Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"C" is for...

Hello faithful bloggers,

Can I borrow a few minutes of your day, please? I promise you'll be encouraged & inspired if you keep reading! If you're reading this in "reader" and close out before reading to the bottom... promise me you'll come back!?

Now, I hope you're sitting in front of your computer with a warm cup of joe and all your little ones {if you have them} are sleeping soundly or off at school so you can read this post in it's entirety.

I imagine 100% of y'all have been touched in some way by the horrid "C" word. I know I have. Some of you long time stalkers were probably around last fall when I told you my childhood friend, Chris, found a cancerous tumor in his jaw. His cancer resulted in the extraction of the tumor and reconstruction of his jaw using part of his leg, upon his recovery he faced several grueling months of intense chemotherapy.

I felt as though my heart was being ripped from my chest as I prayed for him. "Lord have mercy," was my cry; over and over I prayed, "Lord, have mercy". It was like the breath had been taken from my body and I had to gasp to get it back. The "fixer" in me wanted to make it all better. I wanted to take away his pain and suffering... but all that I knew to do was pray.

I had the same feeling when my niece was diagnosed 4 years ago with JXG {juvenile xanthogranuloma} in her eye. Thankfully, they were able to get her to two of the best Ocular Oncologists in the country. By His grace, my precious niece not only survived, but so did her eye, and she's a thriving 9 year old now.

Not every child will survive. I'm sure there are a lot of you who kept up with Joseph. Their story had my heart in a tangle. I wanted to read so that I could be equipped to pray, but I will be honest, reading their story was painful, heart wrenching, and I often found myself praying the same for them, "Lord, please have mercy". I wanted their sweet family to wake up one day to realize it was all just a bad dream. The Lord had other plans for them and for Joseph; He wanted him home, whole, healed, and complete.

In May, a staff member of our church found out they too were facing cancer. Their 2-year old daughter, Hannah Grace was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. We have prayed for them for months, Morgan has even prayed that "the Lord will make Hannah Grace's boo boo in her head all better". They've faced surgery and chemo, and all the complications that can come along with both.

There are so many children suffering. I know Chris isn't a child, but I have fond memories of him acting like one. I tell you all of this so that you can see why I couldn't say "no" to my friend, Emily, when she asked if I'd do a post for Cookies for Kids Cancer.

There's more we can do than pray for these children... here's an interview with Emily to tell us more:

me: Do you have a blog or do you just prefer to stalk {btw, our mutual friend coined the term "blog stalker" I simply stole it from her}?

Emily: Strictly a stalker - of blogs, that is. I love all things Internet. Google, Wikipedia, the online White Pages. I am such an addict, I gave up the Internet for Lent back in 2002. I ate chocolate instead.

But I’m afraid a personal blog would be a disaster. I’m not committed to regularly downloading photos, much less using them as a point of reflection. Journaling wasn’t my thing. I definitely don’t create scrapbooks. Being a blog stalker – or even an active reader – has become a favorite hobby. It leads me to new people and new experiences – when I really love a blog, I do more than stalk - I get involved.

me: Do you have any children? Tell us a little bit about yourself… if you don’t mind!

Emily: My husband and I have been together nearly fifteen years. Nine years in, after swearing to all who would listen we did not want or need children, we fell in love with our friends’ kids. We spent our money on them. We fell asleep talking about them. We missed them when they were not around. And it clicked – we were big fat liars and really did want kids.

Nine months later, we had Cam. Cam is 4. He will talk your ear off – mostly on the topics of Thomas the Train, John Deere combines and golf. He also loves traumatic events in nature – hurricanes, tornadoes, thunder storms and volcanoes are his favorite. He’s a boy, so he likes to get a little crazy sometimes. This year we welcomed our second son Tate, mostly known as Tater Tot, who is 9 months old. Tate means “cheerful,” and I swear the child came out smiling. I needed a happy baby. We had ignored that Cameron means “Crooked nose” - we just liked the name. What a mistake. Cam has a precious button nose, but he came out all ticked off at the world and stayed that way for a couple of years. He’s recovered nicely, but the second time around, I wanted a better shot at a happy baby. Tate delivered.


me: I understand you are passionate about a cause, can you tell us what the cause is and how you became involved with it?

