Letters of Love

Filed under: About Cookies for Kids' Cancer,Inspire — admin @ 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.”

Corporate Good Cookies Share the Love this February

Filed under: Bake Sale,Inspire,Uncategorized — admin @ 12:24 pm January 15, 2013

As we approach Valentine’s Day, we have a very special goal: To have at least one bake sale in every state during the month of February.

Valentine’s Day was Liam’s favorite day. To honor him and children everywhere battling cancer, we’re asking Good Cookies from coast to coast to “Love like Liam” and host an event this February. $100,000 is all it takes to get a research project off the ground. Imagine what could be accomplished if the entire country rallied together for the ultimate bake sale.

And this Valentine’s Day, we have special support from our newest corporate partner with Italian glassware company Bormioli Rocco. To sweeten the launch of this new relationship and in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Bormioli Rocco is matching every dollar raised, up to $25,000, at February Cookies for Kids’ Cancer events!

Bormioli Rocco is giving more than a match. The FIRST 100 Good Cookies to register a February event will receive a 4-piece set of Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni Jars, complete with a gift kit. We LOVE these classic canning jars. They’re perfect for filling with dry ingredients and giving as ready-to-make recipe gifts.

Up for a Challenge? Breville and OXO are giving two very delectable reasons to aim high this February. The TOP 10 fundraisers of the month will each receive a Breville Smart Oven AND an OXO Cookie Press, complete with 12 design plates for any occasion!

Register your February event today!

Bormioli Rocco Inspires Retailers to Support Nationwide Bake Sale

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:00 am January 4, 2013

In 2007, Larry and Gretchen Witt’s son Liam was diagnosed with cancer. It was then that they learned the primary reason pediatric cancer remains the number one disease killer of children is the lack of effective treatments, and that is due to one thing: a lack of funding. So, they decided to find a way to raise the funds so desperately needed for research. By 2008, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was founded.

Liam Witt was full of love. In fact, Valentine’s Day was his favorite day of the year, because a day celebrating love just made sense to him. Liam was six years old when he lost his battle with cancer in January 2011. To honor him and the love he exuded, his parents postponed his memorial until Valentine’s Day, where the message was clear: Love. Like. Liam.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, and the second anniversary of Liam’s memorial, we have a very special goal: Inspire supporters to host at least one bake sale in every single state during the month of February.

All it takes to get a pediatric cancer research project off the ground is $100,000. Imagine what could be accomplished if the entire country rallied together for an Ultimate Bake Sale, and how many lives could be saved by treatments developed from the research funded by these grants.

Senior Staff at Bormioli Rocco have supported Cookies from the beginning, but this year, they are invested in an entirely new way. To help reach our goal of bake sales in every stateduring February, Bormioli Rocco has committed to match all funds raised at bake sales in February, up to $25,000, and is asking retailers nationwide to host bake sales. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer will even provide a complimentary bake sale supply kit to retailers that register to host a February event.

Register today!

ABOUT BORMIOLI ROCCO

Bormioli Rocco, founded in 1825 in Italy, is a pioneer in the domestic and catering glass sector that has grown from a single entity into a group of business and multinational production units.  With widespread presence across the retail and foodservice channels, Bormioli Rocco has an extensive range, from wine glasses to barware, dinnerware and serve ware and a variety of products in food storage and canning.

Be Glad to Give—Host a Holiday Bake Sale or Cookie Exchange

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:25 am November 28, 2012

Make every cookie count this holiday season thanks to Glad! Glad is giving $1 per cookie sold or swapped, up to $100,000.  Register here to host an event! To host a cookie exchange, simply follow these steps:

1.  Make a guest list and ask each guest to bring four dozen cookies to swap, plus copies of their recipe. Plan for a fun evening with friends by offering hot cider to go along with the cookies.

2. Swap your cookies! At the event, set out all the cookies on one large table. Ask the guests to gather round the table and then, walking clockwise, select one cookie from each plate on the table the first time around, then two cookies from each plate the second time. Keep going until all the cookies are gone. Where should your guests collect their cookies? That’s easy – Gladware.

3.  Count cookies! Before everyone leaves the cookie swap, find out the total number of cookies from each guest. Once you have a number, simply e-mail by December 30th with the tally and watch as you and your friends help increase funding to pediatric cancer research.

