Elephant Cookies – we made a couple dozen last week. They were cute, they were tasty, we shared them with friends… they will not help to cure cancer.
Kneaders Bakery and Cafe, however, is offering an Elephant Cookie that will. Because September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, these cute cookies are being sold for $2.99 and 100% of the proceeds raised will go directly to childhood cancer research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Elephants have always been my favorite animal at the zoo, but what do they have to do with all of this? Apparently elephants have 100 times more cells than humans, so it would seem that they should be 100 times as likely to get cancer. Not so! Cancer in elephants is very rare.
Our doctor at Huntsman Cancer Institute, Joshua Schiffman, has been conducting some very interesting research. People have two copies of the gene we call P53 – elephants have FORTY copies of this gene! When Dr. Schiffman taught my children about P53, he called it the superhero gene. It rushes in when a cell is misbehaving – it either corrects the problem or gets rid of the troublesome cell. If this misbehaving cell were to continue, it has the potential to become cancerous. Forty Super-Heroes would be cool, something like that last Avenger movie, but all on the same side.
Because of Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, four of my six children have only one operating superhero gene – thus the high tendency to develop cancer. They have been behind the scenes at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City to have their blood drawn simultaneously with the elephants. Dr. Schiffman has shared with us some exciting possibilities for the future of cancer care – perhaps my grandchildren will have an entirely different experience with cancer than my children have, or perhaps no experience at all.
Apparently the National Cancer Institute spent 96% of its research funding on adult cancer research. Childhood cancer could use a little help.
Dr. Schiffman had cancer as a child. His research is helping other children. The founder of Kneaders had a grandson diagnosed with childhood cancer at age 13. Their fundraising will help other children. Three of my children have had cancer, (more than once) and we want to help other children. I have neither the expertise nor the money to do what Kneaders and Dr. Schiffman are doing, but I can do my part by spreading the word.
There are 52 Kneaders locations in the United States, but sadly, none in Dallas, TX. So, we made our own cookies. We did not sell them, but we did share them with friends. Hoping someone will share this information with a few of their own friends….