Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Blog

Letter from Dana Farber Cancer Institute Proves the Power of a Good Cookie

Filed under: About Cookies for Kids' Cancer,Donations,Inspire — The Good Cookies @ 7:02 am April 9, 2013

Brownie Brittle Creator Sheila G.’s Inspiring Story

Filed under: About Cookies for Kids' Cancer,Inspire — The Good Cookies @ 6:52 am

In early 2012, I learned of the organization called Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. I knew immediately that I needed to do something for this cause…it was personal. You see, my stepson, Scott Geller, was fighting for his own life at that time. He was 32 years old and fought for over a year against a type of cancer only seen in children.

On April 25th, that childhood cancer took the life of Scott. He asked me on more than one occasion that if he wasn’t sick, would I have a job for him in my company. I promised him there would be.Two weeks after his death, I participated in my first Cookie for Kids’ Cancer bake sale. The organizers of the bake sale even made sure I had photos of Scott at my table so I would know he was with me. He was.

As soon as I met Gretchen Holt Witt, Founder of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, we made a connection two women wish they never shared, the loss of a child. This was a connection we couldn’t and wouldn’t ignore. It was a connection we would use to make this world a better place. Fighting for these kids and this cause was where Scott would find his job.

How can you get involved? Join me in the fight against childhood cancer by hosting your own bake sale, purchasing cookies from cookiesforkidscancer.org,  or making a donation to their cause. In addition, starting in the summer of 2013, you will be able to contribute simply by purchasing one of our specially marked packages that carry the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer logo on the back. Part of the proceeds from the sale of these packages will go directly to fund Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

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The Power of a Good Cookie

Filed under: Donations,Inspire — The Good Cookies @ 9:39 am March 15, 2013

At Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, when we say every single dollar counts, we mean it. The funding we provide for pediatric cancer research is made possible because Good Cookies nationwide (and even in other countries) are joining the fight by doing what they can.

It takes just $100,000 to fund a pediatric cancer research project, and yet 25% of children diagnosed with cancer don’t survive due to lack of funding for more effective, less harmful treatments.

With less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget allocated for pediatric cancers (that’s for ALL pediatric cancers), we can’t progress without support from people like you.

The biggest misconception about donating or fundraising is that a few dollars here and there can’t possibly make a difference. That couldn’t be further from the truth. When you have enough people, even the smallest acts of kindness can make a world of difference. That’s the power of people; that’s Good Cookie Power! Just think about this:

  1. About 850,000 people are expected to attend the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Boston this year. If each one of those people donated  just $1 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, we could fund 8 new, potentially life-saving pediatric cancer research projects.
  2. An estimated 4.3 million people ride the NYC subway every single day? If each of them donated just $2 (the cost of one subway token/ride) to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, we could fund 86 research projects! ($8.6 million).
  3. Around 35 million people in the U.S. alone tune in for the Oscars each year. If each person tuning in donated just $1 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, we could fund 350  pediatric cancer research projects.
  4. The Daytona Speedway seats over 165,000. If every person attending the Daytona 500 this Sunday gave JUST $1, we could fund a pediatric cancer research grant. If each gave $150, an average ticket price, 245 grants could be funded.
  5. It costs $180,000 PER HOUR to run Air Force One, and the federal budget allows for practically unlimited use. It costs $100,000 to fund a pediatric cancer research project, yet 25% of kids diagnosed don’t survive due to lack of funding for new treatments. We can’t change Air Force One’s funding, but we CAN help improve pediatric cancer statistics. Host an event, order cookies or donate online. Every dollar counts.

Join the conversation online – @Cookies4kids    #GoodCookiePower

Good Cookie Spotlight: Three High School Students Making a Difference

Filed under: Inspire — The Good Cookies @ 11:17 am March 4, 2013

Stefanie Scott, Official Good Cookie Ambassador

Hi Everyone!  My name is Stefanie Scott. You may know me as Lexi on the Disney Channel show, A.N.T. Farm! I’ve always loved to bake – especially chocolate chip cookies for my brother.

So, when I heard about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, I had to get involved. Right now, more than 40,000 kids across the country are battling cancer. And I want to do my part to raise awareness and funds to help give each of those kids hope for a bright tomorrow.

I know that kids and teens want to make a difference, and with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, it’s easy and fun. One of the things I love about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is they offer ways to support the cause that anyone can do!

The most important part – Being a Good Cookie. What does that mean? It means that you find a way to help raise money for pediatric cancer research that works for you. I like to bake, so a bake sale makes sense for me. But kids across the country are getting involved in lots of ways. Some are running 5k races – others are organizing entire 5ks in honor of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. From kickball tournaments to penny drives…No matter how you do it, BEING a Good Cookie makes a difference.

