Cookies of Courage

Is it possible to make a difference with a cookie? I have a story that will show you the power that baking can have when it’s combined with a mothers love and courage.

Courage isn’t something you plan for. It’s often the gut reaction to a tragic event that drives you beyond exhaustion. That’s where Larry and Gretchen Holt Witt found themselves when their beautiful 2 year old son Liam was diagnosed with cancer in 2007.

Amidst the pain they were going through as a family, Gretchen and Larry were even more frustrated to learn how little research was being funded for childhood cancer, and that “the primary reason over 25% of kids diagnosed with cancer do not survive is because of a lack of effective therapies”.

Sitting back was not an option, so Gretchen did what any mom on a mission would do… she held an enormous bake sale. As volunteers rallied around the family, a community assembled to bake 96,000 cookies. They had raised $400,000 for new childhood cancer research, and that was only the beginning as they created Cookies for Cancer, an amazing charity that bakes up cookies for a cure.

Unfortunately, Liam lost his battle with cancer on January 24th of 2011.

In Elina Furman’s blog she writes to Gretchen:

I think about your courage, hope and your bright smile and your deeply sad eyes as we talked about your son, a conversation I worried was too painful for you; though now I see it was the retelling of your story over and over that kept you ruthless and strong in your quest to save Liam.”

“Every step, every dollar raised, every minute you have spent has already added up so much and I hope this Valentine’s Day letter serves as a reminder that so many of us have been touched by your struggle and courage.”

Elina’s beautiful call to action encourages us to have our own Valentine’s Day Cookies for Cancer bake sale in Liam’s honor.

Cookies for Kids Cancer has raised over $2.5 million on behalf of pediatric cancer research. With only 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s funds going to pediatric cancer, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is committed to raising funds to support research for new and better therapies for pediatric cancer. Through the concept of local bake sales, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer provides the inspiration and support for individuals, communities, and businesses to help fight pediatric cancer.

cookie logo Hearts and flowers for Liam

So on this Valentine’s Day, let’s do our part to help in the fight for kids battling cancer everywhere. Whether it’s buying cookies or organizing a bake sale locally, let’s make this holiday about spreading the love and joy of families who need it most.

This entry was posted in Making a Difference and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Cookies of Courage

  1. Thanks for sharing, Deb, this is so sad and touching…I love to bake and have often thought of organizing something like this for a wonderful cause. You may have me thinking again and hopefully, I can put something together in the near future~♥

  2. christyb says:

    Wow what a moving post and wonderful cause that you are supporting. Thank-you for sharing, I will tweet out the post today so more can read and be touched the way I have been.

  3. Thanks so much Christy!

  4. Impower You says:

    How amazing of Elina and how sad for her too. What an amazing communty to live in.
    Do you know how much of what they give actually goes to research? I have read that some big organizations spend more on salaries and marketing than actual research. That really pisses me off.

    • Luckily, not all organizations are like that: “Buy cookies online at Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, with 100 percent of the net revenue benefiting the charity”

      • Impower You says:

        I meant the NCI. I can find how much they spend on different cancer research, but I couldn’t find a report what percentage of their budget is spent on research as opposed to other expenses.
        I hope since it is funded by so much government money that most goes to actual research.

  5. Thanks so much for your thought provoking question. It’s nice to know that Cookies for Kids Cancer actually let’s you direct your donations to a specific research, instead of a mega group like the National Cancer Institute. They have a drop-down list with specific research groups that you can choose from. Here’s a quote from their donation page:
    “You may choose the kind of pediatric cancer you would
    like your funds to support or you may simple select “General Fund”
    and our Medical Advisory Board will ensure your
    contribution supports the most promising new therapies.”

    I also found a great site ( that gives ton’s of helpful info on cancer organization donation percentages, and it shows that directing funds away from the big cancer foundations is definitely the way to go. Check out their post “So, where does the money go: Childhood Cancer Research Funding (2010)”

    Thanks again for your comments!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s