Stacey Tavel, MD
Short Hills, NJ
May 2012, I was part of a team of three mothers who put Cookies for Kids' Cancer on our town's road map. All three of us had our own personal reasons for devoting so much of our time to this very worthwhile charity. One mother had a daughter who was cured from a brain tumor. Another mother knew Gretchen through her work in the food industry.
As a pediatrician and mother of four daughters, as I read about the Cookies for Kids' Cancer charity and Liam's story, I felt an immediate connection to Gretchen and her simple, yet extraordinary idea. As the leader of my first grade daughter's Girl Scout troop of 36 girls (and incredible moms), I knew that I'd be able to gather lots of helping hands. The slogan "Kids helping Kids" is what I deeply connected with.
As a physician I know how difficult it is to conduct relevant research studies, and the fact that children could help by using their own creativity to make signs and hands to make cookies, was just brilliant. During the month of May we coordinated twelve bake sales in our town. We wanted as many children in our community to experience the good feeling of helping others, and we wanted to raise as much money as we could to help families facing the unimaginable challenge of pediatric cancer.
We found a representative from all five elementary schools and many preschools to organize bake sales around town. We held successful sales on playgrounds, in front of well-traveled stores in our town, at preschool pick-up and an annual art appreciation night at one elementary school. We also held a free family fun day in the center of town with music, animals, puppet shows, magic, balloons and face painting in order to attract more people to our largest bake sale in town.
Splurge Bakery generously made 500 sugar cookies that elementary school children decorated. Almost everyday there were "baking play dates" in homes across our town. Kids were cracking eggs, stirring batter, frosting cookies, adding lots of candy on top as parents took pictures and blinked back tears as they remembered the meaning behind all of their activities. We made a cute Smart Cookie t-shirt that we wore at bake sales and sold to children in our community.
We raised over $10,000 and we are already putting our heads together to raise more money next year. Once you start planning your bake sale, I'm confident that you'll become as energized as we were. Although we never had the honor of meeting Liam the Brave, it is extraordinary how such a little guy could spark something in all of us, to do whatever we can to help others.