Emily: As one of my mommy-friends put it, I have a battle cry and it’s loud. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer (http://www.cookiesforkidscancer.org/) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of and funds for pediatric cancer research through local bake sales. Federal funding for pediatric cancers has been cut drastically in recent years. Because of those cuts, it is increasingly becoming the responsibility of the public to raise funds necessary for research and development. Guess who “the public” far too often ends up being – PARENTS of kids with cancer. As if they don’t have enough on their plates already. All you have to do help share the burden is host a bake sale and send the money raised to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

I actually became involved with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer because of Liam Witt’s blog, http://princeliamthebrave.blogspot.com/ . Liam is a beautiful, spirited 4-year-old, who just happened to be diagnosed 20 months ago with Stage IV Neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive pediatric cancer. I learned about Liam shortly after his diagnosis, when a mutual friend shared Gretchen’s, Liam’s mom, news with me. She asked me to pray for Liam and sent his blog link. When I went to the blog, I stopped in my tracks. The writing was incredibly honest and raw, as Liam’s parents described the new, scary world they and their son were thrown into. But what made this particular battle personal for me? The original blog slideshow with pictures of Liam. In one particular picture, Liam was wearing a blue and green striped long sleeve t-shirt that my Cam had worn the previous fall. Suddenly, this wasn’t just any little boy, this could have been MY little boy. From that point on, Liam’s battle was personal.

For a while, I was a bystander in the battle. Just like I don’t scrapbook, I also don’t send care packages. I don’t live close enough to send a meal. But I was more than willing to get involved. On Gretchen’s birthday back in August, she made the birthday wish for 100 readers of the blog to commit to hosting bake sale as a support for her new battle against this awful disease – Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. I couldn’t ruin a girl’s birthday wish, so I started planning. It’s been two months since Gretchen’s birthday wish and one month since the launch of the website. I’ve hosted one small bake sale, am planning others and really consider myself part of the troops.

me: Can you throw out some rather disturbing stats on pediatric cancer?

  • Childhood cancers are the #1 disease killer of children - more than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.
  • Nearly 13,000 children are diagnosed with a cancer each year. There has not been a new drug developed specifically for pediatric cancer in nearly 20 years.
  • One out of every 330 children in the US will develop cancer by the age of 20.
  • On the average, 1 in every 4 elementary schools has a child with cancer.

me: What has Cookies for Kids Cancer done in the past and what are they looking to do in the near future? And what can we do to get involved?

Emily: Cookies for Kids’ Cancer started as a crazy idea of Gretchen’s last winter. After years of working with members of the food industry in New York City, she recruited friends and volunteers to have an enormous bake sale to raise money for pediatric cancer. During that first Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sale, Gretchen and the troops sold 96,000 cookies in three weeks and raised $400,000. Isn’t that incredible? Now Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, encourages willing volunteers everywhere to be good cookies and host bake sales in the name of pediatric cancer research and treatments. Gretchen and Larry’s belief is that if we all do a little, together we will do a lot.

Gretchen’s latest vision for bake sales would bring people all over the country together on one day for a common cause. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is challenging people across the country to hold fund raising bake sales on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4, 2008. The goal is to have at least one bake sale in all 50 states, held at or near polling places where local voters will go to cast their ballots. The vision is for the Election Day bake sales to serve as an unscientific Exit Poll. Instead of having chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes that day, we want to serve cookies shaped like donkeys or elephants or ice the cupcakes with red or blue frosting. We want donors to reveal their Presidential vote, not with words but with the selection of their sweets. We’re calling it America’s Sweetest Exit Poll.

How to get involved? Fire up the oven! No really. We just want people who are passionate about kids or kids’ health or just doing something good to get their friends together and organize a bake sale for Election Day. Three weeks is more than enough time to get a bake sale together – you can go to the website for everything from bake sale signage to recipes to tips on how to make your sale successful. Be sure to email us via the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer website to let us know if you are hosting a sale and where you are located. We’re here to answer your questions and provide support and encouragement. We’ll send you a press release to help you get local media coverage. If you cannot host a bake sale on Election Day, take this information and spread the word – encourage people you know all over the United States to host a bake sale. You can also simply make an online donation at the Cookies website.

me: What is your favorite type of cookie and can we please have the recipe?

