NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – If you’re considering giving cookies as a gift this holiday season, there’s one in particular that won’t only the delight the cookie-lover on your list but will help sick children, too.
As CBS2’s Alex Denis reported, it all started with a brave little boy.
Liam Witt was just two and a half years old when he was diagnosed with stage four cancer. After years of grueling treatments, he died at the age of six.
“I know that I am going to see my son again,” Liam’s mother, Gretchen, told Denis.
The Witts say Liam’s options were limited because so little money goes to pediatric cancer research.
“We knew how difficult it was not only for our son but for all children who are battling cancer, and so we had to do something,” said Gretchen.
So what they did was start Cookies for Kids’ Cancer to raise money. It’s become a fundraising powerhouse to help give other kids a better chance than Liam had.
“The first treatment that we helped to fund would be one that Liam ultimately could have used, but it became available eight months after he lost his battle,” Gretchen said.
Now, in a 10th anniversary bake-a-thon, volunteers produced some 20,000 cookies – with professional chefs and other volunteers pitching in.
“I think we often take it for granted how well we have it, and so to do something else for somebody else is great,” chef Dan Kluger said.
The Institute for Culinary Education donated the equipment, and the finest ingredients are used to make the cookies. But there’s something else at work.
“I think a key ingredient being love. It’s something I think you can almost taste in the finished product,” said chef Michael Laiskonnis.
Some who knew Liam said the experience was bittersweet.
“It’s hard. You think about Liam, and as much as we’re doing a lot of good, you’d give anything to have him here,” volunteer David Bonom said.
Gretchen said the event is especially meaningful, because Liam wanted to be a chef – one with a twist.
“He was going to be a guitar-playing chef — a unique genre that hasn’t quite been invented yet,” she said. “He definitely would have done it.”
So far, they’ve sponsored $15 million in new treatments.
“You either choose to move forward and you find what that path is… For us, it’s been to continue to help others,” Gretchen said.
The $15 million raised is the result of cookie sales as well as other fundraising events by the organization in the United States and 18 other countries.