Eat cookies, raise money for cancer research

Written by Gretchen McKay on

cookie table

Pittsburghers are nothing if not crazy about cookies.

One of the longest-standing traditions for brides who’ve grown up here is the Cookie Table, whereby dozens (and dozens) of homemade cookies are served to reception guests, often with plastic takeaway containers, as an edible “Thank You” for attending. But the sugary love fest isn’t restricted to weddings.

For the fourth year running, UPMC CancerCenter will pair with the national Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation to raise money for cancer research in this very Pittsburgh way — by feting donors with cookies. The March 2 event is called Cookies4Chris, and once again will feature more than 4,000 tassies, iced cut-outs, shortbreads and other cookies for the taking after a luncheon.

The cookie fundraiser is named for Pittsburgh native Christine “Chris” Sapienza, a musician and small business owner who lost her battle with colon cancer in 2009. Mrs. Sapienza was well-known for the many cookies she baked for special occasions, and so when her son, Michael, created a foundation to raise money for research in her honor, he found a way to make her signature treats an integral part of it.cookies4chrisposter

Dozens of friends and family spent weeks baking, decorating and collecting the cookies that will be served at the event, which will be held at South Hills Country Club. Shelley Duffy, co-host of 100.7 Star Morning Show and KDKA Radio’s lifestyle editor, will emcee.   

The Virginia-based nonprofit now is the second-largest colorectal cancer advocacy organizations in the country, raising more than $4 million for research for partnering hospital organizations across the U.S. And it’s pledged $3.1 million more over the next four years for research in general in key markets.

The cause is an important one: colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined, and research is still vastly underfunded. This year alone, some 140,000 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed and a third of those patients will not survive.

If you can’t make Sunday’s luncheon, which also will include local vendors, silent auctions, live entertainment and door prizes, other fundraisers include the Scope it Out 5K Run/Walk in Washington, D.C., which this year will be held on March 23. There are plans to expand the race to Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh and New York City. 

cookiesforchrisLast year, volunteers made some 4,200 cookies for the sold-out Cookies4Chris event, which attracted more than 250 guests and raised $35,000 for Hillman Cancer Center.

There still are a few tickets left for this year’s luncheon. They cost $35 and all proceeds benefit the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation’s research fund.

More info: 412-885-2374 or

Photos: Post-Gazette (top) and Spotted MP. 

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