Mom Bakes 96,000 Cookies to Raise Millions for Pediatric Cancer Research

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Gretchen Holt-Witt of Califon, N.J., was relieved when son Liam's neuroblastoma, a form of nerve cancer, was in remission after treatment in 2007.

"We were so grateful his cancer was gone, we felt it was important to give back," says Holt-Witt, who held a bake sale for pediatric cancer research.

But a few dozen wouldn't do. They opted for 8,000 dozen.

  • Cookie Book
  • Cookie Sale

"We wanted to push our boundaries the way Liam's had been," says Holt-Witt, who along with her family and 250 friends, baked 96,000 cookies.

They raised $400,000 as a result.

Holt-Witt founded the non-profit organization Cookies For Kids' Cancer. People all around the country hold bake sales in the name of the organization.

Now celebrating its fifth year, CFKC has raised more than $5 million for research and development of new cancer treatments for kids. It has its own cookbook.

"There aren't that many treatment options for kids because pediatric cancers get the short end of the funding," says Holt-Witt. "Helping others is [helps me] cope."

Shortly after their bake sale, Liam's cancer returned.

"He went through tons of relapses," says Holt-Witt, "It was kind of like building a house in the sand, the foundation could give away any second."

First diagnosed as a toddler, Liam never showed any telltale signs of the illness. For four long years, the youngster underwent countless clinical trials.

He never reached his seventh birthday.

"Missing her brother will never go away," says Holt-Witt of her daughter Ella, 7, who often comments on things Liam would have liked to do and see.

But, she says of the organization she helped found, "Cookies is an outlet for her, because she feels like her bothers life had meaning and wasn't in vain."

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