A group of local teens came up with a delicious way to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They baked scrumptious cupcakes, cake pops, cookies and pastries and sold them at Verdugo Park on Sunday morning. Items were displayed beautifully on tiered plates and wrapped in cellophane tied with pink ribbon.
Cancer survivor Ella Boghossian said the idea for “Benefit Bake” came from her daughter Michelle Boghossian, 13, an eighth-grader at Wilson Middle School, and Michelle’s friend Sione Markarian, 13, who is in the eighth grade at a private school.
All the girls participating have had family members who have faced cancer.
Michelle wanted to do something to celebrate her mother's remission and help others battling cancer, she said.
Sione’s grandmother is also in remission from cancer, she said.
“Doing this kind of thing helps because we know a lot of other people are going through the same thing in other places and it's a great thing to have support for everyone else,” she said.
They wanted to help the Glendale Adventist Free Cancer Support Services after going to visit the patients.
“It made me happy,” Michelle said. “It was nice to see them working together and laughing.”
Funds raised will go to Adventist's foundation to help Cancer Support Services provide patients with free group counseling, knitting classes, dance, yoga and art therapy, said Ella Boghossian, who is a member of Adventist's Cancer Care Guild and helped the girls organize the “Benefit Bake.”
“Being there and seeing these people come together as a family is really touching and fantastic,” Ella Boghossian said. “A lot of cancer patients don't have the luxury that we do being rich with family and friends, and it is amazing that Glendale Adventist has this fabulous thing for the patients.”
What impressed the girls and their moms most is that the services are available to all cancer patients not just those receiving treatment at Glendale Adventist Medical Center.
City Council members Ara Najarian and Laura Friedman stopped by to support the event.
“This is a great group of young people now getting involved in helping make our community a better place and especially helping those who are less fortunate that are surviving cancer,” Najarian said.
Friedman, who is a breast cancer survivor, loved seeing the teens so passionate about a project and willing to spend their day raising money for cancer services, she said. In the past, Friedman and her husband helped raise funds for Adventist's Cancer Support Services by organizing a garden tour.
“I wish more cancer patients knew about the program so they could take advantage of it,” Friedman said. “The program needs the financial support to keep it going, so what is happening today here is really important because it not only raises funds, but it's creating a new generation of people who contribute, and these girls will grow up doing this year after year and will be people who will contribute to the community.”
This was the second time the teen group organized a breast cancer fundraiser, said Ramella Markarian, president of Glendale Adventist's Cancer Care Guild. The first event was held a few months ago and raised $2,600. Sunday's event raised $3,090.
The baked leftovers were donated to Ascencia, a program that benefits the homeless, which moved into its new headquarters at 1851 Tyburn St., on Monday.
Both Markarian and Ella Boghossian said they hope to create more projects to get the teens involved in helping the community, such as food drives for the upcoming holidays.
Others helping on the bake sale were Maneh Nazaryan, Lauren Bagdasarian, Leah Gharibian, Michelle Sinani, Leanna Chraghchian, Michelle Turchan, Olivia Faalnik, Elita Minas, Natalie Boyadjian, Raya Der Bedrossian, Ani Der Ashotian, Talin Buickians, Tanya Buickians, Arlene Ovanessian, Tatiana Adamian, Emily Aslanian, Emily Amirian, Narineh Amirian, Alex Boghossian, Charlotte Bonyadi, Lynette Bonyadi and Nare Davtian.
JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.