Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Blog

A Mother’s Love

Filed under: childhood cancer research,kids fighting cancer — The Good Cookies @ 11:24 am May 8, 2015

Gretchen with Baby LiamMy friend Rachel Graff Kirkham asked me to write a guest post for her blog for Mother’s Day. To be honest, I didn’t want to do it. I haven’t written a blog post since my snuggle bunny died. It’s too hard. It’s too scary. My muse and the whole reason why I started writing in the first place is no longer here. I have been afraid to trust my feelings and share my thoughts. I have been afraid that I didn’t have anything to say that anyone would want to read. I have been afraid that now that I’ve suffered the greatest loss any mommy can suffer, anything I write would be a downer and turn people away, not inspire them to get involved. When Liam was here, the Prince Liam the Brave blog served as a way to update people on his battle against cancer. His indomitable spirit was so inspiring. His face was irresistibly cute. His squeaky voice stopped people in their tracks. His loss is still very present and raw for me. In fact, just writing these words about him makes my heart swell with love and sorrow. He was just shy of his 7th birthday when he died. His birthday was close enough that he was already making plans for how he wanted to celebrate. His birthday is coming up in a few days on May 13th. He would be 11. I wonder what he’d be like as an 11 year old. But I digressed…a friend asked me to help her out and, well, as anyone who knows me knows….I have a hard time saying no.  So, I said I’d try to come up with something for her. And then I started counting sheep because I couldn’t sleep. What did I get myself into? What if I couldn’t find any words to say? What if nothing I wrote made sense to anyone other than me, the mommy with the broken heart? What if having a broken heart meant anything I had to say would be tainted? I don’t know if I do have anything to say, but I’m giving it a shot. 

 I don’t know if this is “good” or something anyone will want to read. But it’s from my heart to yours on Mother’s Day.

 XO x Million, Gretchen

On May 13th, 2004 I became a mother. Liam was born 5 weeks early, on a Thursday, three days before Mother’s Day. From the moment I saw him, I knew what the true meaning of life was about and also that life as I knew it would never be the same. Life was about someone else. Life was about giving life. Life was about taking care of my baby boy with a button nose and face so cute that it nearly brought me to tears every time I looked at him. Life was about loving with every fiber of my being.

Liam spent about 10 days in the NICU, and I spent those days sitting next to his incubator talking to him, stroking his body to make sure he could feel his mommy touching him and thinking about his future and everything it had to hold. That first Mother’s Day feels like a lifetime ago. That first Mother’s Day feels like yesterday. That first Mother’s Day, when I was less than a week into motherhood, I knew my job was to protect my sweet baby boy.

When Liam was diagnosed with stage IV cancer less than three years later – on February 26th, 2007 – being a mommy took on a new meaning. I was now fighting for my child’s life. Fighting for my child’s life. How did that happen? How did my sunny, funny sweet baby boy have the very disease that claims the lives of more children than any other? I breastfed him for a year. I ate the right foods. I didn’t do any of the things people associate with cancer from getting sunburns to smoking. I did everything I was supposed to do and didn’t cut corners on anything. But here I was in a place I never in a million years could have dreamed – fighting for the life of my son, my only son and his sister Ella’s only sibling, against a disease I couldn’t see and hadn’t detected other than a mother’s gut intuition that something wasn’t quite right with my picky eater.

The role of being a mother became one of lioness, protector and advocate.

The Mother’s Days we marked during his battle with cancer were vibrantly poignant. Liam’s birthday and Mother’s Day are always close to each other. The day of Liam’s birthday, the reason I became a mommy, usually falls within days of the day on which moms are celebrated. Each Mother’s Day during his battle took on a whole new meaning. Instead of a day that celebrated me as “the mom,” I thought about how lucky I was to even be a mommy. It wasn’t about me, but about my children and the gift they gave me. And motherhood is a gift of and for the heart and soul.

And then Liam’s battle was over. And the world became very dark.

My snuggle bunny was gone. Forever.

And I didn’t understand why I was a mother.

I couldn’t even do the most basic thing I’m supposed to do as a mother: protect my child.

It was 2011. The year that Liam’s birthday and Mother’s Day fell on the same day.

It was so cruel. Or was it?

Maybe it was a sign to keep going in honor of my snuggle bunny.

My daughter Ella has given me the gift of experiencing motherhood in a completely different way than I ever could have imagined. In her gentle wisdom that no child her age should have, Ella taught me to learn to love life through a new lens and live with loss. We wade through the landscape of loss and are there for each other in a very special way.

