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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.
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