trials for Children in Need of Hope

For Immediate Release – Califon, NJ – September 13, 2016 – Cookies for Kids’ Cancer (CFKC), the national non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for childhood cancer treatments, is honoring National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September with its third annual 50 States Challenge, now underway across the U.S. Today, on the 8th anniversary of the launch of the national non-profit, CFKC has confirmed individuals and businesses in all 50 states will be hosting events throughout the month in a show of nationwide solidarity behind pediatric cancer, the number one disease killer of children in the U.S. Last year’s 50 State Challenge inspired 450 events in all 50 states, raising more than $210,000 towards childhood cancer research through bake sales, 5K races, spirit days, and more.

“When Cookies for Kids’ Cancer first started, our hope was that people would get involved and be ‘Good Cookies’ by having an event in their community. Now, eight years later, it really has become a national movement,” says co-founder Gretchen Witt. “Since 2008, we’ve had more than 7,000 events in 15 countries, and we’ve granted more than $10 million towards 80 research projects resulting in 34 new cancer treatments children receive today. And we’re not stopping there!”

This year, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer will designate all money raised during September’s 50 States Challenge to the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Phase 1 Clinical Trial Consortium, which is considered the premier children’s cancer research organization in the world. Clinical trials work to identify and develop effective new agents specifically for children and adolescents with cancer. Nearly 13,500 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer each year, but when divided into the many different kinds of children’s cancer, the number of children with each is relatively small. In research, large numbers of patients are critical to ensuring that study results are meaningful. By enrolling patients from many hospitals in the same trial, the results become statistically significant. This approach is called cooperative research and is how the COG functions.

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer donates two times more money than the federal government to children enrolled in the Children’s Oncology Group’s Phase 1 Clinical Trial Consortium. The alarming lack of federal funding that goes to pediatric cancer research was the impetus of the CFKC foundation. Less than four percent of the US government’s multi-billion budget is directed towards children’s cancer research. In other words, only $3 in every $100 of federal funding for cancer research goes to childhood cancers. Yet, the facts of pediatric cancer make it clear that this is nowhere near enough:

  • Childhood cancer is the most common disease to kill children in the United States.
  • Every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer worldwide; every day 36 children are diagnosed in the U.S.
  • One in five kids diagnosed in the U.S. will not survive.

Furthermore, two out of every three children who survive pediatric cancer will develop long-term side effects as a result of the treatments, including hearing and vision impairment, learning delays, disabilities and secondary cancers. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s mission is to fund research into less toxic treatments that will help change the statistics and ensure that children diagnosed with cancer not only survive, but also aren’t impacted by life-threatening risks and long-term side effects.

Friends of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer:

Also kicking off in September, OXO, the manufacturer of innovative housewares and kitchen tools, is pledging to match, dollar for dollar, funds raised from grassroots events hosted by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer supporters. This match will continue through National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month until the year’s end. OXO has pledged to donate up to $100,000.

ASICS America Corporation has designed a collection of sneakers to raise funds for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer as part of its 2016 Accelerate Hope™ line of running shoes. Now in its fourth year, the program has raised more than $350,000 toward pediatric cancer research. Asics will donate $10 for every pair of sneakers sold between now and November 30th, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $100,000, up to $150,000. The collection features a gold ribbon stitched on the heel, the official color of childhood cancer.

To learn more about the 50 States Challenge or the Be a Good Cookie™ movement, visit the website: cookiesforkidscancer.org.

Follow Cookies for Kids’ Cancer on Facebook, Twitter (cookies4kids), Instagram (cookies4Kids) and Pinterest (cookies4kids).

 

Tough Cookie Abby

Filed under: kids fighting cancer — The Good Cookies @ 3:35 pm September 7, 2016

Remembering Abby

On September 7th, 2015, Abby Shapiro’s parents said goodbye to their beautiful, vibrant daughter after her valiant battle with cancer. Today, one year later, we stand with them to honor Abby’s life and share her indomitable #ToughCookie spirit.

In the past 365 days, 40,000 children have been in active treatment for childhood cancer. In that same year, 14,000 families have heard the devastating words “your child has cancer” for the first time. And during every moment of those same 365 days, Abby has been immeasurably missed by her family, her friends, her class- and teammates and community. 

Join us as we send love to the Shapiro family today and every day. . .and as we fight for all children battling cancer. To learn more about Abby, follow the link – her story was beautifully told by The Washington Post.

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