Cancer is the number one leading cause of death by disease of children in the United States. 13,500 children are being diagnosed each year and over 40,000 actively fight pediatric cancer. However, less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget goes to all childhood cancers combined. This results in a lack of effective treatments. In fact, two-thirds of pediatric cancer patients develop lethal long-term side effects from the toxic treatments that supposedly cured them. Only four of the twelve most common types of childhood cancers have average survival rates of over 80%. The only way to change this is to increase funding for research for new and improved therapies.
In 2007, Larry and Gretchen Witt, parents of 2-year-old Liam, pledged to support funding research for safer, more effective treatments when Liam was diagnosed with childhood cancer. Gretchen, with the help of 250 volunteers, baked and sold 96,000 cookies, raising $400,000. This is how Cookies For Kids’ Cancer was started.
In La Crescenta, the Sperro family help support the cause. Emme Sperro, the youngest of the Sperro children, says, “I remember one woman freaked out when I told her the statistics, because she had a young son who had cancer. It’s hard to forget these stories, which only makes me believe in this cause more.” Every quarter, the family sets up a booth at the Farmer’s Market, and sell cookies, water, tea, etc. Each dollar they earn is matched, and 200% of their earnings go to research for childhood cancer. There are multiple ways to support Cookies For Kids’ Cancer, including hosting an event, being part of the #36aday campaign (being active for 36 minutes to support the 36 children who get diagnosed every day), dedicating a birthday to the organization, or more.
Cookies For Kids’ Cancer has a truly honorable cause: to help raise fundings for research for childhood cancer. This organization has funded 80 childhood cancer research grants, resulting in 32 new treatments now in clinical trial. In just 7 years, supporters have held more than 7,000 events in all 50 states and in 16 countries worldwide. Due to Cookies For Kids’ Cancer, thousands of children have less toxic and more effective treatments provided. Hopefully, their efforts will increase safety and effectiveness in treatments for children with cancer everywhere.