And the fun doesn’t end there. To make your cookie swap a fundraiser, simply ask guests to make a donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. It’s just another way to give hope this holiday. Then, hop online and send virtual cookies to friends and family through Glad’s Mom Made website and Glad will make another donation to Cookies. Visit their website and send your cookies today! The more cookies you send, the more Glad donates!

Let’s all be Glad to Give this holiday season—Host a Bake Sale or Cookie Exchange and help bring HOPE to children battling pediatric cancer.

Meet Dr. Kim Kramer

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:50 am November 20, 2012

Dr. Kim Kramer serves on the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer medical advisory board and is an Associate Member of the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Department at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, one of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer five partner centers. Below Dr. Kramer discusses the need for funding pediatric cancer research.

“Sometimes the raw facts are too painful to acknowledge: there are some kinds of cancers for which no improvements in treatment or survival has ever been made. This is true for some childhood brain tumors, like brain stem tumors, that are always fatal. That means hundreds of children are diagnosed, and hundreds of children die, year after year, decade after decade, for over 30 years. Science doesn’t move forward without one critical element: support.

When Cookies for Kids Cancer accepted our proposal to pioneer a new type of treatment for such an illness, we sensed a glimmer of hope for these young children. Could the natural history of such a devastating illness finally be changed? This glimmer of hope is visible because amazing foundations like Cookies understand and care.”

Blogging to Make a Difference

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:50 am November 18, 2012

Our guest blogger, Jackie Gonzalez-Feezer, is baking a difference this holiday season by getting others  bloggers to host cookie swaps to benefit Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.


I never set out to be a blogger.  It just happened.  One minute I was teaching history to sweet 6th graders and planning my wedding to my high school sweetheart, then, in a blur, life happened.  I had two absolutely gorgeous daughters, one right after the other, and my life took on a whole new meaning.  I started thinking about what my impact is on the world around me.  What do I stand for?  What will my daughters think of who I am when they’re older?

So, I started a blog: a blog with a purpose.  In addition to creating recipes, delving into the world of food photography, and interacting with readers, the real point of my work is to make a difference.  Any chance I can, I use my blog to raise awareness and money for charities that help children, in America and around the world.  I work with companies, bloggers, individuals, and charities, anyone who’s willing to work together to help others.  It’s challenging, difficult at times, but rewarding every single time.

This holiday season, I am honored to be working with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  My inspiration?  A little boy named Scott.*

Scott is one of my dad’s patients.  He’s got lymphoma.  A few months ago, my dad was sitting with us at lunch and told us how sad he was to hear that one of his patients was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with lymphoma.  He’s been keeping us updated on the ups and downs Scott’s had since the diagnosis was made.  He’s been through chemo and countless complications. He’s been through what no kid should have to go through, let alone think about.

This holiday season, we all have a chance to help kids like Scott.  The great thing is Cookies has come up with a way that’s easy and super fun.  Helping raise money this holiday season is as easy as baking (and eating!) cookies!

Host a cookie swap before December 31st, and Glad will donate $1 for every single cookie at your party to pediatric cancer research. That’s right, all you have to do is bake some cookies, share them with your friends and family, and you’ll be joining the fight against cancer.

Interested?  Find out more about hosting a cookie swap here: Cookie Bakers Needed!

Please join us!   We can fight cancer, one cookie at a time!

*Name changed to protect his identity

Why Glad Cares

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:39 am November 14, 2012

Since 2009, The Glad Products Company has supported Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and their efforts to raise funds to support research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancer. Together, Glad and Cookies for Kids’ Cancer have helped inspire thousands of events which have raised more than one million dollars for this incredibly important cause.

The Glad Products Company’s partnership with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer started as a simple idea – people use Glad products to organize and store their baked goods – but it has transformed into something bigger, helping inspire people to do what they love by making and sharing food to help fight pediatric cancer.

We know that GladWare containers and Glad food storage bags play an important role in transporting and keeping baked goods fresh, but it’s the love moms share when giving food that makes us want to continue to bake a difference.

