When my friend Shari asked me to participate in this year's Bake It Happen campaign to help fund breast cancer research, I jumped at the chance to once again lend my support to the effort to eradicate Stage 4 Breast Cancer, otherwise known as Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC). There is currently no cure for MBC, meaning 100% of those diagnosed with it will die. Despite the fact than 40,000 people die each year from MBC in the United States alone, very little of the funding (<4%) for breast cancer research actually goes to support Metastatic Breast Cancer research, so every dollar raised to fight this uniquely vicious form of cancer makes a tremendous difference. Having lost my own mother to cancer when I was just 18 years old, I'm all too familiar with the lasting impact cancer has on both the people it strikes and the friends and families of those afflicted with cancer, not just in the moment but for generations to come. My son and daughter will never have the privilege of knowing their maternal grandmother, who would have delighted in watching her grandchildren grow up, and I've experienced countless milestones without my mother by my side, an absence I continue to feel each and every day despite the fact that it's been nearly three decades since her passing.
Similarly, Shari's mother Judy was taken by cancer all too soon, as she lost her battle with Metastatic Breast Cancer eleven years ago this month. Even through her hard-fought 6-year battle with MBC, Judy was a beloved baker and cook who loved welcoming family, friends and even strangers to gather around her communal table to embrace the tastes and love emanating from her dishes. Determined to design a creative fundraising campaign to raise money to support MBC research, Shari and her sister started Bake it Happen, through which the sisters are able to continue to spread Judy's culinary love in the name of Metastatic Breast Cancer research. During this annual campaign, which will look a bit different this year (more on this below), people all over the country are challenged to bake one of Judy's treasured recipes and then share a picture of their Bake It Happen culinary creation on Facebook or Instagram.
To date, the Bake It Happen campaign has raised over $150,000 exclusively for Metastatic Breast Cancer research, with this year's fundraising efforts taking on even greater significance as they are a tribute to Shari's Bake it Happen partner, Dr. Rebecca Timlin-Scalerra. Rebecca succumbed to Metastatic Breast Cancer at the age of 47 last December after a courageous 4-year battle with the disease, leaving behind her loving husband and two young children. Dr. Timlin-Scalerra dedicated the last 4 grueling years of her life to her foundation - The Cancer Couch Foundation - which funds MBC research trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Timlin-Scalerra was able to single-handedly raise over $3 million to support these trials - an astonishing legacy that this year's Bake it Happen campaign aims to honor and support.
In lieu of baking, this year's Bake it Happen campaign consists of a fully virtual, donation-based initiative, with a built-in matching program. One hundred percent (100%) of any funds donated to Bake it Happen throughout the month of October will be matched and used to fund The Cancer Couch Foundation, which will in turn use the proceeds to directly fund MBC research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
With less than two weeks left in this year's Bake it Happen campaign, now is the perfect time to get involved to honor Judy and Dr. Timlin-Scalerra's legacies, as well as those of everyone else who has lost their fight with or is still battling breast cancer. Please join me in visiting https://www.bakeithappen.net/donate to donate to this vital effort to support Metastatic Breast Cancer research. Thank you in advance for your support!