Gretchen Holt Witt
Gretchen Holt Witt is more than my sister in law – she is truly one of the most inspiring women (and mothers) I have ever known. When her son, Liam, was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma at the age of 2 ½ in February 2007, she was shocked to learn that pediatric cancer claims the lives of more kids in the US than any other disease. And the reason why? Lack of funding for new therapies. Instead of sitting back and wishing and hoping for change, she thought of a way to increase awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research that was simple enough for anyone to get involved. She held a bake sale. This wasn't your everyday bake sale but a HUGE holiday bake sale. For three weeks in December of 2007, she and over 250 volunteers baked and sold 96,000 cookies, raising over $420,000 for a new treatment for cancer that has just become available in clinical trial. In addition to the success of the holiday event, she ultimately started a national non-profit organization called Cookies For Kids’ Cancer. Cookies For Kids’ Cancer is committed to raising awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research through the concept of local bake sales and online cookie sales. Since that first event, millions of dollars have been raised and have directly helped fund pediatric cancer research. Tragically, Liam lost his battle and passed away in January of this year at the age of 6 1/2. Despite being absolutely devastated at the loss of their son, Gretchen and my brother are even more determined to stay in the fight to give other children who are still in battle the fighting chance every child deserves. Gretchen has recently finished The Cookies For Kids’ Cancer Best Bake Sale Cookbook, to be released September 12th. It’s just another way Gretchen is working to make a difference every single day. I can't imagine doing everything that she has done, and continues to do, having faced such a tragic and devastating loss. I am in awe of her courage, strength, and drive although being called inspirational makes her uncomfortable. She says she just did what any mother would do, and that Liam (and her daughter Ella) are who made her the mother she is....Please vote for Gretchen today.