New Look. Same Mission. The Difference is YOU…

Filed under: About Cookies for Kids' Cancer,blog,Good Cookies,Inspire — The Good Cookies @ 9:21 am April 29, 2014

So, you might have noticed that we made a few changes recently! Courtesy of our friends at Smart Design who have been with us since the very beginning, we have a new look and with it, a new website which is easier to navigate and captures the essence of our organization.

We are beyond excited to share all the NEW . . .because YOU inspired these changes. When we launched nearly 6 years ago, we were driven by a belief that if we all pitched in a little, together we could make a big difference for children battling cancer today and those who will be called into battle in the future But there was a lot of faith tied up in that belief. What if no one wanted to support? What if no one hosted a single bake sale? What if no one cared?

But those worries were quickly wiped away, thanks to YOU.

With each month, new supporters register events – making the commitment to Be Good Cookies™. At first we were focused on bake sales, which is what inspired the original Kraft paper look and feel. We wanted it to feel welcoming and homemade – truly from the heart. As time goes on, the Good Cookie spirit is evolving into so much more.  You started asking, “What if I hosted a penny drive?” or “May I run a race to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer?” or “My friends and I want to host a cookie swap?” or “May I ask my friends to give to Cookies in honor of my birthday?”

As your ideas poured in, the love did too, and suddenly Good Cookie spirit was made up of individuals from all 50 states  and in multiple countries, with all kinds of talents, who all shared our belief that if we everyone does a little,  it will most certainly add up to a lot.

And indeed, it has. To date, we’ve raised more than $8 million, funded four-dozen research projects, and watched nine of these projects go to clinical trial to help treat children battling cancer today.

But a bright new logo and a new website might make you, our supporters, see dollar signs and wonder. . .how much did this new look and feel cost? The answer is simple: $0. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Not ONE penny of the funds donated by supporters went to create the new designs.

As always, it was thanks to the heartfelt support of talented individuals and companies that this project came together.
Our endless thanks goes to:

Smart Design – our brand partners extraordinaire. From day one, the passionate team at Smart helped translate our vision into a logo and website design that would quickly tell the story of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. And when we sat down with them during the week of our 5th anniversary in September, they once again dazzled us by capturing the spirit of our supporters through this new look and feel. The gifts of their time and talent can never fully be repaid, even with our deepest thanks.

Border 7 Studios – for housing our website from the beginning. Websites are much like gardens – they must be attended to daily. They are living, breathing extensions of the passion of the company or organization. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s website remains well-tended-to thanks to the ongoing loyalty of this dedicated group in California. The men and women on their team make sure anyone who comes to our site is welcomed with the Good Cookie spirit. And their spirit of generosity is vital to our organization’s growth.

Bridgetree – for developing and hosting our database, the link to every single supporter. If you have given to Cookies at an event, made a donation online, ordered our cookies, or actually hosted an event, we can find this information with the stroke of a few keys thanks to Bridgetree. As we worked to create the new website, their team served as eyes, ears, questioners, and cheerleaders to make sure that the new platform reflected the growth of the organization so the user experience would be better than ever.

Walker Marketing – putting the relations in public relations support. For nearly 18 months, the Walker Marketing team has supported Cookies in all aspects of communications, and their moment to shine was in keeping all the players moving forward in the development of the website. Endless hours of coordination, double checking links, moving pictures, and editing copy went into the finished product. We simply would not have made it to launch day without them.

We applaud these partners for not only being our friends and Good Cookies, but for being shining examples in the corporate world of supporting philanthropy through gifts and service. Their support allows us to remain true to all three pillars of our values:

  1. Targeted Focus of where dollars are spent;
  2. Innovative Engagement in the community by offering creative approaches to fundraising;
  3. Building Community through teamwork, connecting people, and making the world a place where individuals want to Be a Good Cookie™ each day.

Welcome to this new chapter at Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. We hope you are as inspired by it as we are by you.

 

 

Why I Had To

Filed under: blog,Good Cookies,Inspire — The Good Cookies @ 5:16 am

Special guest post by Jennifer Lebeau on making Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s new video, “ONE Thing”


Producing a campaign video to help raise awareness for a foundation is not new to me. Whether a documentary, a television show or a branding campaign, I tell stories for a living. That’s what I do.

Theoretically, it’s my job to make people relate to and understand the specific situation that I present to them. The thing is, it’s always surreal and somewhat of a mind warp to use the same skills I apply towards branding a company, an entertainer or a TV show… to a disease.