I often wonder if it would have been better to have not become a mother in order to protect myself from the searing pain I feel each morning when I wake up and realize it’s not a bad dream – Liam really isn’t here. But with that pain comes the privilege of always being Liam’s and Ella’s mommy. And it’s the gift of being their mommy that has given me the strength and conviction to do everything I can to help other mommies love their snuggle bunnies by doing everything I possibly can to battle the cowardly foe that preys on our children.

Being a mother gave me a gift of love so great that I want to move mountains. I am so grateful to have been given that gift first by Liam and then Ella. Being a mother for me means I will live the rest of my life trying to do anything and everything I can to help other mothers by funding research into treatments that can give children hope. I have to. It’s what Liam would want me to do. And when I finally see him again, I know it’s the very first question he’ll have for me after we hug and kiss and kiss and hug and hug and kiss…. “Mommy, did you make it better for others?”

Liam, thank you for giving me the gift of motherhood. Because of you, every day is Mother’s Day.

Mommy loves you.

Mommy misses you, Snuggle Bunny. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift life has to offer.

Good Cookie Spotlight: AG Middle School Soccer Teams

Filed under: community fundraising ideas,kids fighting cancer — The Good Cookies @ 8:35 am June 20, 2014

Alexander Graham Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Fundraiser, by Brooke Goodrum (Teacher and Soccer Coach)

During the 2014 spring athletic season, the Alexander Graham Middle School boys’ and girls’ soccer teams had the opportunity to participate in a fundraiser for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. The inspiration for this fundraiser came from one of the student-athletes on the girls team. This student-athlete lost her younger brother to Neuroblastoma earlier in the school year, and her family had become very involved with the organization. The teams began their fundraiser by asking friends, family and neighbors for pledges per goal. The pledges ranged from $1 per goal to $10 per goal. By the end of the season, the girls’ team had scored 38 goals and the boys team had scored 23! To culminate the fundraiser, the school hosted a “Spring Spirit Night” on the last home game of the season. At this game, the school accepted donations, sold t-shirts and donated their give-back check from KONA Ice of Fort Mill directly to the foundation. In addition to all of these efforts, the fundraiser also qualified for a match from King Arthur Flour as part of its $25,000 donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer this spring. Before the match, the teams raised $4,911.50, making the total donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer $9,823! The teams and school are so honored to be able to donate money to such a great cause and look forward to continuing this donation tradition.

2014 Alexander Graham Middle School Girls and Boys Soccer Teams

2014 Alexander Graham Middle School Girls and Boys Soccer Teams

 

Love Notes to Cookies

Filed under: childhood cancer research,kids fighting cancer — The Good Cookies @ 11:10 am February 7, 2014

The season of love is here! To celebrate, our friends at Bormioli Rocco are sharing love notes they’ve written for us throughout the month of February. Let their sweet words inspire you to share the love!

Friday, February 7:

Patrick, VP of Sales at Bormioli Rocco:

Bormioli Rocco and Cookies for Kids' Cancer, Patrick #LoveNote“Our organization gives because I believe all of us have a decision to make when you see unfair situations like the under-funding of pediatric cancer research… you either look on in empathy or you get off the sidelines and take action. We choose to join the fight. Supporting Cookies for Kids Cancer is a simple and fun way to make a difference.

Cookies for Kids Cancer brings family, friends, communities and co-workers together for a common cause. Bake sales are a simple act, but every sale matters with Cookies… every single dollar raised goes directly to find cures for pediatric cancer. You see the impact of every cookie you bake… every cookie makes a difference! Shine like a Star this February… join us in the fight.”

Don’t forget – Bormioli Rocco is matching funds raised at events hosted this month! Register to host a bake sale in your area today, and remember to select Bormioli Rocco as your inspiration so your funds will be matched! Register your February event TODAY.

Wednesday, February 12:

Mike, a member of the Bormioli Rocco Sales Team.

MIKE“In 2011 my wife, Mary, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. Just one year removed from the birth of our first and only child – it hit us like a ton of bricks and challenged what was supposed to be the happiest time in our lives. In spite of her health, Mary’s resilience, strength and dedication to our son and family were truly inspiring. I am forever in awe of her toughness and positive outlook both then and now.

We, like many others, have been be affected by cancer. We’ve seen firsthand how it affects the lives of a patient, their loved ones, and everyone around them. To fully understand the impact of cancer and to think of how that affects a child and their family is heartbreaking. Thankfully for us, Breast Cancer is one of the most talked about, heavily funded, and most recognized forms of cancer in the world. As a result, Mary is on a path to being cured. Yet there are countless forms of cancer that are under-researched, rarely discussed, and underfunded. Pediatric Cancer is among them.

Gretchen’s vision of bringing forward such a serious topic via a fun and energetic charity is ingenious. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is providing families impacted by pediatric cancer the same positive result that my family is blessed with. I commend the team at Cookies for all of their efforts and what they have done to raise funding and awareness of this horrible disease. I am proud to work for Bormioli Rocco – a company that stands side by side, joined in the fight with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.”

