Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pops for a purpose

A couple of months ago, I received an email from a reader. She told me the story of her baby daughter, Savannah, and how she received a liver transplant when she was one. She explained how much she and her husband want to raise awareness for organ donation. And, when she asked me to create a cupcake pop for fundraisers to honor Savannah’s 2-year-old donor, I knew what I had to do.

I called and told her I would and then I told her my story, and we both cried.

You see, today is my sweet sixteen. It’s what I call my second birthday. Sixteen years ago I received a phone call asking me to come to the hospital right away. The voice on the other end said they had a possible “match.” I was sick, both of my kidneys had failed and I was on dialysis. But, later on that evening I was in surgery for a kidney transplant. And, the next day I no longer needed dialysis – I was the recipient of the greatest gift that can be given.

I don’t have the words to describe all the feelings I had then and still have now. But Savannah’s mom reminded me how I was given a second chance and how I can do more myself.

So maybe, you’ll read this and take a minute to think about organ donation. Or, the next time you renew your license, you’ll remember these pops or Savannah, or me and change a life.

Here’s Savannah’s story (have a kleenex handy)

Cupcake Pops

Above: cupcake pops with the green ribbon (a symbol for organ donation) Below: Some other combinations with the same color scheme.

Cake Pops

Kara said...

I LOVE these! I am also a lucky recipient of a kidney (from my sister). I just might have to make these for my 10 year anniversary coming up next year.

October 7, 2008 05:27 PM
Ana and Savannah (Warrior Princess!) said...

I still click on this post months later just to look at the amazing gift you created…you are an amazing woman and I continue to say Thank you .. THANK YOU BAKERELLA! I will always be grateful for this beautiful gift!

Ana Anselmo
Proud Mami of Savannah (Warrior Princess!)

October 12, 2008 07:35 PM
Bakerella said...

ana and savannah – No need to thank me. It was my pleasure. I hope Savannah is still doing well.

October 13, 2008 02:33 AM
{ Bethany } said...


Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to Savvy’s story this way! Our family knows her through the Liver Families website as well. She is such a sweet girl and her mom is a great advocate and fighter for this cause.

Our little boy Gavin was also waiting for a liver transplant, but his amazing journey was cut short last month. After fighting for 11 long months, he passed away before he could receive his “gift of life”. It was two weeks before his 1st birthday.

I hope this post will continue to create awareness for organ donation. Its my wish that no family will ever have to suffer the way we will continue to for the rest of lives.

Gavin’s mom (our little man)

November 9, 2008 12:23 AM
Bakerella said...

{ Bethany } – I am truly sorry about your son. You and your family must have been through a lot during his struggle and I am so sad to hear he didn’t get a fair fight. I too, can only hope that more people will make the decision to become organ donors.

November 9, 2008 05:03 AM
Erin and Rick said...

What a beautiful story! I am an amateur home baker & love Cake Wrecks, and found your blog through the lovely Sunday Sweets posted there!

I too had my own miracle. I received a kidney from my cousin just 5 weeks ago, on Jan. 6 2009. I have tears in my eyes from reading yours & Savannah's stories. Thank you for sharing, and helping raise awareness! May God continue to bless you*

February 9, 2009 05:35 AM
Bakerella said...

That’s fantastic! I’m so happy for you. What a wonderful gift from your cousin.

February 10, 2009 04:38 AM
Haley said...


These pops are awesome!!!

I stumbled upon your blog today, I can’t remember how I got here, but I am glad I did. Looking at all of your ridiculously adorable creations has made me giddy for cake!

After looking through pages, and pages on your blog I found these little pops…for a purpose, and after I read the story I wondered if maybe you would consider doing something similar… again.

Here is a bit of my story. My name is Haley and I am 19 years old. I have been living with a very deadly childhood cancer called Stage IV High Risk Neuroblastoma for 14 years (14 years on March 12!!) and I am really big on raising awareness for childhood cancers and am always looking for new ways to spread information.

If you’d like, I am part of an online community called People Against Childhood Cancer (PAC2), it’s kind of like myspace…only better…obviously. :)

This is the website:

You can find me here:

Feel free to join. We always love having new friends at PAC2.

I hope you consider helping to raise awareness for Childhood Cancer.


P.S. you can e-mail me at

April 14, 2009 06:41 PM
Bakerella said...

I just did these for cancer awareness. Take a look:

April 17, 2009 01:03 AM
sweeties said...

I just read through some previous months I had missed, since I’m new to your email blog updates. I can’t believe you are also a kidney transplant recipient -so am I!! I was juvenile diabetic, and have now had 2 double organ transplants (kidney and pancreas both times). WOW!!! AND, I just made my first cake pops for a cancer fund raiser last night in our area! What are the odds of that! Thanks so much for sharing your story, and your inspirational sweet treats :)

April 24, 2009 12:28 AM
Bakerella said...

sweeties – that’s amazing.

