Let’s All Be Good Cookies

Dear Friends,

I am holding a baked goods “suggested donation event” on Sat., Oct 1 in Washington Square Park to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. I need your help!

Be A Good Cookie.

***FYI: I cannot call is a “sale” as then I’d need to get a vendor permit and food inspection from Parks and Rec (not the TV show) in addition to the space/congregation permit I had to get. We’re going to abbreviate this event as baked goodness SDE, ok?

If you weren’t aware, September is pediatric cancer awareness month. I’ve always wanted to raise money for pediatric cancer research (besides donating my 7 year old allowance/”savings” to Children’s Hospital of Alabama), especially considering I had a brother who died of neuroblastoma in 1991 as well as a best friend’s sister who died of brain cancer in 2003. September will be upon us soon and I want to send out the month (ie Oct 1) with a nice fat donation to support pediatric cancer research.

Many of the kids on my pediatrics rotation with cancer knew if they needed certain anti-nausea meds or not before their chemo. That's not something a kid should have to know about - chemo, vomiting, not wanting to eat, losing hair...

Luckily for me, I’ve happened upon a charity that I am passionate about raising money for, Cookies for Kid’s Cancer. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was started by Gretchen and Larry Witt after their son, Liam, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Liam was best friends with one of my babysitting “kids,” who I’ll call T. T often told me that she and Liam were going to be married. From what T told me about Liam, he was an extraordinary little boy. (T is also an extraordinary little girl.)

Young lovebirds - Liam and T.

Many of Liam’s potential treatments (eg: a monoclononal antibody for all my med school friends) weren’t available for use at that time due to lack of funding. As you can imagine, in the current economic climate government funding for research has dwindled making non-profits, such as Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, essential in footing the bill for researchers. What started as a Christmas bake sale to raise money has turned into a charity that has done enormous amounts of good and contributed much to the field of pediatric cancer research. In its short history, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer has raised $2.5 million dollars for pediatric cancer research.

[*a quick add-on note: When Gretchen did the first bake sale, Liam was actually cancer free. She did it because “she knew it was the right thing to do for all the other kids”*]

The Witts’ unwavering dedication to raise money for pediatric cancer research is most inspiring. Further, I know exactly where the money I raise is going – directly to the hands of researchers working to create more effective and less toxic chemotherapy treatments for children. Most recently, grants from Cookies For Kids Cancer have been awarded to laboratories at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania and Baylor College of Medicine.

Unfortunately, Liam lost his fight with cancer this past year (January 24, the day before my birthday, actually) as so many kids do each year. Despite tremendous progress over the past decade in cancer treatments, pediatric cancer remains the number 1 cause of non-accidental death in children. Additionally, neuroblastoma, which claimed the lives of both my brother and Liam, remains one of the most lethal and aggressive forms of pediatric cancer.

Prince Liam the Brave and his equally brave mom, Gretchen

If you’re interested and/or have the time, here’s how you can help me help Cookies For Kids’ Cancer!

  1. BAKE! It doesn’t have to be cookies, you can bake whatever you want. Brownies. Cupcakes. Rice Krispie Treats. ***If you are able to bake anything gluten-free or vegan, please do. I’ve been tipped off that these are very frequently requested.
  2. ENCOURAGE SUGGESTED DONATIONS! Come spend your Saturday afternoon in Washington Square Park! I’ll be exchanging baked goods for suggested donations from 1-4 pm and added an hour on each side for set-up/clean-up (so 12-5 pm total). You do not need to be there for the whole time, obviously. Anything is appreciated.
  3. TABLES! I need tables. Do you have tables you’ve been using for beer pong? Let’s put those to good use…
  4. ARE YOU AN ARTIST? If so, you can help me makes signs and such. Arts and crafts is fun!
  5. TELL YOUR FRIENDS! I NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET. So, tell your nice friends, your baking friends, your marketing friends, your facebook friends you don’t actually know, your imaginary friends…
  6. DONATE HERE:  If you aren’t able to do any of the above, but still want to help, you can donate via the link (“donate here”) or copy and paste the below into your browser: (fyi: my goal is 260.02 because I’m running a marathon and I had to come up with a number, so I picked that one. Any donations are greatly, greatly, appreciated):

http://cookiesforkidscancer.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=442828&lis=1&kntae442828=4FDA63CBC1A940908F5E90BB6278BD03&supId=330641485If

If you’re interested in learning more about this charity, check out their website:

http://cookiesforkidscancer.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=442828

If you want a good cry, go to Liam’s blog or vimeo page (similar to youtube):

[MAKE SURE YOU HAVE KLEENEX NEARBY IF YOU WATCH ANY VIDEOS. I HAVE YET TO MAKE IT THROUGH ONE WITHOUT SOAKING MY SHIRT IN TEARS.]

http://princeliamthebrave.blogspot.com/

http://vimeo.com/26807832

I truly believe it is some sort of divine intervention that brought myself and the Witt family into contact, considering our families have both been affected by the same evil cancer dragon, neuroblastoma. Prince Liam couldn’t slay his dragon, but I hope by raising some money, I’ll be able to help other kids slay their cancer monsters. This charity truly tugs at my heart and I hope you’ll be able to help me make a difference.

If you want to help, you can comment below or shoot met an email at MeggieBSmith@gmail.com.

