Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Blog

Tough Cookie Levi

Filed under: Tough Cookies — 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

Tough Cookie Abby

Filed under: Tough Cookies — 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.

 abbybutton

Tough Cookie Bailee

Filed under: Inspire,Tough Cookies,Uncategorized — The Good Cookies @ 12:20 am

Bailee’s mom shares her Tough Cookie’s story

Bailee was born with Down syndrome as well as a congenital heart defect.  At five months of age she had open-heart surgery to correct the heart defect.  We were aware that children with DS are at a slightly higher risk for leukemia but never thought it would happen.  Last fall, our family was busy with work, daycare, and daily life when, on October 6, 2015, three weeks before her third birthday, Bailee was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. In the weeks leading up to her diagnosis, she experienced severe bruising, unexplained illness, nose bleeds, and petechia (spots caused by bleeding into the skin). The past year has been tough on Bailee, as well as our family.  It’s been hard to see her sick from the disease and treatments. We spent her birthday and her sister’s birthday in the hospital. In some ways it feels like our lives stopped and the rest of the world went on without us. Fortunately, we were able to be together, as a family. Bailee is approaching one year in treatment and doing well. She will start preschool in a few weeks, and she’s happy to be able to do the things she loves again. Bailee enjoys going to the park, painting, playing with her little sister JoJo and her doggie Lucy. Our family is hopeful that the hardest part of our battle is over, but we realize we still have a long way to go.

Last September our family knew very little about childhood cancer. Today, we want to do what we can to spread awareness and make a difference. 

Read more about Kids Who Inspire Us here.

 Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 3.56.30 PM

September 1 2016

Filed under: Good Cookies,Tough Cookies,Uncategorized — The Good Cookies @ 8:20 pm September 1, 2016

toughcookies_header

1b53f9d0-9fa1-4ec3-9320-0264b46cbf9c

Join the Good Cookie Movement

Good Cookies across the country are honoring this important month by participating in our 50 States Challenge. Supporters from coast to coast and even across the border in Canada are holding events from bingo nights to bake sales. This is the 3rd year of the challenge which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for critically needed research into the number one disease killer of children in the U.S. With less than 4% of cancer research dollars directed towards children, efforts like this one are vitally important to make up the funding gap. It’s not too late to join us!

 

45ad6329-20c5-48f3-8766-59e580ea3c76

 

 

7d60787a-0f14-472f-835c-c38ff3d735cd

Starting Today, OXO to DOUBLE Funds Raised!

There’s no better time than NOW to host an event. Beginning today, OXO is doubling funds raised through grassroots events up to $100,000! OXO has been a true champion of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer since the very first days, but they want YOU to be a partner in this effort. Can’t host an event in September? No problem. The match period lasts until December 31st. Or, look for an event in your area and join forces. As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work.”

7290120c-3519-4ac8-b731-c9d31de1f23c

 

 

5a248ee4-25df-4e29-b6c4-965dab8a82dc

ASICS’ Sole Impact

The 2016 Accelerate Hope™ collection of sneakers benefiting Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is available! Buying a pair not only triggers a donation, but also raises awareness by sporting a limited edition sneaker designed specifically to honor childhood cancer. Each and every pair features a gold ribbon, the official color of childhood cancer, stitched on the heel as a show of support for the thousands of children battling cancer. You don’t have to run a marathon to wear these sneakers – but if you do, make every stride count for kids’ cancer and send us a picture!

d921bcb6-adf4-48e8-a17f-e928c9e52bbc

 

8edea69a-0996-46b6-8a92-6904d74b59cb

Free Shipping on Cookies Honoring Children

During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, shipping is FREE when you send Cookies in Honor of Kids Who Inspire Us . These baked-to-order custom-packed boxes include a hand-picked ribbon color and an insert with the story of an inspiring child. Surprise someone who deserves to know they’re appreciated – the nurses at your pediatrician’s office, the teenager who has been mowing your lawn all summer, your local farmer, or someone who is always going the extra mile. Every box directs 100% of the profits to research at the nation’s leading pediatric cancer centers.

60f6b106-5531-4fb8-a55b-6ea6af25526c