I hope all is well and that your immunosuppressants are treating you nicely.

April 28, 2009 02:55 AM
Autumn Brown said...

Thank you, Bakerella.

I am a donor family member and it is so wonderful to see recipients celebrating their lives.

I work for Donate Life California and plan to make these for a future staff meeting. Any tips? :)

June 4, 2009 08:23 PM
Bakerella said...

Read this post and the comments. It should help you out.

June 5, 2009 02:48 AM
Emily H. said...

Happy Belated 17th Birthday! I was catching up on old posts when I came across this one. Boy, oh boy…had me in tears! In a good way!

About 9 years ago, my dad donated over half of his liver (he was blessed with an extra large one!) to his cousin, granting her the best year and a half of her life before the hepatitis C came back. On December 22, we will celebrate my father-in-law's 2nd Birthday with a new liver (now that's a Christmas present!). We thank God every day for what I know was a tough decision for our Angel's family…

I have been a registered organ and tissue donor since I turned 16 (now 31), and feel very blessed that others have made the same decision, which saved my father-in-law. My deepest hope is that stories like yours, Savannah's, and all the others shared here will continue to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation!

Thank you for sharing your story with all of us, and for letting us celebrate your life with you…as if we needed a reason to love you more… :)

August 14, 2009 02:08 AM
Jami Fleming said...

How did I miss this post. I too am a kidney transplant recipient myself. celebrated my 11th birthday this year May 21, 2009. I was on dialysis for 10 years before I got my new kidney. after my transplant went back to school and got my degrees in bakery/pastry, culinary arts, and f&b hospitality management services. you are an inspiration to me. I hope you check out my web sites the family one, and the food one,
God Bless!

October 4, 2009 12:16 PM
bakerella said...

Jami – Congratulations! 10 years on dialysis must have been tough. I hope you did peritoneal. I eventually had the machine that did exchanges during the night which was a big help.

October 18, 2009 05:31 PM
Nicol said...

I signed up for organ donation when I got my learner’s permit at age 19. I am 37 now and I don’t regret it one bit.

December 29, 2009 04:10 PM
Danae said...

I just found this and it makes me happy. I’m about to go through the testing to see if I can donate my kidney to someone and it’s been very up and down. I think your story is just cementing my resolve.

February 2, 2010 04:00 PM
bakerella said...

Danae – Bless you!

February 4, 2010 12:01 AM
Tanya said...

I am a social worker with the Pediatric Liver Transplant program at the University of Michigan, and knowing and seeing the beauty of the gift of life every day in the sweet little ones we see in our program, I am touched to know that there are so many other people out there championing for organ donor awareness. Beautiful cake, beautiful spirit! Thank you!

February 25, 2010 02:59 PM
rexy said...

youve touched so many hearts! God will truely bless you!

March 2, 2010 07:36 AM
michelle said...

oh well, hope you are doing ok! My daughter had a heart transplant in 2008 when she was 8 months old. She is doing great and we just try to enjoy the good things life has to offer everyday. Obviously we are so organ donation here. (I knew there was a reason I like your site so much!). Hope you are doing well.

thanks for all the wonderful posts!

March 28, 2010 08:50 PM
Julia said...

Thank you for a wonderful story. I lost my dad to diabetes complications 18 months ago. He was on dialysis had all kinds of heart trouble. We were very sad to find out he was not a candidate for a kidney transplant because his heart was too weak.

March 28, 2010 08:58 PM
Simone C said...

Bakerella, thank you for sharing your story. My grandfather is on dialysis and is on a transplant list…hopefully he’ll get the wonderful gift of new kidneys someday soon! Because of his struggles, I’ve changed my license to be an organ donor.

March 28, 2010 09:28 PM
meaghan (chic cookies) said...

I’m so glad that you are in such a wonderful place to spread such a beautiful message! I’ve spent the past 17 years living with intestinal disease, have lost my large intestine, a part of my lung, have had many surgeries and have also spent more weeks in the hospital I can count. I’ve received dozens of blood transfusions, and am thankful for every drop. I’m of course an organ donor, but joke that I won’t have any organs left when my time comes :) My husband gives blood as frequently as he can without falling over. There is no greater gift than ourselves–literally! Thank you bakerella for sharing your story!!

March 28, 2010 10:18 PM
carol crase said...

As a nurse I have been involved in many transplants from pre-induction to surgery to recovery…and I can tell you first hand what a difference this makes in the lives of patients and their families. Unfortunately their are just not enough donors. Thanx for this post and increasing awareness.

March 28, 2010 10:32 PM
jjlobitz said...

