Joanne Howard launched Cakes for Heroes in an attempt to support children and families facing life-threatening illnesses. She provides them with custom birthday cakes to give back just a brief moment of the normal childhood experiences that are so often stolen from these children.
Trina Banks from Trina Bakes Cakes in Peterborough explains how she became involved in the project.
‘I first heard about Cakes For Heroes on a baking group that I am in. As soon as I read about it I knew I needed to be involved and help as much as I could.
I launched my little baking business in August last year. One of the reasons for doing so was that I love being able to bring a smile to someone’s face with cake.
I have always wanted to give something back, and this seems an absolutely amazing way of doing that. The fact that I will be able to do it directly for someone local is a big factor too.
I have children myself, and if I can help to put a smile on the face of a child who is so poorly by putting together some eggs and flour, then that to me is amazing. I will do whatever I can to raise funds for this new venture and raise awareness to find more bakers to come on board.
My favourite hashtag is #loveineverybake because a little part of me really does go into every bake I make.
We are currently trying to spread the word to get more bakers on board all over the UK. And of course to bring some happiness to those children that need it. So if any bakers are interested, please get in touch with me via my Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.’
A charity that grew from personal experience
Joanne Howard, who launched the charity, is an experienced cake decorator and a mum of five. She acquired first-hand experience of the struggles that can face families touched by cancer after her son Jacob was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was only five years old. Following his diagnosis, the family’s lives were turned upside down. Some of his siblings had to live with relatives while Joanne devoted her time to supporting Jacob as he received treatment at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Over a period of nearly five years, heroic Jacob battled his illness. He endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy and around 170 lumbar punctures. Fortunately, Jacob has been living in remission for the last four years. The family are hopeful that he will be given the all-clear at his final check-up next year.
During her son’s five-year battle, Joanne realised it was the brief moments of normality that helped keep the family positive and united. She fondly recalls the time they were able to bring a smile to Jacob’s face with a special birthday cake. When they saw the joy on his face it was almost like time stood still for a moment.
It is Joanne’s hope that Cakes for Heroes will be able to deliver that joy to many more families across the UK who are dealing with critical illnesses. Joanne won’t be doing all of the baking herself, however. She is already hard at work assembling a team of incredibly generous and talented volunteers throughout the UK to help her fulfil her mission and raising vital funds to help get the charity established.