Club Spotlight: Cakes for Cancer is ‘baking a difference’

A member of Cakes for Cancer poses with a homemade dessert. 100% of the profits from bake sales and all other events are donated to UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation. Image courtesy of Abby Nathanson.

A member of Cakes for Cancer poses with a homemade dessert. 100% of the profits from bake sales and all other events are donated to UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation. Image courtesy of Abby Nathanson.

Founded in 2015 by Abby Nathanson, a current senior at Marymount, Cakes for Cancer is a club and organization whose goal is to raise money to help find a cure for lung cancer and spread awareness of the disease.

Cakes for Cancer was established when her aunt passed away from an 18-month battle with lung cancer, and Nathanson immediately knew she wanted to help others fighting the same ailment in a unique way.

“Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to bake cakes with my cousin and her mom, my Aunt Jodi.  This tradition continued for many years, and I still keep these memories close to my heart each and every day,” Nathanson wrote in an email.

Members of the club decorate cakes to sell at bake sales, farmers markets and other venues. Since being founded, Cakes for Cancer has raised over $12,000and all profits are donated to UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation. Nathanson and fellow classmate Ruby Garland run the Marymount branch.

The club recently expanded to Archer this past year, and this second generation is run by three Archer freshman: Amelia Nathanson (Nathanson’s younger sister), Dylan Marmur and Cydney Johnson.

Freshmen Dylan Marmur, Amelia Nathanson and Cydney Johnson pose in the courtyard at the Archer Club Fair. The three freshman students brought Cakes for Cancer to Archer last year. Image courtesy of Abby Nathanson.

Cakes for Cancer at Archer meets on the first Tuesday of every month. Currently, there are 72 Archer members and 170 at Marymount. 

“Something that’s different about Cakes for Cancer than other non-profits is that it’s very interactive, and we can have a lot of people working on everything, so you aren’t just donating money,” Marmur said.

In club meetings at both schools, leaders and members discuss upcoming events, create posters and plan how to further spread awareness and raise funds throughout the community.

“We like to think of Cakes for Cancer as a whole, no matter what grade or school,” Abby Nathanson wrote in an email.

Cakes for Cancer continues to branch out beyond high schools and local bake sales. Abby and Amelia Nathanson, Marmur and Johnson want to shed light on the importance of discovering a cure for lung cancer to the community at large.

Earlier this month, Cakes for Cancer hosted a fundraiser at the Brentwood location of Platefit, a fitness studio, where instructors offered four hours of training. All proceeds were given to Cakes for Cancer, and the event raised over $4,000.

“For one of our classes, people brought friends, and it actually overbooked. We had to double up on all of the machines,” Marmur said.

The group’s initial goal was to raise $1,400, but the Platefit event far exceeded expectations. Nathanson, Marmur and Johnson also sold sweatshirts and t-shirts with Cakes for Cancer embellished on them to spread the word of the club and organization.

“There was an endless amount of support at the event coming from our friends, family members, and the larger community.  There were so many generous donations being made throughout the day and we are so grateful that so many people will now be walking away wearing Cakes for Cancer apparel to help spread the word,” Amelia Nathanson wrote in her email.

Johnson was equally excited about the event’s success and commented on how Cakes for Cancer is beginning to grow.

“The Platefit fundraiser was a shocker to see how big Cakes for Cancer has become. I feel like it was a real wake up call for how much money is going toward finding a cure for lung cancer,” Johnson said.

The leaders behind Cakes for Cancer want the club and organization to continue to grow and become an integral part of the Los Angeles community.

“We’re hoping that anyone who wants to start it at their school and be an advocate will get in touch with us. We’re trying to branch it off into many different directions. We want the word to spread,” Amelia Nathanson said in an interview.

Abby echoed her sister’s comments about the future of Cakes for Cancer. She also added that she wants Cakes for Cancer to develop into a community where people can tell their stories and support each other.

“I would like to transform Cakes for Cancer into a place where those fighting this terrible disease can come together, whether they be patients or loved ones, and for everyone who is fighting, just to know that they’re not alone,” Abby stated in an email.

The club’s next upcoming event at Archer is a Valentine’s Day Bake Sale, which will be held on February 13, 2017.

To learn more about Cakes for Cancer, visit their Instagram account and website.