WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One survivor’s journey is coming full circle with batches of homemade cookies.
FOR THE LOVE OF BAKING
Donna O’Brien was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2008. While she was going through chemotherapy, she started making cookies in her kitchen. Now cancer-free, O’Brien continues to bake to help women just like her.
They’re called Bambinos, which means ‘baby’ in Italian. The little sugar cookies are coated with a dollop of special frosting and sprinkles. O’Brien said she and her niece perfected the homemade recipe after hours of trial and error in her kitchen.
Today, O’Brien is still churning out dozens of batches, but for a purpose that hits close to home.
THE BEYOND PINK TEAM
While O’Brien was sick, she noticed other women in the Cedar Valley were getting help from the Beyond Pink Team. She realized she wanted to do something special for the local organization.
“[The Beyond Pink Team] makes sure women get to chemo, they make sure women’s children get fed if they’re worried, if they’re single moms and their children don’t have beds, they’re buying furniture for their homes,” she said. “I mean, they do beyond what I even think people understand. It’s just a phenomenal organization.”
O’Brien started making cookies for the Beyond Pink Team’s events and fundraisers. Then, the cookies became so popular that she started making them for office events, birthday parties, graduations, showers and weddings. Now, she’s meeting with grocery stores across the state so they can sell them.
A big chunk of Bambinos’ proceeds go to the Beyond Pink Team. The Cedar Valley organization provides support groups, helps women find treatment options and goes to Washington D.C. to lobby for breast cancer research.
PAYING IT FORWARD
Ten years ago, O’Brien said she was worried she wasn’t going to make it. Now, she calls every day a blessing. She wants to pay it forward – to give hope to struggling women.
“I always think, ‘What would I have done had I not been diagnosed?’ I maybe wouldn’t have found a cause, and I maybe wouldn’t have found something to be so passionate about that can really help people,” O’Brien explained. “I think that’s what you learn from illness.”
SUPPORT THE CAUSE
You can find Bambinos at the HyVee in Cedar Falls. There are two different sizes available.
For more information about the Beyond Pink Team, click here: http://beyondpinkteam.org/