Saturday, July 7, 2012

Claire Baby: The Benefit & Bake-Sale Style Cupcakes

Prepare yourselves!
This one is a little long...
On April 4th 2011, my very first niece was born.
Claire Marie Onorato
She was precious (and oh look- already wearing pink)!
 I could not wait to spoil that little princess.
Once Fall of 2011 rolled around, my brother and sister-in-law started
to notice a few abnormalities- weight gain, sweating, etc.
They eventually made the decision to bring her to a doctor- the doctor then later
recommended Claire see an endocrinologist due to the likelihood that it was
a hormone issue. After a few series of blood tests and an MRI, Ashley
received a phone call from the doctor asking if she was at home with her husband.
When she replied that she was not, he asked her to please call him once they were 
together. I remember my Mom telling me that as I was pulling out of work.
My Mom, who was already on the verge of tears, was certain that
this was bad news. With a background in medical, I immediately
started thinking of reasons why a doctor would request that both Mom and Dad
be together for what he was about to tell them- 
other than bad news. 
Truth was, I couldn't think of any. I told my Mom he probably had some
long explanation as to what was going on and didn't want to have to repeat 
it from parent to parent. We hoped.
Later that night my mom called me and could barely get the words out.
Claire had cancer.
The MRI had confirmed that there was a grapefruit-sized tumor 
attached to Claire's adrenal gland. She was diagnosed with an extremely
rare (1 in 3 million affected) form of cancer, Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma. 
After announcing that they had to operate immediately, Claire was 
brought back to Shands in Gainesville and the tumor was removed the
following day. The entire family was there before and after the surgery
to meet Claire's team of doctors. I say team because there was literally
like 5 or 6. They informed us that they removed what they could but there 
was still a possibility that it would spread to her bloodstream. After a few
weeks had passed and more tests were run, the doctors found yet
another spot of cancer on Claire's liver. Surgery #2 was arranged and the spot was removed.
Claire has been undergoing chemotherapy since December and will continue
to receive treatment through November of this year. Although her past MRI showed
no new cancer- Thank you, God- the chemo makes her extremely sick
and Ashley was forced to leave her job. Now running only off of
one income, my Aunt Sherry jumped into gear and thought of several
ways in which we can help my brother and his family.

First she arranged for a monthly $15 Donation through November of this year.
The purpose of the $15 was to aid in virtually anything that my brother and
sister-in-law needed at this time, whether it be gas (driving back and forth to Gainesville gets to be extremely expensive), food, bills, personal needs- whatever! 
The idea spread like wildfire. Between the 2 families, a ton of people decided to
participate, which was SO awesome!

Then, Aunt Sherry and one of my Dad's good friends, George,
came up with the idea to host a benefit concert.
The benefit consisted of several live performances, 50/50 raffle, silent auctions,
vendors and of course a good BBQ. 

--> Enter the actual baking side of this post <-- 

When I heard there were a few ladies participating in a bake 
sale geared towards donations, I saw a perfect opportunity to use the
PIN of "individually wrapped" cupcakes for bake sales! Woo hoo!

The "individually wrapped" concept is actually great for a bake sale.
There's no mess and they're way cuter than the standard zip-lock baggie!

I later realized that the combination of 
pink, purple, sprinkles and cheetah
was waaayyy to girly for the Candler VFW  :/
The majority of the people there opted for the margarita cupcakes-
which contained 2 shots of tequila each.
(See "To Bake List") 

Overall, the benefit was a huge success!
We raised over $7,000 from the benefit and easily collected
another $1000 from gift cards, etc. 

Corey & Ashley were blown away and so grateful.
It is honestly so comforting to have the people that we do in our lives.
Thank you SO much, again, to everyone who helped out. 
A special thank you to Aunt Sherry, George & Bambi- Love y'all! 

From Left:
Tammy (Jamie's girlfriend) Dad, Me, Mom, Dan & Jamie (in back) Corey,
Ashley, Aunt Sherry & Alex (in front)

Claire, who had just wrapped up another treatment, was unable to
attend the benefit.

But Corey made sure to snap a photo of her that day!

Happy Girl!


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