Hey Besties! When you think of the word “cancer” there’s not much happiness or fuzzy feelings that emerge, I get it. Our family was violently shoved into the cancer club in 2021 when our then 15-year-old son was shockingly diagnosed with Leukemia. And I know we are just one of millions of families that experience the cruelty of cancer. Everyone handles and processes this journey differently and in their own way. For us, we’ve gone from living one minute at a time, to one hour at a time, to one day at a time. At the time of this writing, we’re on day 767 of this journey, with 124 days of treatment left. We have every reason to believe this will be our son’s forever cure. And while we could sit and ruminate over what we’ve been through, I always choose to look forward.
As strange as it may sound, I’ve found many silver linings in this torturous journey. I would never wish it upon anyone, but when you’ve been dealt a crappy hand, YOU decide how to respond. So today, we’re talking about finding a silver lining utilizing cancer cookies! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how you can turn something so awful into something magical.
Cookies To Celebrate Cancer?
Historically, cookies in general have been reserved for happy celebrations. However, increasingly over the past several years, cookies, and other baked treats, are being recognized as much more. They are both artwork and are also very comforting. These qualities can make cookies perfect for any event or cause where comfort is needed.
Decorated sugar cookies can be a very artistic way to tell a story and even evoke emotions. And for the cookiers that make them, decorating can be VERY therapeutic.
So, are we celebrating cancer? No, absolutely not. But are we celebrating how far we’ve come on this journey? Your darn right we are. For our family, Leukemia definitely doesn’t define our son, but it is a key part of his life story. We celebrate all the milestones and likely will for years to come. And there are families everywhere that do the same.
Making a Difference with Cancer Cookies
There are a several great ways bakers can use their cookies or other baked goods to turn someone’s battle into something positive. First, if you accept custom orders, make sure your clientele knows that you can create meaningful and special baked goods for fundraisers or milestones for these kinds of journeys.
Some bakers choose to donate their goods to support benefits or fundraisers, which is another great option. However, this can be hard to sustain for bakers to do on a regular basis.
We prefer to offer our goods as part of a fundraising effort for the family or cause. Several times a year, we choose causes that are important to us or our community and create a fundraiser to help. You can structure this however it works best for you. Some bakers have success hosting a pop-up event for a fundraiser. We typically structure these like a pre-sale. So, for example, we create designs and then promote them to our community with a certain amount being donated to the cause or family. Sometimes we donate 100% of the proceeds to the cause and we have found this to be more successful for the cause than just donating our goods to another event. We love being able to use our skills to give back to important causes or members of our community.
And guess what? Communities LOVE businesses that give back to their communities. So, while you’re not actually expecting it, it’s not uncommon to actually get more business from new customers who learn of your fundraising efforts.
Is There A Cause Important To You?
We have a fundraiser every September for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We’ve done cookies, we’ve done cupcakes, we do something new every year. Our community loves contributing to a worthy cause, and we love being able to donate our proceeds to support.
I encourage you to think of a cause that’s important to you and decide how you can use your baking skills to help support it. Maybe there is a family in need in your community? Maybe the local humane society could use some help. Or maybe, like us, there is an awareness campaign that you are passionate about.
Pop-up and pre-sales aren’t your only options either. Perhaps you create a specific cookie design that you always have stocked in your freezer. And when you have a customer place an order, you can ask if they’d like to purchase a (insert cause) cookie to raise money for the organization. Similar to how stores commonly ask if you want to round up or donate, but this is a little more intimate and personal since it is a small business. I think you’ll find community members like to support causes like this, especially when it’s just a few dollars and they get a treat in return. And those dollars can really add up for you to be able to make a great donation later on!
Whether you find a way to incorporate it into your business year-round, or hold an annual event, I promise, it will become a new tradition for your bakery. Show your community what a generous small business looks like, and you will be grateful.
Designs for Cancer Cookies
Purely serving as inspiration for you, I created these cancer cookies with my son in mind (duh)! I used ChefMaster colors to achieve the orange and yellow hues. And used basic shape and plaque cutters for most of the cookies. I did love THIS boxing glove cookie cutter as well!
Not gonna lie, while making these, I still had moments of thinking, “I still can’t believe our son is surviving cancer.” Like everyone always says, you never think it’s going to happen to you. But it can and does happen to new families every day. But I will say, I’m grateful for the perspective on life this experience has given me and our family. I will continue to find the silver linings no matter how big or small.
One Last Ask…
Besties, if there is one thing I can leave you with today, it is this. Find your own unique way to set yourself or your bakery apart. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. In fact, if they are already doing it, then do something else. Find your authentic way to spread your joy in your community. Helping others is a wonderful place to start.
And hey, make sure you’ve subscribed to receive our weekly newsletter! Never miss out on a new recipe, technique, product recommendation, Featured Baker and free printables! Happy Baking, Besties!
Sign up to receive my newsletter!