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The story behind the cake sale

In November 2008, my son Jacob who was three years old at the time, was diagnosed with Wilms tumour, which is a type of cancer in the kidneys. After having the tumour shrunk by chemotherapy, Jacob went through a major operation in December 2008 to remove the rest of the tumour from his abdomen. Consequently he had to receive more chemotherapy as part of his protocol. The prognosis looked good and we were all trying to make the most out of an unhappy situation.

One day, my friend Evangeline Azzopardi and I decided to take our kids to play at a popular kids’ area and we saw Rennie Zerafa (Puttinu Cares CEO) there as well. He was trying to buy some nice toys for the kids who were receiving treatment in Rainbow Ward. We talked and when he left, my friend and I started discussing ways of how we could help Puttinu Cares.

The Puttinu Cares football marathon was fast approaching and we discussed the possibility of putting up a cake stall there and see if we could sell some homemade cakes and pastries. However this idea did not seem fit for that occasion and we decided to try and ask the Zurrieq archpriest for permission to put up some cake stalls on the church’s parvis. Fr Charles Attard agreed and we were soon asking families and friends to pitch in and bake as many cakes as they could. Since it was the Lent season, we also baked figolli and other Lenten treats.

A group of friends who form/ed part of the Mizzewgin 2000 helped us out and we fixed a date to sell the cakes and homemade treats.  That first year of the Cake Sale we managed to collect about €3.300! We were so happy to have been able to contribute to an NGO which was making such a difference to patients suffering from cancer.

Furthermore, I must say that my husband and I could not participate fully in all the Cake Sale events that were organized since 2009, due to the need to take care of Jacob first and foremost. However my sister Cynthia and her husband George went about the organization of this event with a passion and they were and still are the backbone of this event.

From that year on we never looked back and each year the number of people who help us out during this event is increasing, as well as the set-up, organization and the number of parishes that we are reaching out to.  In fact, this year we will be setting up stalls at 5 parishes, including Zurrieq, Qrendi, Mqabba, Safi, and Kirkop.  We must thank all the parish priests who let us put up the cake stalls on their churches’ parvis and another big thank you goes also to those people who buy the cakes! Last and not least, a big thank you goes to those who give their time to help, bake, or are part of the organization team and make this Cake Sale a success year after year. The effort to pull this off is increasing year after year but the satisfaction of helping out Puttinu Cares is beyond words!

Sadly, my dearest son Jacob did not survive this terrible illness and he succumbed to it after fighting heroically for 5 and a half years. Cancer came back three times more from the very first time that Jacob was diagnosed way back in 2008 and he passed away in March of 2014. That year the Cake Sale took on another heartfelt meaning for all of us and we are determined to continue doing it, not only to honour a hero who so bravely fought on through pain and sickness but to inspire others in reaching out and helping even if life hits you hard.

Jacob was an inspiration to many and though he has passed on to a place where there is no pain and no tears, he still lives on in our hearts. I can proudly say that Jacob is a success story!

Valerie Scerri, Jacob’s mum

The story behind the cake sale


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