How to Be a ‘Good Cookie’ this September!

It’s September – a month that brings happy thoughts of fall, being together with friends on campus, the beginning of Cornhuskin’ planning, and the fun of football games. But September is also National Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. And thanks to one very determined, unstoppable Meredith alumna, we now all think of kids fighting cancer when September arrives.

When 2 ½ year old Liam Witt, son of Gretchen Holt Witt ’89, was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, Gretchen and her husband were shocked to learn the main reason over 25% of kids diagnosed with cancer do not survive is because of lack of effective therapies. And the reason for lack of therapies is very simple – lack of funding. They pledged to support the development of new and better treatments by giving people a simple way to get involved. Their answer was ‘Cookies’ and specifically the launch of  Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a national non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to support new types of treatments and therapies for pediatric cancer by inspiring individuals, businesses and communities to host local bake sales.

Many members of the Meredith community have gotten involved in Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sales all across the US. Several bake sales in the Raleigh area have been planned and organized by Meredith alumnae, staff and friends. Led by a Meredith alumna, the Charlotte area is filled with 30 days worth of bake sales in honor of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. A bake sale organized by a recent Meredith alumna in Greensboro was held in honor of Liam Witt. Current Meredith students have gotten involved and helped to write thank you notes to bake sale hosts all across the United States. Thanks to Gretchen’s many talents, another new way to get involved is by purchasing Cookies for Kids’ Cancers first cookbook, Best Bake Sale Cookbook. The book hit the shelves on September 12. The cookbook is also available on 100% of author proceeds from this book will go directly to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer which in turn helps to support pediatric cancer research and treatments. OXO Goodgrips is also selling limited edition Cookies For Kids’ Cancer spatulas – these are available through as well.  Our ability to make an impact is limitless and while not all of us have the time to hold a bake sale of our own, we all have the opportunity to get involved on some level.

Our challenge to you, Meredith alumnae? Be a good cookie and get involved! Then, come back here and post a comment telling us what you’re doing to help make a difference.


Let’s make the letter ‘C’ mean ‘Cookies’

In 2007 Gretchen Holt Witt, ’89 and her husband Larry learned that their precious two year old son Liam had a deadly form of pediatric cancer.  Their son, Liam was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma: a type of cancer that merely 30% of children survive. Stunned and frightened, they began to fight for Liam in every way possible.  Along the way, they were shocked to find out that pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 18 yet is severely underfunded.  In December 2007, Gretchen and Larry founded Cookies For Kids’ Cancer, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research.  Their secondary goal: to make the letter ‘c’ mean ‘cookies’ – not ‘cancer’.

Cookies For Kids’ Cancer has been able to raise over 2.5 million dollars since its humble beginnings in 2007.  The organization has caught the attention of superstars such as Oprah Winfrey and Joan Cusack. They have even been featured on Live with Regis and Kelly, Good Morning America, and in numerous publications such as the Washington Post, Parents, O, and Good Housekeeping.  All the while, behind the scenes Liam Witt continued his own battle against cancer.  In May of last year, Gretchen returned to Meredith College to deliver the Commencement speech to the class of 2010.  The Meredith College community was both honored and privileged to have their own real-life hero standing before them.  Her poignant speech inspired Meredith’s graduates to make a change in the world and to remain faithful and diligent no matter what the odds may be.

Sadly, on January 24th Liam lost his hard-fought battle with Neuroblastoma. His parents wrote, “Our dearest Prince could simply fight no more as his enemy had grown in size and strength. He fought fearlessly and relentlessly for 4 years… Our heart is broken and with it the ability to rationalize the rush of feelings that surround us.”  Prince Liam’s service took place on February 14th in New York City at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.  During the service, Gretchen spoke about the legacy that her son left behind, “When I think about my son, his life, his legacy and what he taught others, the message is clear:  it was love.   He lived his life with love as his true north.  Love for people, love for knowledge, love for living, love for life.  He truly lived to love.”

At the young age of six years old, Liam was somehow able to spark a revolution.  He has taught us how to live each day to its fullest, how to laugh and smile in the face of danger, how simple it is to make a difference and most importantly how to live a life full of love.  We post this story today in honor of our brave Prince Liam and our hero Gretchen Holt Witt.  We hope that you will be inspired to make a difference and change the world…one cookie at a time…

For more information on Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, click here.

Welcome to Beyond the Back Gate!

Today we are proud to announce the launching of our brand new Meredith College Alumnae blog, Beyond the Back Gate. It is our hope that this blog will make you think, laugh, and maybe even cry.  We hope that through stories, photos, and articles you will feel a renewed connection to our beloved Alma Mater.

Everyone knows that there is something special about a Meredith Alumna.  Similarly, Meredith Alumnae know that there is something special about our Meredith College.   The honest truth is that Meredith is so incredible and so remarkable that it has become a part of who we are; it is ingrained in us and has helped shape us into the women we are today.

The 2010 Commencement speaker, Gretchen Holt Witt ’89, put it best when she said, “While you’re at Meredith, it’s not just the mind that is learning, it is the soul that is also growing.  What I didn’t realize at the time was just how much Meredith was a part of me.  But now I know that although I left Meredith many years ago, it has never left me.”

So please, sit back, relax, enjoy and don’t forget to come back and check up on us.  We hope that you’ll join us as we show you what’s going on Beyond the Back Gate of Meredith College.  We are so grateful for your support, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

-Meredith Moore ’10

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