Emily: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. . .crispy, gooey, chocolatey perfection
· 1 stick butter, softened
· ½ cup butter-flavored Crisco
· ½ cup granulated sugar
· 1 cup packed brown sugar
· 1 egg
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
· 1 cup either: toffee chips, dried cranberries, pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 9x13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat butter, Crisco, sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Add egg and vanilla. Slowly add flour, baking soda, salt. Fold in chips and other goodies. Spread dough evenly in the baking dish – I use my hands to get it in there. Bake 18 or 19 minutes – it will NOT look done in the middle. Let cool in the pan for at least a half hour. Cut and eat. Yum.


me: Do you prefer milk or coffee with your cookies?

Emily: COFFEE. Forget the land of milk and honey. I want the land of coffee and chocolate.


Thank you, Emily! For your time, honesty, passion, and of course, the recipe. Cookies has been featured on major networks:
CNN
ABC
And to learn {& see} the latest about Cookies for Kids cancer click HERE. If you're a Facebooker check out the Cookies Facebook Group.

Anyone up for a bake sale? What an incredible opportunity to teach our children about serving others. My intentions are to spread the word that we are looking for folks to head up bakesales. If anyone locally is up for the challenge I'd love to help out... perhaps donate several dozen cookies and sit a spell {or 2} at the table. Check out the website, contact them or email me if you have more questions or are up for the challenge!!

12 comments:

Haydee said...

Darby.
I am so on this! What a great opportunity make a big difference with very little effort. I'll keep you posted.

The Muncies said...

This is so neat! I will work on this on the plains! Just put posted about it...

MIMILEE said...

Thanks for giving all of us an opportunity for make a difference! Children with Cancer has touched my life and I am grateful to be able to help in a small way to fight for a CURE!

Great and worthy post DARBY!
You're the best, girl!

Dona said...

Me, Me, ME!!!!! I want to help!!!! How do you cover so many voting places? Do you just pick one? Let's get together on this!

chan said...

I am a stalker through Robin Brookshire's but I live on Englewood and have enjoyed your blog. I am totally up for baking cookies and working if you do something in Dothan. Let me know how I can help, even in planning. You can get my phone number from Mitzi Chambers. Thank you for starting this very worthy cause.

Ginny said...

Darby, this sounds like a great way to get involved in the fight! Our family is all too familiar with Childhood Cancer and the toll it takes on a family after Hunter's cousin Meredyth lost her fight in 2003. I will pass word about "Cookies."

Kristen said...

What a great cause! I would love to help or donate or anything!

Mandy said...

We do not know each other, but I found your webpage through another and boy am I glad I did. This is wonderful and great that you are spreading the word. I can't hold a bake sale on election day because I do work, but I plan to have one here in my community soon. Thank you so much for the info. Please feel free to stalk my site also.

Holderby Family Blog said...

Hi Darby...it's Jen in San Diego. I just wanted to let you know how inspiring your post has been. The house across the street hosts an election poll, so I have calls in to all my neighbors, and friends to host a bake sale on my driveway.
I'll keep you posted!

SHicks said...

Darby,
I am also a stalker of yours, I went to HS with your hubby and am good friends with some of your Tallahassee fiends too. I am inspired by your post and really am going to do my best to do this in Birmingham. I'm going to put a post on my site today and start planning...hoping to make election day, but if not certainly another day in the near future. Thank you for sharing!

Busy momma said...

Is this a sign or what?? I just posted about my husband and little boy making cookies tonight. What a great idea!!
Too, I just wanted you to see that one more person actually read through that whole post...and enjoyed it :)

Becky Smith said...

Darby, I'd love to make something for a bake sale! Let me know if and where someone is doing one & I'll be happy to provide something! I can't work at one b/c I'll be working, but I'll be happy to help with cooking! Thanks!