Volunteers Sell Sweet Treats for OSF Healthcare

Marian Steinmann, Staff Writer

Sometimes a minivan full of cookies and cupcakes can make a significant difference in the world.

Maybe it’s not always that simple, but it was for Edwardsville’s own Breast Cancer Awareness Club. The group organized a COVID-19-safe bake sale this past weekend and raised over $400 for OSF Healthcare, a medical organization with facilities scattered throughout Illinois and Michigan.

Club President and senior Maria Orozco-Araujo, along with the 20 other club members, thought hosting a bake sale was a creative, enjoyable way to raise funds for this important organization.

“We originally planned to sell T-shirts, but we didn’t have enough of the most common sizes,” Orozco-Araujo said. “We wanted to do something COVID-19 safe that could still help raise money to donate this year, despite being home for most of it.”

Orozco-Araujo was one of the first people to join Breast Cancer Awareness Club after it was founded last year, and she took on the role of president this year in an effort to become more involved.

“I really wanted to organize donations and fundraisers to help OSF Healthcare,” Orozco-Araujo said. “A lot of my family has been affected by breast cancer.”

In preparation for the group’s largest fundraiser, members spent a week asking friends, family and acquaintances to order brownies and cupcakes; these treats were priced at two for $5. Some people chose to forgo the desserts and simply donated money to the cause.

On Saturday April 17, Orozco-Araujo and Vice President senior Seth Blakemore loaded the baked goods into the back of Blakemore’s blue Mini Cooper and delivered them to customers’ addresses.

“We had a lot of orders, so it took seven hours,” Orozco-Araujo said.

Blakemore joined the club at the end of last year when Orozco-Araujo reached out to him and told him about the group’s purpose.

“I was interested because I wanted to have a leadership position and have some male representation in the club because not a lot of guys are in that,” Blakemore said. “I feel like male representation is important so more guys feel like they could join.”

Senior Audrey Stone also wanted to be involved, but she had a more personal reason.

“My great grandma died of cancer, and breast cancer runs genetically in my family,” Stone said.

The group wasn’t able to meet as much as the leaders had hoped, but Orozco-Araujo and Blakemore stayed in contact with members through the GroupMe app. For Stone, being a member of the group was entirely worth it, even though the bake sale was the only fundraiser they could put together.

“I’m glad we were able to do something in such a short amount of time,” Stone said. “We all worked together to spread the message that we were donating to OSF in Alton.”

Blakemore hopes that the group will be able to host more events in the coming years and have guest speakers come to meetings to educate students about breast cancer research.

Orozco-Araujo said she has learned so much about herself through this club, even during this unpredictable and difficult to navigate year.

“I feel that after seeing how positively [we] affect so many people when we contribute our time and effort,” she said, “we also realize how easy it can be to help out with other issues, whether they have to do with an illness or society in general.”