Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud, and how does it relate to the person you are?
Slowly walking down the stairs, wiping the sleep from my eyes, I head directly towards the kitchen. The cold metal mixing bowl meets my hand as I remove it from the cupboard. Struggling to make it to the counter with my hands full of ingredients, I set forth on my flour-covered journey, the last of six I had embarked on this summer.
Sifting, pouring, whisking, I carefully combine each ingredient into a masterful mixture. Two sets of tins await their pink liners, graham cracker crust, and heaping mounds of chocolate cake batter. All 24 creations enter the 350-degree oven to bake into perfection. Eighteen minutes later the oven beeps, I take them out, and do it all again, and then again.
All six-dozen cupcakes cool, giving me time to update the Facebook page, Gabby’s Cupcakes for Cancer, with today’s flavor, s’more, and a reminder that I would start selling the cupcakes this afternoon at 4:00 for $2.00 each. The newest information about Kaitlin’s progress slides out of the printer, waiting to be reported to all her supporters.
Frosting time! I whip together the egg whites, vanilla, and sugar until I get the perfect marshmallow consistency. I fill the frosting bag and start swirling it onto the cupcakes, a skill that took several years to perfect. The cupcakes are now complete.
I carry the table out in front of my house and start setting up shop. While hanging the sign that I spent hours crafting on Adobe InDesign, I examine the picture of Kaitlin I placed on it. A picture of a nine-year-old having the best time dancing on stage, a stage I had shared with her just a month before her diagnosis in May of 2013.
3:50, ten minutes before I said I would start selling, people are lining up to buy my cupcakes. I dash inside, grab the cupcakes, and rush back out, managing to only have one casualty in the chaos. Seventy-one cupcakes sold by 4:03, a record-breaking time.
I share with my customers how Kaitlin was rushed to the hospital for immediate surgery to address what was originally thought to be appendicitis, but turned out to be a rare form of pediatric cancer, and how fortunately her condition was constantly improving after many months of chemotherapy. My heart fills with an immense sense of pride as I look at my driveway full of people I had rallied in support of Kaitlin. A feeling of satisfaction overwhelms me, knowing that I can combine my passions to have a positive impact on others’ lives, whether it’s my cupcakes or donating to a worthy cause.
Four-hundred-fifty cupcakes later, I totaled $1,500 for the whole summer, a number I never conceived possible. Although it only made a small dent in the cost of Kaitlin’s 14 months of treatments, the contribution assured her that she did not have to face this journey alone. After this experience I am confident that I can face the world as an adult; make my own decisions, help others, and do what I love.
I am happy to report that as of July 2014 Kaitlin is cancer-free.