It was ten years ago when Amy McFadin, a 26 year old high school teacher was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She underwent three rounds of chemo and was preparing for a stem cell collection when she died from a cerebral hemorrhage. Her death came only three months after her original diagnosis.
Following her death, Amy’s family participated in a number of fundraisers for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) but her seven year old niece, Sophia Pruden, wanted to do something on her own to honor the memory of her aunt. With the help of her family Sophia set up a lemonade and cookie stand outside their home and with nothing more than a couple big jugs of lemonade and about 50 dozen cookies, she raised nearly 800 dollars in donations.
After that first successful fundraiser there was no stopping Sophia and as each year passed the annual Sophia’s Cookies for a Cure fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society grew bigger. With Sophia leading the way, the original lemonade and cookie stand has grown into an annual event that takes over an entire blocked off street and includes a bounce house, raffle table, art table, hot dogs and yes, lemonade and cookies. Sophia begins collecting and squeezing donated lemons as early as January for the 75 gallons of lemonade needed to accompany the 300 dozen cookies baked every year by Sophia’s grandpa.
Over the past 9 years, through this annual event that began with the heart and commitment of a seven year old girl more than 65,000 dollars has been raised to support the work of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year, Sophia’s Cookies for a Cure will be celebrating it’s farewell event and Sophia is hoping to raise an additional 15,000 dollars for a grand total of 80,000 dollars for this ten year labor of love in memory of Amy McFadin.
As soon as Sophia’s Cookies for a Cure was brought to my attention by a cookie friend I knew it was the perfect kickoff event for Baking Sweet Hope for three big reasons!
- Sophia’s Cookies for a Cure is about cookies and cookies are what we do!
- Sophia’s Cookies for a Cure supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in their vital work of research, advocacy, and patient support. Most likely there’s not a single one among us who doesn’t have someone close to them who’s been impacted by a cancer of the blood.
- And finally, Sophia’s Cookies for a Cure is the perfect embodiment of what we’ve all come to celebrate and that’s the ability to use something as simple as a cookie to help others and bring positive change, along with a whole lot of joy, into our world. Beginning as a little girl with a lemonade stand and now as a young woman spearheading an entire community of volunteers and neighbors, Sophia serves as an inspiration to all of us.
The last weekend in May Sophia will be concluding her annual fundraiser after ten years with the Sophia’s Cookies for Cure Farewell Celebration to be held in her hometown of La Mesa, California. I’ve asked Sophia if it would be okay, and her Grandpa wouldn’t mind, for us to send enough decorated cookies to fill up a table to add to this final fundraising effort. The answer from Sophia was a definite and enthusiastic YES!
So consider this your personal invitation to join me in The Official First-Ever Community Event of Baking Sweet Hope! Our goal is for 20 bakers to each donate anywhere from 1 to 3 dozen cookies. We want to send enough cookies to fill a six foot table to overflowing but not so many as to overwhelm Sophia and her volunteers with the added hours involved in unpacking all the boxes and organizing the cookies.
STOP THE PRESSES! In just 24 hours following the first announcement of this baking sweet hope opportunity all the spots for bakers (and then some!) have been filled, and so I’ve closed the flood gates of kindness and removed the sign up form. How great is this!? How awesome are you?!
If you didn’t get the chance to participate in this event be assured that there are going to be countless opportunities in the future to join with others in baking sweet hope! In the meantime, you can still be part of Sophia’s Cookies for a Cure in several key ways.
- Follow Sophia’s Cookies for a Cure 2017 on Facebook
- Make a tax-deductible donation at Sophia’s LLS Donation Page
- Learn more about blood cancers by visiting and then sharing the page for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
- And when bakers start posting their photos of the cookies they donated to this great event consider sharing a few of them on your own social media accounts to spread the word, using the hashtags, #sophiascookiesforacure2017, #bakingsweethope, and #kitchenkindness
A 2016 article in the Mission Times Courier on Sophia’s Cookies for a Cure