My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. I don't typically discuss personal family details on this blog, but I discovered a baking/fundraising for breast cancer research site called Bake it Happen (more on that below) and wanted to provide context for how and why I'm participating. As you can well imagine, the shock of a cancer diagnosis shook all of us at our core. Here's what I can tell you:
- Cancer is always awful, no matter how old the person is at the time of diagnosis, no matter the prognosis or the stage or the treatment. It has changed all of us. Permanently.
- Chemo and radiation are terrible, but I wish that more was written about the journey that happens after treatment. My sister, her family and my family were in "go go go" mode during her treatment, and while that was helpful to get through it all, there is a storm of emotion that didn't begin to crop up until after all of the treatment had finished. Not to mention all of the post-treatment meds, the side effects, the check ups, the anxiety.
- People are wonderful. We are lucky; our family and friends came together to support my sister and her family last year in ways that I couldn't have predicted, and I am grateful in a way that I'm not yet able to fully articulate.
The good news is, my sister is now cancer free.
During this journey, I discovered a site called Bake It Happen which helps raise awareness and money for breast cancer research. The program began out of a food blog called My Judy Foodie, named for a woman named Judy whose life was cut short from a long breast cancer struggle. I didn't know Judy, but I've read that she was a skilled cook and baker who spread her love through her meals. Her daughters, Shari and Stacy realized that they needed to spread the love of their mom's recipes in the name of cancer research. They hope to create a breast cancer baking fundraising movement to carry on their mom's culinary legacy and hope for a cure. For every person who bakes one of Judy's recipes and posts on social media, $5 will be donated to the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation for breast cancer research. The Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation is a non-profit that raises money through proceeds from the sale of all natural pink pumpkins. The foundation works with participating pumpkin growers to promote and sell the pink skinned pumpkins, giving a percentage of their proceeds from each pumpkin sold to breast cancer research. Last year, efforts from the two organizations provided $20,000 for the cause.
I'm committed to the cause and was happy to bake Judy's Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf and share my photos on social media (here, here and here). Want to sign up? Here's how. As an added incentive, your post (must be done by 10/31) enters you to win an iPad Mini and 100 Baked By Melissa Cupcakes.
The Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf recipe made one loaf + 12 muffins! I was happy to bake these alongside my eldest child because it provided both the opportunity for us to talk about the importance of supporting worthy causes and a sweet and tasty way (literally) for us to reflect and find gratitude.
Want to bake to support breast cancer research and get the recipes emailed to you? Right this way.