Monday, February 17:

Kate, a member of the Bormioli Sales Team:

BRocco KateEvery day, we are inspired in our fight alongside Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Kate from our Sales Team shares why @Cookies for Kids Cancer is very close to her heart and why she supports this worthy cause.

“My little cousin Dylan was nine years old when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2010.  I remember thinking how unfair that a child like Dylan, so gentle, genuine, hopeful, and trusting by nature would have to deal with such a cruel and relentless disease.  I remember thinking about his family, and how impossible it must be to watch your child, your brother, suffer unimaginable pain, feeling so many times like all you can do is watch.  The agony of being on the sidelines while someone you love faces hardship is something that everyone can relate to, but so few have solutions for.

I was profoundly touched when I found out that Bormioli Rocco would partnering with Cookies for Kids Cancer.  Hearing the story of how Cookies started, and what Gretchen is doing in her son Liam’s memory really spoke to that feeling of “being sidelined” that I experienced when my cousin was sick.  What this organization does speaks to an important fact:  even though you may feel that you can’t do anything, that is the opposite of the truth.  Every hug, every prayer, every dollar, and every cookie makes a difference.

Dylan became a cancer Survivor in July 2011 after nine months battling the disease.  My hope is that through Bormioli Rocco’s support of Cookies for Kids Cancer, we will see many more grants that are on the sidelines get the funding they need to move forward, so that many more children will win their fight, too.”

Please register to host a bake sale in your area and remember to select Bormioli Rocco as your inspiration: http://bit.ly/1b5CS6F

Friday, February 21:

Lisa with the Bormioli Sales Team shares why she supports Cookies for Kids’ Cancer:

lisa“What I love most about supporting Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is the direct impact and tangible results that our donations have on pediatric research. The folks at Cookies for Kids’ Cancer are great about keeping supporters informed on where the money is being spent and breakthroughs that have happened as a result.

In December, we learned of an exciting breakthrough in Leukemia treatment by Dr. Stephan Grupp and the team at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, made possible in part by funds raised by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  It’s great to know you’re helping create a better future for children affected by pediatric cancer.” To read about Dr. Grupps research, please click: http://bit.ly/19Vxc46

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, February 24:

Laurie with the Bormioli Communications Team:

Laurie“I first heard about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer four years ago, which is when I met the founders Gretchen and Larry and their family. I was so inspired by their ability to take their experience with pediatric cancer and create such an accessible way for anyone to become involved and help.

When I learned that childhood cancer research receives the least amount of funding, and yet is the number one disease killer of children, I was flabbergasted. How could that be possible? Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is changing the way we not only talk about childhood cancer, but it’s helping families and communities not to feel so helpless. Baking cookies is fun. Hosting a bake sale is fun.

When each dollar raised can be donated to help fund safe treatments for kids, that makes this challenge a little easier while also making it better for all children and their families in this fight.”

Please get involved by registering to host a bake sale. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer will help you each step of the way: http://bit.ly/1b5CS6F. Please remember to select Bormioli Rocco as your inspiration to bake.

 

 

Good Cookie, Reid Bond

Filed under: community fundraising ideas,kids fighting cancer — The Good Cookies @ 7:37 am November 14, 2012

It all started with a bet. 11-year-old Reid’s father bet his son that he could not go until January 1 without junk food. Reid continued to keep his side of the bet, but wanted to go trick-or-treating with his friends. Instead of collecting candy that he could not eat, Reid gathered donations for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Below is Reid’s  letter explaining his contribution. To read other Good Cookie stories, follow the link.

Celebrating Liam Witt – a message from Bob Woodruff

Filed under: kids fighting cancer — Tags: — The Good Cookies @ 1:45 pm February 15, 2011

Dear Friends,

On Monday, January 24th, the world lost Liam Witt – a gentle, inquisitive child who loved life and lived it to its fullest. . .a brave, sweet little boy who endured so much without complaint and inspired his parents each day with courage and love. The son of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer founders Gretchen and Larry Witt, Liam will forever be the inspiration for their mission to fund new, less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer.

Twenty-four hours ago at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in New York City, I joined hundreds of friends and family to celebrate the life of Liam. In the time since Liam’s memorial service, nearly 50 families in this country received the very same news the Witts received four years ago: Your child has cancer – the disease that kills more children in this country than any other. Tomorrow, about 50 more will get that same news, and in an instant those families will learn what is impossible to accept – cancer can impact any child. It happens every day.

So, how can we help these families? How can we improve their odds? How can we save more kids?

Yesterday, surrounded by those who knew Liam best, the answer seemed quite clear to me.