That’s why I want to do everything I can to help Cookies for Kids’ Cancer spread the word, and to show people my age that there is something we can do. I’m asking you to join me in becoming a member of the Good Cookie Club. Gather friends, family, classmates and neighbors, and host an event at your school, church or local business. Together we can, AND WE WILL, make a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Chandler Polakov, Calabasas, CA

I’ve always heard people telling stories about how a significant event or person changed their life. For me, it was the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Charity. Let me explain. My mom showed me a magazine ad about the charity. It explained how Gretchen Witt inspired people to have bake sales to raise money for pediatric cancer research. I thought, “I can do that!” So, I contacted my friends and had my first bake sale in 2009.

I couldn’t believe how many friends came out and even brought their friends and families to help. That little bake sale turned out to be a huge success. So much that when I started high school 3 years ago, I formed a club at my school to benefit Cookies For Kids’ Cancer.

It was easy; I just asked one of my teachers to sponsor the club and filled out the required forms. After the 1st club rush, we had over a hundred sign-ups, and I knew the club would be a success.

Now, the club is one of the largest at the school, and every year we have several bake sales to raise money for the charity. It’s hard to believe that reading a magazine ad about raising money for pediatric cancer would have such a profound effect on my life, but it did. I’m always thinking about new ideas for bake sales and how to inspire others to help. Just as Cookies For Kids’ Cancer has become a big part of my life, I encourage you to have a bake sale and see how it will change yours.

Abbey Rogers, Charlotte, NC

As a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Myers Park High School, I was asked to complete a project that gave me the opportunity to research and create a product on the topic of my choice. I wanted to do something that would make a difference, so I chose to start a Cookies for Kids’ Cancer 5K Race and Bake Sale.

I was inspired by a family friend, Grier, who was diagnosed at 2 ½ years old with stage-four cancer. Since his diagnosis, Grier and his family fight hard every day to battle this terrible disease. Grier is an amazing little boy, enduring endless rounds of chemo, needles, medicines – and keeps on fighting each day. His determination and spirit inspired me to do what I can to help raise awareness and find a cure for pediatric cancer so other families do not have to endure this difficult circumstance.

The first annual Cookies for Kid’s Cancer 5K and Bake Sale took place on St Patrick’s Day 2012. On this glorious spring day, we had over 350 runners and raised more than $14,000. Young and old came out to support the cause by opening up their hearts and their wallets.

I continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity and commitment of local businesses, volunteers, friends and family – this event was a success because of their concern and support for children like Grier. The event required countless hours of planning, follow-ups and organization for 6 months, but I can say that the life lessons I take with me from this experience are invaluable. I look forward to this year’s event being even bigger and better than the last.

Letters of Love

Filed under: About Cookies for Kids' Cancer,Inspire — The Good Cookies @ 1:57 pm February 6, 2013

Two years ago, on Valentine’s Day, hundreds of people gathered in New York City to commemorate and celebrate the life of Liam Witt, the little boy whose parents founded Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Despite everything he went through, Liam always put others first. He loved unconditionally, and with all his heart. At his memorial, everyone was given a call to action: to always try to “Love Like Liam.”

This Valentine’s Day, the small but dedicated team that runs the organization’s daily operations are sharing the stories of how they became involved, and in their own ways are Loving Like Liam.

Emily Fowler – Executive Director

Someone recently asked me to name my proudest Cookies for Kids’ Cancer moment. That’s simple – the moment I reached out and said, “I want to help.”

It was August 20, 2008 – Gretchen’s birthday as a matter of fact – and I was emailing in response to a simple “call to action” from a week earlier. For the last 18 months, Gretchen and her husband Larry had taken friends, family and even total strangers (like me) along on the journey of their son Liam’s battle with pediatric cancer on their “Prince Liam, the Brave” blog. I’m not much of a blogger, but their words and stories and passion for their son kept me reading each new post. No matter the ups and downs of Liam’s journey, I never doubted that their love would guide Liam through his battle and on to a life of limitless potential.

In August 2008, Gretchen and Larry announced they were taking their holiday cookie concept from 2007 and turning it into a national non-profit by asking individuals to get involved by hosting bake sales nationwide. Gretchen’s birthday wish was for one thing: for everyone reading the blog to join their mission to help fight pediatric cancer, one cookie at a time.

As a mom of two very young and healthy little boys, I knew right then that the very least I could do was help. Did I want to host a bake sale? Sure. That sounded easy enough. Did I want to make a difference – to do my small part to help their giant vision? Absolutely, without a doubt.

