Emily is a pretty amazing little girl who just takes my breath away with her kindness. When she was about two and a half she opted to have a ‘Toys for Tots’ party where friends and family brought gifts for ‘Toys for Tots’ instead of her. This led to her wanting to donate her 3rd birthday to the Cumberland Animal Shelter. She has donated each Christmas since to ‘Toys for Tots’.
The donations get bigger and better each year as she makes more friends in karate, hockey and school. She donated her 4th and 5th birthday parties to the Hasbro Children’s hospital in honor of a little boy in our town who had cancer. He actually passed on the day of her 5th birthday party. This year, she donated her party to the Providence Animal Shelter. We no sooner got the donations unloaded when she came out with the idea for next year’s birthday party – to collect school supplies for her teachers!
So it came as no surprise when she said she wanted to do something for Travis.
Emily met Travis last August at the WIFFLE ball tournament. They had “written” back and forth to one another for some time, but it was the first time that they actually met. I purchased some raffle tickets at the event and put all of them toward the Cooks Illustrated cookbook. Emily asked if I won, could we make strawberry shortcake. Of course, I said ‘yes’ and didn’t give it another thought.
When I won the cookbook, I didn’t even have it in my hands before Emily asked when we would be making the strawberry shortcake. I told her we could do it the following Sunday. Unfortunately, the following Sunday between hockey practices we were rear-ended while driving on an off ramp. Everyone and everything was fine, but Emily complained of pain in her neck. The paramedics felt that she should go to the hospital.
She was c-spined and kept in her car seat for the ride to the hospital. As we were approaching Hasbro Children’s hospital, I noticed big tears streaming down her face. I asked her what was wrong and she said, “Mommy, I don’t want a wheelchair like Travis has.” I asked her if she could wiggle her toes and she said, “yes”. I told her that when Travis got hurt he couldn’t do that, so she was going to be OK.
As we pulled into the ambulance bay, she looked at me with all the seriousness a 5-year-old could have and said, “Mommy, we need to give money to Travis.” When I asked her why, she said, “so people don’t need wheelchairs.”
I didn’t think much more of this, and about a week went by before she brought it up again as we were making the strawberry shortcake. Emily said that we needed to raise money for TRF. I asked her how she wanted to do that; she said by making cakes. Originally she wanted to sell them for $100 each and make as many as people would buy. I thought she was crazy and we negotiated the price down. Eventually she decided $24 and 24 cakes would be a good donation and celebrate Travis’ hockey jersey number. She made a video that I put on Facebook as well as a “sign” to advertise.
In less than 24 hours all of the 24 cakes were spoken for. She wanted to make more. I agreed to 14 more. Then she wanted to make more…how could I say no?
Every cake has been made with recipes from the Cooks Illustrated book that I won. She makes them all herself. I simply read the directions and put the cakes in and out of the oven. She does everything else, including decorating the boxes!
By now we have a little more than $1,000 raised and 90+ days to go. Emily is hoping to make another $200 so she can get to a grand total of $2,400 with the Positive Tracks match. Sensing her theme yet? It is quite possible she will surpass that since we have 8 cakes on order already and several folks who have promised to ask for one come July when cheesecakes hit the market!
I have taken pictures of almost every cake and cake box she has done. I have pictures of her at all steps in the process – cracking eggs, measuring flour, pouring cake batter, frosting, decorating, you name it. But, if you ask her what her favorite cake she made was, she will tell you the one she made for Travis because she got to eat it with him.
We know there are more Positive Trackers out there like Emily and we are committed to helping you find your passion for helping TRF! We also know it can be daunting to step up to home plate, let alone raise money for a charity. But, since you all aren’t afraid of a curve ball, let us help you find ways to hit fundraising totals out of the ball park and have fun at the same time.
Our Positive Tracks Coordinator can give you hands-on support and guidance to get you motivated and moving on your own terms and turf.
Don’t forget that Positive Tracks will double your impact too. It’s fundraising that’s twice as nice. Click here to get started!