In 2007, Liam Witt, the son of longtime OXOnians Gretchen and Larry Witt, was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at the age of two. OXOnians regard each other as family, and news of Liam’s diagnosis hit all of us hard.
Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease of kids in the U.S. The reason, sadly, is simple: lack of funding for new, improved, and less toxic therapies for cancers specific to children. Even though pediatric cancer claims the lives of more children annually than any other disease, it receives less than four percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget.
Motivated to help, Gretchen and Larry had the “crazy” idea to host a larger-than-life cookie sale, gathering more than 250 volunteers (many of them fellow OXOnians) to sell 96,000 cookies — and in just a few weeks they managed to raise more than $400,000 to fund a promising new treatment. Nine months later, they launched Cookies for Kids’ Cancer as a national non-profit organization inspiring grassroots bake sales to help fund research on pediatric cancer. Since then, Cookies has granted more than $16 million, funding 110 grants for research projects, including 42 that are now available treatments.
Sadly, in 2011, Liam lost his battle with cancer, and it profoundly impacted everyone at OXO. For years, Liam was a fixture in our office. He would visit frequently, riding around on his orange scooter, providing unsolicited (but always helpful) product feedback and sharing his vivacious energy. From a very young age he had a clear vision of what he wanted to do when he grew up: become a chef and run OXO. We have no doubt he would have achieved both of his goals.
Through the years, OXOnians have devoted their personal time, energy, and money to support Cookies, but after losing Liam, the company wanted to play a larger role. In 2011, OXO formalized its partnership with Cookies, pledging to donate up to $100,000* per year and plan programs to encourage others to join the fight against pediatric cancer. Since then, we’ve helped inspire other “good cookies” to raise over $2.3 million and host more than 3,000 events in over 700 cities globally.
Want to get involved? This year, there are two ways to partner with us in the fight against pediatric cancer:
- Host a bake sale of your own! Visit Cookies for Kids Cancer to register your bake sale, and select “OXO” in the drop-down menu marked “How did you hear about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer?” and we’ll match your proceeds.* You’ll also get a kit of materials to help you out.
- Post on social media (a pic of a bake sale, a recipe for your favorite sweet treat, a story of your own – whatever you’d like!) and include #OXOGoodCookies — OXO will donate $5 every time that # is used throughout the month of September.*
Looking for inspiration? We’re again inviting our talented chef friends to share their favorite bake sale recipes (basics and beyond) right here on the OXO blog. Stay tuned for new recipes from Marc Murphy, David Burtka, Kristen Tomlan, Renata Ameni and Elizabeth Prueitt, or check out some of the delicious treats whipped up by last year’s participants.
*We will match/donate up to our annual $100k commitment.