I often say the email I sent to Gretchen that day was the beginning of a conversation that has never stopped. Somehow the simple act of raising my hand and saying, “I’ll help,” changed my life forever. But mostly, I hope it will forever change the lives of children diagnosed with pediatric cancer – today, tomorrow and even years from now.

Nicole Fiehler – Director of Supporter Relations

There is nothing like a cancer diagnosis to turn a temporary job into a more permanent position. I had been working for a family with four young boys when the youngest, Taylor, was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2007.  He was just 2-years-old at the time.  The day of his diagnosis became the beginning of a whole new job: keeping life as normal as possible for his three brothers, while Taylor fought the battle of his life. “Normal” was the goal, but there was also fear, sadness, frustration and so many questions that I did not know how to answer.

In addition to helping with his brothers, I hung out with Taylor, taking him on long walks on cold January days, because being outside distracted him from the discomfort of treatment. I did whatever was needed so that Taylor’s mommy could keep things running as smoothly as possible for the rest of her family. And through it all, I was so aware that I had a front row seat to cancer—pediatric cancer—and the helpless way a parent feels when all they want is to make their child feel better.  This intimate experience placed in my heart a desire to make sure other little boys and girls had the same amazing outcome as Taylor.

When Taylor was finishing up treatment, his parents planned a big festival to celebrate.  Taylor’s mom asked me to help incorporate a bake sale into the event.  She had heard of an organization called “Cookies for Kids’ Cancer,” and that they had employee in the area that could probably guide me through it.  Emily Fowler and I were acquaintances at this point, and planning a bake sale sounded easy enough, right?  Several months, 30,000 baked goods, and $15,000 later, I was hooked and determined to stay involved.

At that time, I was a stay-at-home mom to my 2-year-old son, so volunteering for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer fit into my life perfectly. I believed my small efforts could make a big difference.  Two and a half years later, my volunteer role has become much more. Each day I get to wake up knowing that I am making a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Taylor is now a happy, healthy second grader. On the sixth anniversary of his diagnosis, his mom wrote me an email, thanking me for being a part of their family during that time. She wrote, “Even when people must be at “arm’s length” in the life of a family dealing with pediatric cancer, gestures of support really do matter. Reading back through all the letters of people who told us they were cutting their hair for “Locks of Love,” or donating blood, or doing bake sales, or organizing prayer meetings reminds me of just how much of a difference those gestures can make.  Few people can play the role you did, but everyone can do something!”

It is a gift to do something each day. . .

Erin Dry – Director of Operations

Last year, I had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of women who volunteered their time and energy to host the first annual “Queen City Mom Prom.”  I was excited to help, and even more excited when I realized all the proceeds from the event would go to “Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.”  At the time, I did not know much about the organization, but I had read stories of families battling this horrible disease and my heart hurt for the pain they were going through.

When I started volunteering with “Queen City Mom Prom,” I was staying at home with my two boys. While planning the event, my dear friend, Kelly Arning, introduced me to Emily Fowler, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s Executive Director, and the Supporter Relations Director Nicole Fiehler. I was immediately impressed by their dedication, as well as the passion and energy that were behind their desire to make a difference. I knew that I wanted to be a part of such an amazing cause that helped change lives.

Prior to working with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, I had a great corporate HR job. However, the fulfillment of knowing that I was making a difference was missing. If I was going to be away from my kids, I wanted to make sure I was helping others, and I wanted my kids to see how important raising funds for pediatric cancer research was to me.  It didn’t take long for them to understand. When I told my then 5-year-old that I was going to start working with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, his immediate response was, “How can I help?” We got out the “Cowboy Cookie” recipe and made about three dozen cookies.  He packaged them, and we put them in his wagon and walked around the neighborhood selling cookies.  He made ten dollars that afternoon, and when he handed me the money he said, “Mom, will this help cure cancer?”

I knew at that moment that I wanted to do everything I could to help raise money for pediatric cancer research.  My oldest, who is six-years-old, will often ask, “Has Cookies raised enough money yet to find a cure for cancer?” I hope very soon I can answer him by saying, “Yes, we did it!  Cookies for Kids’ Cancer raised enough money to fund a research grant that found a cure for pediatric cancer.”

Meggie Smith: How to Host a Successful Bake Sale

Filed under: Bake Sale,Inspire — The Good Cookies @ 1:04 pm October 29, 2012

Today’s guest blogger, Meggie Smith is a fourth year medical student at New York University.  As a past bake sale host, Meggie offers her tips for how to host a successful bake sale.