Together, we can honor Liam best by continuing the fight against pediatric cancer.

You don’t have to know lion-hearted Gretchen and Larry Witt to be inspired by their example. After learning that Liam had a 30 percent chance of survival, they focused every spare second they had on increasing support for and funding  of new, less toxic therapies in an unbelievable effort to save Liam’s life and the lives of so many other innocent children.

Yesterday I made a resolution in Liam’s name. I vowed to honor this amazing child and his valiant family by taking specific action to advance pediatric cancer research.

Today I ask that you join me.

I can’t think of a better way to show support not only to Liam’s family but to all families in the fight against pediatric cancer than to get involved.

Yesterday, I called my resolution the “Prince Liam Pledge.” Today, I ask you to join me by vowing, in Liam’s name, that the 50 kids who get his diagnosis today will have a better outcome than he did. Every child deserves it. And there is arguably no better way to honor the bravest person most of us have ever known.

With sincerest thanks,

Bob Woodruff

ABC News Anchor

An update on Liam, the inspiration for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer

Filed under: kids fighting cancer — The Good Cookies @ 10:54 am July 31, 2009

As many of you know, our Brave Prince Liam returned to battle this summer – facing first a high-dose round of chemo, followed yesterday by a long, intense surgery. Liam is the reason for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. As if the horrific diagnosis of pediatric cancer wasn’t enough, his mom and dad found the statistics of pediatric cancer unacceptable. There are too few treatment options, too many damaging side-effects, and too little funding to support treatments that are ready and waiting for all pediatric cancer warriors.

Earlier this week, Liam’s mommy Gretchen wrote in an email, “It’s not a lack of knowledge that’s holding us back which, as a parent, is the most frustrating part. It’s a lack of awareness which leads to a lack of funding.”

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is about raising awareness and raising funding. We’re here to move the needle, move the ball forward, move any of you out there to join our movement to change the scary statistics of pediatric cancer for the better, forever.

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is not about one kid or one kind of cancer. But it is about one source of inspiration – Liam. If you are interested in following Liam’s progress, we invite you to stay updated through our Facebook fan page or the family blog: www.princeliamthebrave.blogspot.com.

Nathaniel – one precious Cookie

Filed under: kids fighting cancer — The Good Cookies @ 7:10 pm July 14, 2009

The other day, I went to update our Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Facebook fan page only to be totally distracted by five pictures of the sweetest little boy eating yummy-looking cookies and clearly enjoying every bite. The cute face had my attention but curiosity got the best of me since I did not recognize the name of the woman who posted the images and could not tell if the beautiful little boy was simply enjoying Cookies for Kids’ Cancer cookies or eating leftovers from a bake sale. With no other explanation attached to the pictures, I decided to be nosy and reach out to the poster in hopes of learning more. Sometimes being nosy pays off. . .in response to my note, I received the note below. . .

” I wish I could say that we’d done a bakesale but we haven’t yet. We’re in LA and I can’t think of a good place to hold one, and our schedule is pretty hectic now catching up on all the stuff we didn’t do during Nathaniel’s treatment.

What we did instead of a bake sale was promote Cookies for Kids’ Cancer at a party we had for Nathaniel to celebrate the end of his neuroblastoma treatment and thank everyone who was so supportive throughout it. We wanted to get the word out about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer since lots of our friends have asked for ways to help out. We made up goodie bags for each of the guests at the party, with one of each flavor of the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer cookies and a thank-you note that included the website to order more cookies online.

When we gave them out we told Nathaniel’s story and how impressed we were with the neuroblastoma program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and let everyone know that they could order cookies and direct the proceeds to that program. Everyone loved the delicious cookies and will hopefully order more for themselves and as gifts now that they know how good they are and what a great cause they support! We had extra bags so we gave those out to my former co-workers and the team my husband is training with for a triathlon that benefits oncology at Children’s Hospital LA, and it sounds like a lot more people will be ordering your cookies online!

I’m from Santa Cruz and grew up eating Pacific Cookie Co. cookies (my dad had a retail store near their original, pre-earthquake store downtown) so I was delighted to find that that’s where you order your cookies from!

We’ll keep getting the word out about your organization and maybe find a way to do a bakesale one of these days!”

My jaw dropped. The beautiful face I saw on our Facebook page is one of a survivor – a little boy only 20 months old who has already faced pediatric cancer. And the yummy cookies the survivor was eating? None other than the cookies we sell right here on our website, year round, in an ongoing effort to raise money to support pediatric cancer research. And why, you might ask, did I not post Nathaniel’s beautiful face on our blog? Well, you are welcome to see him, but you’ll have to go to our Facebook page. And become a fan. Nathaniel’s face is totally worth the effort!

www.facebook.com/cookiesforkidscancer

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