The first time I ever heard Marian Wright Edelman’s quote, “Dear Lord, Be good to me. The sea is so wide and my boat is so small,” I knew absolutely nothing about pediatric cancer, but I knew I liked the quote and how it related to children and life and all the loneliness that sometimes comes with the territory. So, I kept the quote, found on a business card from Edelman’s Children’s Defense Fund, on my desk for a while. And now that I’ve found myself involved in the world of pediatric cancer, I simply cannot get this phrase out of my head.
I think of the quote every time I think of a child enduring pediatric cancer treatments, knowing the chemotherapy or radiation or antibodies they endure to save their lives have seen little to no improvement in the method or the outcome in the past 20 years due to a lack of public or private funding for research.
I think of the quote every time I think of parents of pediatric cancer warriors who understand intimately the precise difference every dollar raised makes in the fight their children are facing. They know better than most of us that doctors are standing by with years of research and testing ready to be put into trials, just as soon as more fundraising dollars come in.
And I think of this quote when I think of bake sale hosts, the amazing good cookies who help raise the money needed to support research and improved treatments. The thing is, my image of the bake sale hosts is of a band of merry women and men, armed with sweets and treats and goodies, ready to make the boat of pediatric cancer just a bit bigger and the sea just a bit smaller. As I looked at the picture and read the account of Giny Ferraro’s recent bake sale in NYC, I felt like I was watching the boat get just a bit bigger before my eyes. . .
“Our bake sale was a total success! We were on Greenwich Avenue from 9-6 on a gorgeous day, and we sold everything up to the last chocolate chip cookie. As far as the baked goods go, I got all of my Moms friends to bake some things for the sale. Since my family and friends are from Argentina, many of the goods were Argentine specialties, such as Dulce De leche Alfajores, which were actually a huge hit since there is a big Hispanic population in Greenwich. I also got two of Greenwich’s best bakeries, Aux Delices and Versailles to donate a bunch of Muffins, Croissants, Scones and more. At the actual bake sale it was myself, my best friends, their boyfriends and my brothers. We had a blast selling everything. One of my friends had the brilliant idea to build a “tasting platter” and she walked the sidewalks enticing many passersby to stop by the bake sale. It was nice to have some Cancer survivors stop by the table as well, they were very excited and grateful that we were throwing the bake sale. A lot of people were interested in the organization itself and were thrilled to know that anybody could participate by throwing their own bake sale. Overall it was an amazing experience!”
Giny’s bake sale raised more than $1200. Right now, every penny of that money is needed to improve treatments for more than a dozen types of pediatric cancer. But someday, sooner than later, a $1200 bake sale will include the single dollar needed to put the first cure for a pediatric cancer into use for real patients and real families. And when that day comes, we’ll all take a happy cruise together.