Yesterday during a local college graduation, I heard one woman's story with 'C' words. In her case, the words were Cancer and Cookies - words that make us cringe and smile. You may wonder, as her audience did, what message connects pediatric cancer with baking and how, or indeed if, that translates to a take-away for the Class of 2010. But, the two things are connected and the connection is germane to the graduates. And it's a message I think you'll appreciate as well.
The speaker was Gretchen Holt who founded a charity to raise money for pediatric cancer research after her son was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. She discovered the secret of cancer economics - new and better treatments will only be discovered if more money is spent on research. And from this sobering truth an idea was born for a giant bake sale - 96,000 cookies baked and sold in a few weeks. This raised over $400,000 and the idea for a more permanent method of raising funds and awareness was born.
Today Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a well-known charity. Like many brilliant ideas it's simple: hold local bake sales and pool the proceeds. You can get involved by hosting your own bake sale or purchasing cookies (gift packages are available): www.cookiesforkidscancer.org.
So what was Gretchen's message for the graduates? That we can't know what our future will hold, but the skills we develop along the way can stand us in good stead when we face life's inevitable crises. She specifically spoke to the skills learned in four years at a small college - researching a situation/problem at the onset, finding mentors who will offer their expertise and support, giving 100%, and approaching problems creatively. Gretchen's message was much more eloquent, but I hope I've conveyed a bit of its spirit.