CHICAGO — For the past four years, a nonprofit group has been baking up a phenomenal way to help families with sick kids.
Baking Memories 4 Kids sells cookies and then uses the profit to send kids and their families on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
The man behind it all, Frank Squeo, is a cancer survivor himself and says he vowed if he made it through he would devote the rest of his time to helping others battling life-threatening diseases. In four years’ time, he’s single-handedly sold enough cookies to send 60 families to Disney World for a week.
A Chicago family marked trip number 61 Wednesday. Doctors gave 12-year-old Aoife Gallagher two years to live after she was diagnosed with a rare disease that robbed her of the ability to walk and talk. That was eight years ago, and while she has beat the odds, it has been a difficult road for her family.
On Wednesday, a Chicago fire truck pulled up outside the Gallagher home, its lights flashing. Inside, Frank Squeo was armed with a giant Mickey Mouse doll and a huge smile. He delivered the big surprise: an all-expense-paid trip to all of the Florida theme parks for a full week.
While a vacation will never erase the ordeals families and their sick children endure, it gives them a moment to focus on the joy of living. Every trip is funded entirely by the sale of chocolate chip cookies to donors and consumers who get to satisfy their sweet tooth for a great cause.