Love,

Meggie

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31 thoughts on “Let’s All Be Good Cookies

  1. i wish i lived near you because i would totally bake for this!

    i work in a children’s hospital and this year has been especially difficult when it comes to losing incredible kids to childhood cancer.

    i had never heard of cookies for kids, so thank you for introducing me to it! I’ll definitely be heading over to your donation page soon 🙂

    • That must be incredibly difficult. One of my most difficult years of 3rd year (of medical school) was on pediatrics during my oncology week. I think I cried myself to sleep that entire night. I had such a hard time dealing with the emotions I felt seeing the kids in massive amounts of pain (eg: kid with mucositis so bad he couldn’t even suck on a fentanyl lollopop), vomiting all the time (due to chemo), facing losing limbs (that one really did me in), unsure about what the future held for them, seeing their parents stand guard over their beds with little to no sleep, seeing kids ask for certain anti-nausea medications before their chemo rounds as they knew it helped them, etc. It was also so difficult for me observing their parents – their fear and anxiety was so palpable and there was nothing I could do for them, which was heartbreaking for me. I guess I’ve gotten to the age where I feel some sort of maternal instinct and imaging how I would feel if my child had cancer is overwhelming.

      Ok, sorry to ramble! Yes, any donation is appreciated and I wish you lived near here, too!

  2. Ah, I never knew about your brother (okay, I’ve known you for like two weeks, so it’s somewhat acceptable), but I’m so sorry!

    I’ll be out of town that weekend for my marathon, but I’ll definitely bake something and get it to you beforehand!

    We used to do oncology at my last job, and I hated when I got cancer patients…soooo not my thing. Especially when many of them got turned into hospice patients…

    • Thank you and, of course, how could you have known! It was a very long time ago, as well.

      You’re so sweet to bake.

      Yes, isn’t it awful to see a young life squashed. Liam was a very inquisitive little boy and it breaks my heart to see that curiosity leave the world. If you listen to some of his eulogies (I have because apparently I’m really into crying by myself), he asked everyone about everything and wanted to know how everything worked, including exact details of his surgeries. I think that’s one reason I’m also drawn to Liam and this charity – I hear a lot of myself in Liam.

      Hospice care for pediatric patients truly is horrible. My only solace is in the fact that at least the goal is to keep them out of pain and comfortable. Still, spending the last days of your life miserable and out of it on morphine isn’t fair for a 7 year old.

  3. meggie! i would love to help out if i am around that weekend – can i let you know soon? i will definitely donate too. this is a fantastic cause and one that seems to hit home for you.

    i am so sorry to hear about your brother and liam’s story is heartbreaking.

    tragedies are terrible and i’m often left with wondering WHY. WHY this completely undeserving child? … but tragedies really do bring out the GOOD in everyone/everything, and i’d love to help you reach your goal to make a positive difference to bring an end to neuroblastoma.

    on a more upbeat note, good work on your long run! i wore my i<3sweat tee on the reservoir path too! 🙂

    • Hi Christine – Yes! Of course you can let me know later – I realize Oct 1 is a while away, but I like to plan way ahead! It is heartbreaking, isn’t it. I’ve heard that people complained more about the weather than Liam complained about this treatments. In one of his eulogies, his surgical oncologist said he believes the cancer happens to the strongest kids, to show us how strong the rest of us can be.

      And, thank you! Wearing my I Love Sweat tee made my weekend!

      • his surgical oncologist said he believes the cancer happens to the strongest kids, to show us how strong the rest of us can be.

        wow – interesting thought and a really good way to put any kind of illness/accident people face….

  4. Meggie – this is such a wonderful cause. If I lived in NYC I would totally bake for and come to your event. I’m so sorry to hear about your brother and about little Liam. These stories are so incredibly sad. I won’t watch any of the videos now because I’m at work, but I also (apparently) like sitting and crying by myself, so I’ll come back and watch them later. My sister is a Child Life Specialist and used to work with more cancer patients and the stories she would tell were just heart-breaking.

    I really hope your fundraiser – I mean “suggested donation event” goes well!!

  5. I have some great vegan recipes that I’d love to make! Count me in.

    Really sorry to hear about your brother and all of the other kiddos facing such a crappy disease. They are all such little fighters and I’d love to help in any way I can. 🙂

  6. What a great cause! I will definitely help out in some way. I am not the world’s best baker…ask my roommate (although she might help me out) but I can figure something out and hopefully stop by to help too!

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  8. Hi there…

    I was Liam’s teacher when he was just 3 years old and I instantly became one of his biggest fans… and of course of his entire family (I also taught his little sister, Ella). This is a cause that is very close to my heart.

    I would love to help you with the bake sale.
    I could bake and get some others to do the same, and I could help out on the day of.
    I live in Manhattan, so anything and whatever you need, count on me.

    Thank you.

    Best,

    Pat

  9. I forgot to let you know that I will try to make it to Washington Square Park. I’ll be running Grete’s Gallop that same day. So in the event I can’t make it to your event, I will make a donation.

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  12. Hi Meghan,

    This is Drew Stephens. I’m the RA that works with Burt Goldberg. I’d like to get a group of my residents together to help you out with your bake sale next Saturday. Shoot me an email at aks452@nyu.edu so we can chat more!

    Talk to you soon,

    Drew

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