This holiday season, we are encouraging you to get involved. Glad is making cookies the new currency for spreading holiday cheer with the Glad Holiday Cookie Exchange. Simply host a Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Bake Sale or Cookie Exchange by registering the event here or exchange a virtual cookie with friends here. Glad will make a donation for every cookie exchanged or shared this November and December, up to $100,000.

Happy baking and joyous holidays from Glad!!

Good Cookie, Reid Bond

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:37 am

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.

COOKIES FOR KIDS’ CANCER GRANTS $1.15M

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:14 am November 8, 2012

COOKIES FOR KIDS’ CANCER GRANTS $1.15M TO ADVANCE PEDIATRIC CANCER RESEARCH

Funds also Support Children’s Oncology Group Phase 1 Clinical Trial Costs

CALIFON, NJ – Nov. 8, 2012 – Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a national not-for-profit organization, announces 2012 grants totaling $1.15 million to advance research for pediatric cancer, the number one disease killer of children under the age of 18 in the U.S. A portion of the funds will also be used to match Federal Government dollars allocated per child to cover Children’s Oncology Group Phase 1 trial costs.

“Most people are not aware of how little funding is directed towards pediatric cancer research,” stated Gretchen Witt, founder of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. “The assumption is that we as a nation would be doing everything we can to battle the disease that takes the lives of more children than any other. The reality of the situation couldn’t be further from the truth. Today there are still some types of childhood cancers that see more children losing their battle than winning and those who win pay a tremendous cost of long-term side effects from toxic treatments. But science can’t move forward without one critical element: Funding. As one of my son’s doctors said to me, it’s not necessarily science that’s holding us back but funding for research.”

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s Medical Advisory Board, which is comprised of top researchers in the field of pediatric cancer, are from five partner centers around the country that are dedicated to the discovery of new and improved treatments for children with cancer. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is proud to award grants to each of these five partner centers, which include Texas Children’s Cancer Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s support will help important research initiatives move forward. Time is of the essence in the development of novel therapies for childhood cancer and these grants will help important clinical research initiatives for childhood cancer expeditiously move forward,” stated Susan M. Blaney, MD, Vice Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group and Deputy Director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.

According to the National Cancer Institute, 60 percent of children under the age of 15 are treated for cancer in clinical trials, compared to about 2 percent of patients 20 to 39 years old. Participation of more children in clinical trials will help improve treatment, survival, and understanding of the types of cancers that occur in patients in this age group.

To ensure that an even greater number of children with pediatric cancer receive the care needed, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has also announced their support of the Children’s Oncology Group’s Phase 1 & Pilot Consortium. Comprised of 21 premier pediatric oncology programs throughout the country, the Consortium serves as an international model for new agent development in pediatric oncology. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer will match dollar for dollar the allowance per child enrolled  to the Children’s Oncology Group’s Phase 1 & Pilot Consortium with a goal of expanding the Phase 1 trials available in the nation and giving more children treatment options in their fight against pediatric cancer.

Dr. Peter Adamson, chair of the Children’s Oncology Group explains, “Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s support of the Children’s Oncology Group Phase 1 Consortium will help us accelerate our efforts to develop important new treatments for children with cancer. We greatly appreciate the generosity of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, and of all those who have made this possible.”

The funds granted by Cookies for Kids’ Cancer were made possible through the support of thousands of volunteers, donors, bake sales and other event hosts and corporate sponsors, including Glad, OXO, Uline, Bank of America, and King Arthur Flour. Since 2008, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has awarded nearly $4 million in grants to further their mission of supporting promising pediatric cancer research.

“With only 2% of the entire budget from the National Institutes of Health going to pediatric cancer research, funding for research is desperately needed. When we learned that our support of the COG Phase 1 Clinical trials could make a marked difference, we moved quickly to support the need,” says Larry Witt, President of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  “Our foundation and loyal supporters are now matching federal funds directed to COG phase 1 clinical studies at key centers across the country. Our support dramatically lessens the financial burden on the centers themselves who often need to raise funds to cover upwards of 80% of the cost of each trial they offer. Our support will also make it possible to increase the number of trials available, trial locations, as well as the number of patient slots open at any given time. Factors that should lead to accelerated study results and in turn to improved lifesaving therapy options for all kids fighting all types of pediatric cancer.”

