How did you first meet Gretchen Witt?
I first met Gretchen at a Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sale in Amagansett. We hit it off instantly. I was completely moved by her story and her mission with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. When Gretchen’s sweet son Liam was diagnosed with cancer, she baked and sold 96,000 cookies to raise money for pediatric cancer research. That is a crazy feat! Gretchen and I just connected – we both want to bake cookies to make the world a better place. When it comes down to it, it’s as simple as that.
What inspired you to get involved with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer?
Gretchen’s industrious and entrepreneurial spirit is what first drew me to the cause. I was touched by her story, her energy, her strength, her compassion. Gretchen took something in her life that was so, so difficult – first the diagnosis and then ultimately the loss of her son, Liam, to childhood cancer – and she turned it into something that does good in a HUGE way.
For me, baking has always been about making the world a little bit sweeter. Some days that is as simple as bringing a tin of Milk Bar cookies to share at a meeting. But working with Cookies for Kids’ has been an opportunity to do good in a much bigger way. The money we have raised through Cookies for Kids’ has funded 100 different research grants and resulted in 37 new treatments that are in clinical trial. 37! If we had done this ten years ago, Liam would have had more options. That breaks my heart, and it is the reason we keep going.
How has your role with the charity evolved over the years?
I’ve been involved in different facets over the years. These days, I’m on the Board of Directors for Cookies for Kids’ and I host the annual Chefs for Kids’ Cancer Gala, a completely stunning evening of incredible food and drink with other like-minded, big hearted chefs and mixologists.
I also host Family Fun Day, an awesome craft and cookie-filled extravaganza that makes me feel like a total kid again.