When the parents of children being treated for neuroblastoma at Memorial Sloan-Kettering (including a Park Slope child who was treated from 1998 to 2001 and now receives follow-up care, and another Park Sloper in treatment now) found out that only two million dollars was needed to fund the development of a new treatment for this rare and lethal cancer of the nervous system, they decided to raise some dough over the holidays. In true parent fashion, they planned a bake sale.
Making 96,000 cookies sounded ambitious to me, but when I heard that the ingredients had been donated and all the work would be volunteered, baking a difference began to seem a lot more possible. So I signed up and found myself in a tiny rented kitchen in Prospect Heights, taking over at the temperamental oven from a group of French Culinary Institute students. The operation was a well-oiled machine. In just two weeks, 350 of us volunteered. Boxes of cookies were stacked to the ceiling, ready to ship out as Internet orders streamed in. The air was fragrant with citrus shortbread.
Over 8,000 cookie buyers helped to raise over $200,000. I left smelling of butter, filled with hopes for a new antibody treatment for neuroblastoma—and with a new appreciation for the power of snickerdoodles.