My life has crisscrossed with pediatric cancer more times that I would have liked. In 1991, my brother passed due to complications from neuroblastoma, the same type of cancer that took Liam Witt’s life. In addition, a girl in my preschool class had a below the knee amputation due to cancer, my high school best friend’s sister had a brain tumor, and, most recently, my brother’s tennis buddy has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. Thus, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a charity I am passionate about.

Last year, I hosted a bake sale for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, raising $1,200 for pediatric cancer research. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a charity started by my friend, Gretchen Witt, who started the organization after her son, Liam, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at age two. Gretchen was frustrated that many of the potential therapeutic treatments for children’s cancers were unavailable due to lack of funding for new therapies for pediatric cancer. So, Gretchen took it upon herself to host a cookie sale around Christmas 2007 to raise funds herself. By selling all 96,000 cookies, Gretchen raised over $400,000!

I am most inspired by what Gretchen and the Cookies team is striving to do – make sure no parent hears, “We have this treatment, but it isn’t available yet.”

In planning my next bake sale, I made a list of some of my top bake sale tips. I hope they help you if you’re planning one, too!

TWO-THREE MONTHS BEFORE:

1. Pick a date, location, and rain check location. Look for areas of high traffic and visibility.

2a. If you live in New York City and plan on having your bake sale in a city park, I suggest getting your park permit well in advance. It is fairly easy to apply through the NYC Parks and Recreation Department. I booked my space for 5 hours: 1 hour set up, 3 hours of bake sale, 1 hour of clean up.

2b. I suggest making your “sale” not so much a “sale,” but an event with suggested donations. This makes the Parks and Recreation permit easier to obtain and is much easier on the sale day itself (see below).

3. Start asking friends if they can help. Make your master list of volunteers – who wants to bake, who wants to help on the day of, who wants to make signs, so on and so forth. People will appreciate the heads up well in advance. See if you can have some vegan or gluten free options available.

4. Ask local bakeries if they are willing to donate products.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE:

1. Follow up with all of your volunteers and bakeries who are donating to make sure they are still willing to help or bake!

2. Start making signs. The Cookies For Kids’ Cancer website has great ideas and has stickers and such available for sale.

3. Find something to put money in. I suggest the OXO Pop Containers. They do not lock so do make sure someone is watching the money at all times!

ONE WEEK BEFORE:

1. If you are picking up baked goods from anyone, schedule how you will make your rounds.

2. Make an emailable flyer to send to your friends and/or post on social media sites (twitter, facebook, etc).

3. Pre-make cookie dough and freeze it. Will make day before baking much quicker!

DAY OF:

1. Allow at least 1 hour of set up.

2. Have people give a donation for a baked good, rather than selling them for a specific price. I used a $2 minimum for each item. This helps prevent confusion with money exchange and speeds things up if it gets rather crowded.

3. Send people out into the periphery of the park or a few streets over with a few baked goods to sell. This will help attract more crowds, too!

Good luck planning your event!

“Loss is not the end. It’s merely an invitation to change.”

Filed under: About Cookies for Kids' Cancer,Inspire — The Good Cookies @ 10:32 am October 4, 2012

Guest blogger and author of Those We Love Most, Lee Woodruff, reminds us that books can do good in the world. Throughout her book tour, Lee continues to spread Liam’s love throughout the country, inspiring individuals to support Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. To learn more about Lee Woodruff, visit www.leewoodruff.com.

I’ve known Gretchen Holt Witt for almost 20 years.  And when her son Liam was diagnosed with cancer, all of us were connected in the spirit of battle.  While I was writing the book, “Those We Love Most,” Liam was valiantly battling through another relapse.  By the time the book was complete, he had lost his battle and Gretchen was busy keeping Liam’s legacy alive through Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. What started with Gretchen baking hundreds of thousands of cookies to raise the money to put a drug into production had become a national non-profit foundation, focused on giving children like Liam the hope they deserve. She continues to call upon us all to join in the fight against pediatric cancer by simply being a Good Cookie.

There is a quote I used in the book as a way to honor Liam, the Witts and all of us. “Loss is not the end.  It’s merely an invitation to change.”

I believe that books can do good things in the world.  We are all connected by the experience of loss and grief, and watching the Witt family was a reminder that human beings are resilient; that we are built to survive.  We may not ever get “over” a loss but we can get through it.  And when I saw what Liam’s legacy was, to help other kids through the magic of cookies, I realized that this book could also assist that mission. My third book is for Liam.  It is dedicated to him. And with that dedication comes a vision – to spread Liam’s love to every person I meet and to challenge them to be a part of this movement and to be Good Cookie. Join us today.  Together, let’s                                                       prove that children and books and love can truly change the world.

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