I got involved with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer when my friend and colleague Ken Druckerman, Executive Producer and the Co-President of Left/Right, a New York based production company, called me about an upcoming project he was going to be doing for a not-for-profit childhood cancer organization.

Pediatric Cancer is not exactly a light topic. It’s such a horrible thing to think about, we quite frankly don’t.

Who of you knew it was the #1 disease killer of children in the country? Who knew all the research focused on cancers adults contract have little to NO bearing on kids’ cancers?  Pediatric cancers aren’t “little versions” of adult brain cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer, etc.?  WHAT?!?!

If we don’t raise funds to get completely unique research and treatments going for kids’ cancer – there won’t be progress made on saving children’s lives or helping them battle the disease.

I knew none of this before I started this project. And I certainly had no idea how small government funding for the disease was. It seemed impossible in today’s world.

OK. The task at hand was becoming clear. And I can only give this credit to the tenacious and inspiring cast of characters I got to meet, and thus feature in the video.

After losing their 6-½ year old son to cancer, instead of allowing pain and grief to take over their lives, Gretchen and Larry Witt have harnessed that energy into a multi-million dollar advocacy network in the fight against pediatric cancer. Their generosity has inspired this grassroots network around the globe.  Astonishing, amazing, and powerful.

I had presumptions and expectations as I entered into my interviews with two of the country’s most high profile doctors in pediatric cancer.  As researchers, surgeons, and oncologists – they surely have a way to keep themselves from being personally affected by the disease. They would have to in order to get through day-by-day, right? I expected somewhat aloof, stoic, clinicians.

As I sat with Dr. LaQuaglia of Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Dr. Maris at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, I witnessed the opposite of my expectations. I met two brilliant scientists, whose empathy was palpable and whose emotion flowed freely. Their passion for their work was deep, and the affection for their patients and their families was equally strong. Their strength of character is nothing short of heroic.

The tragedy is nearly unthinkable, the pain mind-bending, there is no way to get used to any of this. Ask Dr. LaQuaglia or Dr. Maris. See and hear them in this video.

I had a unique experience on this project. Despite the weight of the topic, despite the sad stories, as my investment grew deeper, my spirit became lighter. It was that feeling of inspiration and hope that were the important sentiments with which we wanted to leave the viewer.

When one accepts that the current reality doesn’t have to be this way, that by acting, you can change the outcome of a pediatric cancer diagnosis…that’s when the dynamic changes.  Fear, turns into power. That is the gift of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

While I know I can’t bring back Liam Witt or any other child who has passed away from cancer, knowing I did what I could do with whatever it is I have to offer has been meaningful and important work.

I think Ken explained it best when describing how the production team was coping a midst the editing process which included repeated viewings for weeks in order to create the most effective piece possible. “We have been watching the same sequence over and over again – and we all still feel that same mix of raw emotion and a desire to do more.”

The science is there. It is possible to stop children from dying. You can make a difference.
Be a good cookie.™
 

The “ONE Thing” video was produced by Left/Right, an award-winning documentary production company. The team has been behind such hit series as The Rachel Zoe Project, United STATS of America, True Life and many more. Click here to learn more about the amazing team who generously gave their time, passion and talent to create this video for Cookies.

 
 

No Time to Wait: Government Shutdown & the Reality of Childhood Cancer

Filed under: blog,Good Cookies,Inspire — Tags: , , , , — The Good Cookies @ 2:35 pm October 15, 2013

As the shutdown further slows childhood cancer advancements, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer founder, Gretchen Holt-Witt speaks out:

As the Founder of a national pediatric cancer nonprofit, I didn’t really expect the current government shutdown to bring awareness to the cause I champion. But then, The Atlantic ran a story on October 1, heralding the “saddest paragraph of the government shutdown.”

Cookies for Kids' Cancer, Op-Ed Letter from Gretchen Holt-Witt on Government ShutdownThe article revealed that, due to the shutdown, 30 children per week scheduled for clinical trials (many of which have cancer) at the National Institutes of Health would not receive treatment. Why? Because the NIH is federally funded, and over 75% of its services are now closed due to the shutdown. So you’re saying that kids’ lives are hanging in the balance due to lack of government funds? Readers were irate – With blood boiling, they found this fact to be entirely unacceptable. But it wasn’t news to me.

Annually, less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget goes towards research for all childhood cancers combined, which happens to be the #1 disease killer of children in our country. Flip that stat around – over 96% of national funding goes towards adult cancers, leaving our nation’s future and most precious resource with not nearly enough funding for adequate innovation. So are we sitting around, boiling mad, waiting for the government to provide more funds for children? Not for one second.