ABOUT COOKIES FOR KIDS’ CANCER

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a recognized 501(c)3,was founded in 2008 by Gretchen and Larry Witt, who were inspired by their young son Liam’s courageous battle against pediatric cancer. Through the concept of local bake sales and online cookie sales, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer inspires individuals, organizations, and businesses to join in the fight against pediatric cancer by raising the funds and awareness necessary to provide more families with the hope they deserve. Thousands of bake sales and other events, raising millions of dollars, have been held in all 50 states, as well as 13 countries including Puerto Rico, Canada and the U.K. – making Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s mission of funding pediatric cancer research possible. Tragically, Liam Witt lost his four-year battle but he and all children fighting childhood cancer continues to be the organizations’ inspiration. For more information about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer visit www.cookiesforkidscancer.org, and follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cookiesforkidscancer and on Twitter @cookies4kids.

Because of You

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:00 am

Dear Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Supporter,

We are writing today to share with you our latest news – that because of you, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is granting $1.15 million to research into new, improved and less toxic therapies in the fight against pediatric cancer. This is our latest and largest round of grants and we couldn’t be more proud or humble. These funds will go to five of the top pediatric cancer research centers in the nation – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Texas Children’s Cancer Center, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Along with grants for research, we are expanding our reach by partnering with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) to support its Phase 1 Clinical Trial Consortium with a grant that matches, dollar for dollar, the Federal Government allowance per child enrolled in a Phase 1 trial. This partnership will ensure that more children will be enrolled in more clinical trials and have access to cutting edge research. It is research like this that keeps science moving forward and its support from people like you who helped make it happen.

The journey that led us to this announcement began five years ago. In the fall of 2007, we had what seemed like a crazy idea to bake and sell 96,000 cookies {8,000 dozen to be exact} during the holidays to raise money for a promising new treatment stuck on the shelf waiting for funding. We were not bakers. We were not activists. We were not even in the world of philanthropy. We were simply parents, inspired by our young son Liam’s battle with cancer.

Just months earlier our life as we knew it came to a screeching halt when a doctor told us that our seemingly healthy little boy had cancer. That bright February day began with Liam spending the morning at preschool, and ended with the cold, hard fact that a ruthless, cowardly disease was raging in our son’s body. Liam bravely battled back facing multiple rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, antibody therapy and surgeries. And as parents, we not only stood guard over Liam, ushering him through treatments, we also learned about the battle all kids diagnosed face against the #1 disease killer of children in our country.

We learned that there is a lack of safe, effective therapies for children battling cancer, and that there is one simple reason for the absence of treatment options: lack of funding. And so, we did the only thing we could do – we got involved. We decided it had to be our mission to help not just Liam but all children battling cancer. So  despite the lack of a proven organization, a brand people were familiar with, customers, or any reputation, we opened our online business in December 2007 with the hope of selling 96,000 to help fund this one new therapy with the belief that people would get involved in the fight against childhood cancer, if you gave them a way.

What happened next was nothing short of magical. Word of our little project spread and as people from all over the country heard the call to Be a Good Cookie, they ordered cookies – right then and there. In a matter of days, we sold out of all 96,000 cookies and at the end of the seemingly impossible project, raised over $420,000.

But that was just the beginning. Before the ovens even cooled, we heard the call to action from so many of you – the emails and phone calls kept coming in asking, “How can I keep helping? How can I get involved?” And then, because of you, we launched a national non-profit organization in September 2008. Now four years later, because of you and your support, we’ve granted nearly $4 million to support scientists in their daily mission to find new, improved and less toxic therapies for pediatric cancer.

Life has changed in these five years – Liam’s battle with cancer came to a heroic but tragic end in January of 2011, yet today, we continue the work he inspired us to start because we know he would want us to keep fighting for all children. We continue because we know so many children, too many, who are either in the battle for their lives or who have lost their battle. So today, we ask you to stand with us and stand with all children by supporting Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  Host an event that raises money for research. Send a dozen or more cookies. Make a donation today. Every dollar counts. We’ve granted nearly $4 million and counting so far.

Thank you,

Larry, Gretchen and Ella Witt

Liam’s Daddy, Mommy, and Sister

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »