The check was literally bigger than they were. So big, in fact, it took the two girls who raised the money, and their two brothers, to hold it. It was also big in another way: $14,231, representing countless dozens of homemade cookies and tee-shirts, all sold by the girls along with donations raised by them to support Stand Up To Cancer.
Riley Farmer, age 10, and her friend Cece Chatterjee, 8, recently presented the check to Stand Up, in a brief ceremony at our New York City office. Helping them were their brothers, Xander Chatterjee, 11, and Will Farmer, 8. They raised the money to help researchers find new and better ways to treat patients like Riley’s mom, Katy, who is battling stage four colorectal cancer, and in memory of Cece’s grandfather, who lost his battle with lung cancer.
“It’s been a real rollercoaster ride, with so many challenges and changes,” said Riley about her family’s experience with cancer. Riley explained that when she first heard about her mother’s diagnosis, she “had to do something more than just talking about it. You have to do something.”
What started as a bake sale on their street blossomed into a cancer-fighting enterprise, with more than just scrumptious chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies. On their website, www.cookiesforcures.com, you can see their menu of cookies, cupcakes and whole cakes (for local purchase only) and an assortment of T-shirts and hoodies designed by the girls. All of the proceeds from the sale of treats and apparel benefit Stand Up To Cancer. Even if you’re not local, you can still support Cookies for Cures via their fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/cookiesforcures.
Just because they presented that amazing check, it hasn’t slowed them down as their efforts continue. This spring they are expanding their offerings with activity programs for adults (babysitting services available), including sunrise walks complete with a homemade breakfast bar.
Cece and Riley’s spirit of “paying it forward” is infectious; when one generous patron asked to buy all their cookies, the girls refused to sell them, hoping instead to reach more people with their delicious message. Undeterred, the customer gave them $100 anyway and instructed the girls, “if there’s someone who wants a cookie but doesn’t have the money, it’s on me.”
We look forward to seeing Riley, Cece and their families next year at our 2019 Scientific Summit, when they’ll hear about the progress their Stand Up donations have supported. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to keep up with Riley and Cece’s progress on their website, and if you’re ever nearby, buy a cookie.