In 2007, when our 2-year-old son Liam was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, our oncologist told us, “Kids with cancer don’t make headlines.”

That same day, the headlines were filled with news of White House Press Secretary Tony Snow’s cancer diagnosis. Mr. Snow made headlines because he had lived long enough to make a difference in the world. Tragically, children do not have the opportunity to make that impact when they are saddled with a cancer diagnosis. Hence, the lack of headlines featuring kids.

Soon after Liam’s diagnosis, my husband and I learned of a promising new therapy in development at the very same cancer center where Liam was receiving treatment. Only one problem: it needed funding to move from the research lab to the clinic where it would be administered to children. That was the moment we learned there is simply not enough funding from the government to move all research along. And so the cancer center – filled with some of the top oncologists in the world – was depending on individuals and small foundations to fill the gap to help make the potentially life-saving treatment available for children.

My husband and I could not stand by, waiting for government funding. We also refused to wait for others to raise the money. Instead, we started a foundation called Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Our simple mission: to inspire individuals to “Be a Good Cookie™” and raise funds for childhood cancer research.

In five short years, our grassroots supporters that hail from all 50 states and over 4,500 cities world-wide have rolled up their sleeves, raised funds, and ultimately helped fund more than three dozen research projects, with half a dozen now in clinical trials.

Our sense of urgency remains driven by the fact that in August of 2011, we learned that the same promising research in need of funding that sprung us to action was being moved into clinical trial. Our funding helped. It was a small victory in a huge battle. But the taste of success was bittersweet, as it came just 7 months after we lost our precious Liam to this cruel, relentless disease. The treatment that we worked for came to be – just a bit too late for him. We never want another family to feel our endless sense of loss combined with the aching knowledge of what might have been.

So back to those 30 children making headlines while we wait for the federal government . . . if writing a check from funds raised by supporters of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer would help, I would do it right now. As a matter of fact, we tried to cover the cost of treatments for those children. But it’s the federal government, so it’s not quite that simple.

While we cannot open the doors of the NIH for those children, we do not have to sit around and wait for our government to play nicely – like we encourage our children to do. Instead, we must take action. And we’re asking you to do what you can to get involved today. Because no matter what, our headline remains the same: BE A GOOD COOKIE.™

Gretchen Holt-Witt – Founder of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer

Good Cookie Spotlight:
Marilyn Berney

Filed under: Bake Sale,blog,Good Cookies,Inspire — The Good Cookies @ 6:56 am October 1, 2013

Westfield, NJ Annual Bake Sale

For the 3rd year in a row, Marilyn Berney rallied her group of Good Cookies together to host their annual Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sale in Westfield, NJ.

Held at the town’s “Fest-i-Fall”, this year the group was determined to raise more funds for pediatric cancer research than ever. And they succeeded, surpassing their own fundraising goal.

“We have seen an abundance of local community support.  If you stop for a minute and listen, everyone is unfortunately affected in some way by cancer,” says Marilyn.

If we each do a little, we achieve so much.”  From personal experience, she sees that many people want to help by more than writing a check. Hosting a community bake sale truly brings people together.

This year, dozens of dedicated volunteers baked, packaged goods, took turns working the booth and even secured 19 sponsors for the event! Baked goods of all kinds (you name it, they had it!) were donated by area bakeries and restaurants, including Bovella’s, Vacarro’s, Panera, Nordstrom Café, Carlo’s Bakery and Trader Joe’s. Other sponsors included, from Costco to Staples to Shop Rite, proved that nearly the entire town was on board to show their support.

And though the annual event is over, Marilyn and her Good Cookies are continuing to raise funds and awareness. Now through October 27, when they hold their “Westfield’s Girls’ Night Out” event, they’re selling paper cookies in exchange for donations. They’re even hosting an additional bake sale on the day of to bring in additional funds!

“On Sunday, I had the honor of meeting and working with so many people in the community who are dedicated to finding a cure to eradicate this disease….and we get to help in a very sweet way. I could not have pulled this event off (again) without the help of my husband, Mike, and some very “good cookies”: Amy Radick, Kerri Proper, Sasha Proper (age 8), Aiden Donahue (age 13), Marcia Lemberg, Carol Goggi, and Jackie Plant. Be sure that we THANK EACH PERSON who donated time, cookies and money to this cause from the bottom of our hearts.”

– Marilyn Berney