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Cookies for cancer

I can’t do it better than Michelle, so I’m just passing on her note:

Dear Friends,

If you have spent any time on facebook over the past few months, you have no doubt seen me mention Prince Liam and the Mamas night out I am planning. For those who have not, here is a little background:

4 years ago, while reading one of my parenting magazines, I saw something about Gretchen Witt and her sweet Prince Liam. Liam, at just the age of 2, had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma.  I started following her blog in which you could feel the love she had for her children in every word that she wrote. Thrown into this new world of Cancer, she learned that only 30% of children survive neuroblastoma. She found out that these terrible odds were because very little money was being spent by the government and pharmaceutical companies on childhood cancer; something that was the leading cause of death by disease in children under 18.  So what did she do, she organized a bake sale. Gretchen got volunteers to help make and sell 96,000 cookies, and in just in three weeks raised $400,000 for childhood cancer research and cookies for kids’ cancer was born.

For almost 4 years I followed her journey. I organized a few bake sales and put her in touch with Cara Pearson, of Pacific Cookie company, a  local business that makes the delicious cookies you order on the cookies for kids cancer website. While Liam’s journey was not an easy one, he was a brave and strong little boy who always had a smile on his face and inspired people everywhere to make a difference and hold bake sales to raise money. I had no doubt in my mind that this little boy was going to beat this awful cancer and was going to have a long and wonderful life with his loving family by his side.

When Gretchen posted this update on facebook back in January, my heart sank.
“I can’t talk. The scans were awful. His disease is now at the point where it’s laughing at chemo. I need more time with him to love him and be loved by him. He is pure love and life and joy and kindness and strength. Why? And how can that be taken away from me?”

While the updates over the past few months, had not been so positive, I was still shocked to read such terrible news. A week after this update, Liam passed away. When I found out, I felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me and I began to cry. I cried for a little boy I never met who was taken much too soon and I cried for his mom who did everything she could possibly do to save him and now had to somehow go on without him. What kind of justice is there in a world where a mom who has done so much to raise money and awareness about childhood cancer, could do nothing to save the boy who inspired it all. It broke my heart to read that Gretchen had felt like she failed her son. She did not fail him, society failed him by not making a bigger deal about childhood cancer. While many in her position would be too devastated and angry to go on with fundraising, her resolve is now even stronger. In the days, weeks and months after Liams death, she has continued to encourage people to hold bake sales so that her sons death does not have to be in vain.

As the weeks went on after his death, I realized I had to do something. Something to show that I cared. Something to remind me that this could have been my child. Something to show all the moms out there who get the diagnosis of childhood cancer that I will do whatever I can to ensure that the 50 kids who get his diagnosis today will have a better outcome than he did. When Cara and I got together a few weeks after Liam passed away we both knew that we had to do something big. Over the course of our meeting; an idea that started as a birthday party/bake sale in May to honor Liam, turned into “mamas night out”. Moms everywhere take a break from their kids every month. Why not take this idea and turn it in to something good. We felt strongly that moms needed to show Gretchen and the thousands of other moms out there in the same situation, that together that we will a make a difference. This brings me to why I have stepped way out of my comfort zone to ask my friends for help. We are planning an amazing mamas night out event on May26th at the Top of the Ritt in downtown Santa Cruz. The attached letter talks more about the event and what we are looking for; raffle prizes and sponsorship. If Liam’s story has touched you and you want to help out, your kindness will be greatly appreciated. If you are not in a position right now to help out, please feel free to forward this email on to someone who may want to get involved. If you are planning to come to the event, you can buy tickets here: http://mamasnightout.eventbrite.com/.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
Michelle Riddle

About Cookies for Kids Cancer:
In the fall of 2008, Gretchen and Larry Witt launched Cookies for Kids’ Cancer as a national non-profit supporting all types of pediatric cancer at leading research institutions. Pediatric cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the U.S. taking the lives of more children than asthma, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy combined. A lack of funding into new and improved therapies contributes to this sobering statistic. 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 change the face of pediatric cancer and provide more families with the hope they deserve.
The organization is a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit

Posted in Parenting.


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