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Cancer, Cupcakes, and Charity!

Parked outside our office building at the lunch hour, are several food trucks vying for the perfect spot to sell their goodies. Mostly they try and park as close to the doors as possible, hoping to attract as many lunch-goers as they can (the science behind the food truck’s  “mythical spot,” can be found at NPR.com). Outside our doors we have the pasta lady, the falafel guy and a number of cupcake trucks tempting us with their sweet treats. Regardless of the options, I always go to the one cupcake truck that promises to not only satisfy my sweet tooth, but change the world in BIG ways too: Cupcakes for Courage!

Cupcakes for Courage is the brainchild of Kathryn and Laura Pekarik, two sisters that share the same passion for baking and saving the world. In May 2010, Kathryn was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s T-cell Lymphoma, which accounts for about 15% of all non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas in the US each year. According to Laura, “When we were at the hospital, we’d always talk about what we’d bake next. It kept our minds off everything. We couldn’t control the cancer, but when we talked about recipes, we could create flavors and measurements—and we knew what the outcome would be.”

Near the end of that year, a benefit was held in Kathryn’s honor to help defray the costs of her medical care.  To help contribute, Laura baked 250 cupcakes to host a bake sale at the event. Needless to say, her cupcakes were a huge hit and friends and family were begging for more! As a result, Cupcakes for Courage was born to provide the Chicago-area with delicious cupcakes while raising money for cancer research and Ride Janie Ride, an organization dedicated to providing direct financial assistance to Chicagoland individuals facing financial hardship as a result of their cancer care.

Giving back is what sets Cupcakes for Courage apart from the others. According to Kathryn and Laura, “Cancer research is an incredibly important cause and requires funding to find a cure.  That’s why we donate our proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the American Cancer Society,” and Ride Janie Ride. In 2011, Kathryn was selected as the Ride Janie Ride recipient. She was so touched by their mission and their 100% volunteer base that she wanted to help them in their cause by “paying it forward.” Laura says, “Our hope is that one day, no one will have to suffer from the disease ever again.”

If you in the Chicagoland area, keep an eye out for the big green food truck plastered in cupcakes. You can also catch them in an episode of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network (yes, they’re that good!). Finally, you can visit them at their website, www.cupcakesforcourage.com or if you’re in downtown Elmhurst, IL, stop by Brainfreeze where they do all their baking and have a taste!

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