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High School Seniors Honor Loved Ones with Cakes for Cancer

  Laurie Davis Grey & Richard and May Ziman

Ruby Garland (left) and Abby Nathanson.
Photo: Audra Nathanson

Facing the death of a loved one is never easy, and for Marymount High School senior Abby Nathanson, losing her beloved aunt Jodi to non-small-cell lung cancer was very difficult. After 18 months of fighting the disease, Jodi, known for her love of creating sweet treats and for her warrior-like attitude and determination to beat one of the deadliest cancers in the world, lost her life at the age of 53, leaving behind a son and daughter.

To cope with the loss, Abby Nathanson decided that the best way to honor her aunt’s memory was to continue her aunt’s passion of baking cakes. Nathanson founded Cakes for Cancer and donates proceeds from the sale of the cakes to the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) to benefit lung-cancer research.

“I watched my aunt go through the cancer fight for more than a year, and I don’t want other people to go through that,” said Nathanson. “My hope is that all the money raised will help doctors find a cure for this horrible disease.”

Nathanson asked her friend Ruby Garland to help launch Cakes for Cancer by starting a club at their high school to recruit fellow students. The teenagers were amazed when 116 girls volunteered. “When Abby told me about the fundraiser, I immediately wanted to help,” said Garland, vice president of the Cakes for Cancer school club. “I’ve experienced a similar loss of a family member to bone cancer.”

Most of the cakes have a variety of designs on them and the slogan Cakes for Cancer written on the top with frosting. The teens sell the cakes at school or the Pacific Palisades Farmers Market. In less than a year, the girls raised more than $10,000.

Nathanson’s passion for her fundraiser has grown stronger in the past few months, following her grandmother’s late-stage lung-cancer diagnosis. “My grandmother’s heart-wrenching diagnosis emphasizes the importance of funding cancer research, so that doctors can find a cure,” Nathanson said.

The money raised from Cakes for Cancer helps fund early experimental research and ideas that might not otherwise be supported through traditional sources. Nathanson, Garland and the Cakes for Cancer club are making a difference — or, as they say, “Baking a Difference!”

For more information, contact Margaret Steele at: (310) 794-5244


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