Cookies for a Cause

a row of white chocolate cranberry cookies in a box

Image by: JustCookNYC

This Sunday marks National Cookie Day and is a day of celebration for cookies. Whether chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin, as well as the holiday favorites like gingerbread and sugar cookies, all cookies are celebrated on this particular day. My love for baking has brought me to prepare many cookies. But one of my biggest appreciations of being a baker is when the baked good that you have made, serve a greater purpose. I have written about childhood cancer a few times in terms of how they utilize food in order to fundraise for better treatments for children facing cancer. I’ve always had a place in my heart for children who are battling cancer but this year, it has affected me on a more personal level.

Gretchen and Larry Witt founded Cookies for Kids’ Cancer in 2008, just one year after their son, Liam was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. As childhood cancer did not have enough effective treatments to irrevocably cure cancer and readily allow children to be in remission. The Witts were determined to fundraise with bake sales of cookies to help further the research required to create newer and better treatments of chemotherapy, radiation, and other therapies. Although Liam passed away in early 2011, the Witts continue to fundraise with their non-profit organization aimed towards childhood cancers. Their main focus is to build communities to fight against a disease that children simply battle alone. Childhood cancer is the #1 disease killer of children in the United States as thirty-six children are diagnosed with cancer every day. And with the help of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, nine treatments have been created to help cure pediatric cancers. They encourage others to sell cookies under their organization’s name in order to raise more money to the contribution of benefiting pediatric cancer patients. It allows everyone to get involved with this amazing cause that continues to aid many children. Each child that is remission due to these new progressive medicines makes the Witts’ campaign even more important and valuable. As it allows the ‘C’ to only stand for cookies as it continues to minimize the tragic effects of childhood cancer.

cookie dough being placed on a sheet pan

Image by: Luis

My main goal with baking as I aspire to be a pastry chef is to bring the world together by way of desserts, and this cause truly benefits children who desperately need our help. Something as simple and minute as a cookie has been an advocate for a greater cause and that is what I am trying to portray. So “Be a Good Cookie” as the Witts proclaim, and find ways to help out your community whether it be for childhood cancer or for any other cause. Our greatest gift on earth is to be able to serve and help others to may this world a better place.

Comment some ways in which you serve your community or organizations you wish to work with/donate to.

National Lemonade Day

a pitcher of lemonade

Image by: Brook Ferry

To all you lemonade fans out there, National Lemonade Day is this Saturday, August 20th. One of the most grueling beverages to make in terms of squeezing each lemon till its last drop of juice escape from the rind. But the outcome is deliciously rewarding after doing all that work unless, of course, you decide to purchase a cup of lemonade. While many do not get too obsessed with the importance of food themed days such as National Ice Cream Day etc., others have made these days so important in changing the lives of everyone around them. National Lemonade Day has become somewhat of a national holiday for some who have continued to acknowledge this day to pursue the dreams of a four year old, Alexandra “Alex” Scott. Her vision was to raise money by selling lemonade from a lemonade stand that she would hold in front of her home to help children suffering from pediatric cancer of all sorts with the funds she received.

a lemonade mix carton

Image by: pompomflipflop

Alex, herself, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma just before her first birthday and although doctors were doubtful that she would ever be able to walk due to the tedious treatment that would be necessary for her remission, Alex was determined and began to walk with the help of leg braces. She was regaining some of her strength and was defying the odds but was faced with unfortunate news, after two years when her tumors began to grow again. When she was only four years old she received a stem cell transplant and while recovering she constantly told her mother how much she wanted to run a lemonade stand to help other children. Despite struggling to brave the fight of her own cancer, Alex ran her first lemonade stand later that year with her family’s help which raised $2,000. It sparked a chain reaction when news broke about this cause and many began to sell lemonade while giving the proceeds directly to Alex to help her with her mission to benefit childhood cancer research. Alex became the founder of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and helped raised over a million dollars for cancer research. Yet, her cancer had progressed and Alex passed away in August of 2004 at only eight years old. Though many are still holding lemonade stands and donating to help further Alex’s vision.

In her memory, many use National Lemonade Day to help donate with a beverage that meant so much to Alex and so many other children that were helped by her mission. Restaurants all over the country are selling lemonade to donate to Alex’s foundation be sure to look out for them but Red Robin and Auntie Anne’s are just a few that will be offering lemonade and will be taking donations as well..

Comment below with your thoughts of National Lemonade Day or make a comment with a shout-out to someone you know who is struggling with a life-threatening disease/illness.