Thank you for sharing your story and having such a generous heart. I am an organ donor and wouldn’t have it any other way.

March 28, 2010 10:52 PM
Tracie Smith said...

Congratulations to you!
I have always been an organ donor. My family lost a member some years ago and through organ donation many people were saved. It’s amazing what can be done and I can’t understand why you wouldn’t be one. Who doesn’t like to help people?

March 28, 2010 11:27 PM
The Chocolate Lady said...

My son went through 3.5 years of chemo for an aggressive cancer….he spent ages 2-6 on treatment, and if it werent for the countless blood and platelette donors…he wouldnt be alive today.

he is 9 now, and this past week he shaved his head to raise money…to help his friends still in the battle.

We believe in donating….blood, organs, time, money….helping others saves lives.

March 29, 2010 01:22 AM
Mel Edwards said...

My friend Paula got a phone call last Thursday morning – a kidney she’d been waiting a year for was available – by lunchtime the operation was done and she was in recovery!

She had a transplant about 10 years ago but it was failing so she’s been on dialysis. Now her and her hubby can free up a whole room in their house when the dialysis machine moves out.

I LOVE your site – checking it out for inspiration and baking-cheer every few days. Think I’ll make her some organ-donor pops.

Keep up everything* great you do for us vicarious (and real) bakers)!

*including taking care of yourself

March 29, 2010 02:46 AM
Rachel said...

It’s wonderful how you’ve made use of that second chance. I’m so glad for you!

March 29, 2010 04:08 AM
Paulette said...

Just woke up and looked to see if your post was in my e-mail. While reading it you reminded me that in the near futue I will need a donor for a cornea transplant down the road. I have always been a donor on my license. People do not know just how important is is to literally give of one’s self. Thank you so much for sharing your story and yes yours pops and creations are beautiful.. Bakerella have a blessed Easter and I hope your feeling bettter. Hugs Paulette

March 29, 2010 04:47 AM
Bonnie said...

I’m 26 and waiting for a transplant myself, been for 3 years. They are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

March 29, 2010 07:15 AM
Miss T said...

My mother is also a kidney and pancreas transplant recipient. She celebrates 11 years in August. Organ donation gave her life back to her. Thanks for sharing your story.

March 29, 2010 09:20 AM
Rachel said...

This truely is a great story and worthy cause… Because of stories like this and others I think there is ANGELS among us.

March 29, 2010 09:25 AM
Rachel said...

This is the purfect easter post becaue its about the gift of life… which is the real reason. The bunny and chickens and of course chocolate was the after thought.

March 29, 2010 09:32 AM
elaine said...

I am so thankful for the people that choose to give life to others after their life is complete. Or maybe those that give one kidney, knowing that life can be sweeter for someone else because of their generosity. My liver is now enlarged and the enzymes are abnormal because of meds for 16 yrs now. I was bitten by a spider that almost took my life. Now I am thinking more and more about the possibility of one day needing a donor. I would life to again say thank you and God bless to donors. God bless you and Savannah also.

March 29, 2010 09:43 AM
Lori Michaud said...

Bless you! My beautiful 19 year old son was an organ donor. Today 5 people are alive who were dying, 2 people who were going blind can see and countless others we’ll never know about through his generous gift of life with both organs and tissue. It makes my soul smile to know that others have such improved lives through the gifts that our loved ones make.

March 29, 2010 11:45 AM
Marin D said...

Awesome! And that is my birthday!!! I will think of you every year on that day. :o) What a beautiful gift!

March 29, 2010 12:28 PM
Patti said...

My mother was a dialysis patient and I was moved by your story and Savannah’s! A year old! WOW…..

I’m just so happy to know that your kidney transplant was successful and I wish you all good health for many, many years to come…..

March 29, 2010 04:06 PM
Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Oh my…god bless

March 29, 2010 04:13 PM
Kasey said...

My mother works in the kidney transplant department at a major hospital here in LA. I am honored to be able to help decorate the Donate Life rose parade float with her every year. I hear hopeful and heartbreaking stories from donors and recipients. The selflessness, generosity and gratitude involved in organ donation makes me hopeful that the world isn’t as dark of a place as it can sometimes appear to be.

March 29, 2010 06:40 PM
Mari said...

How awesome is that!? I never would have thought you were a transplant receipient. I myself received the second chance of life. I had a Liver Transplant on September 11,1990. It will be 20 years! I am very grateful and mourn my donor although I don’t know his family. I wish you the best and Savannah a LONG and healthy life. It gives me another reason to walk the Donate Life event.

March 29, 2010 07:59 PM
Melissa B said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I just received a kidney transplant in July 2009 from a living donor, a truly amazing friend. I have such high regards for organ donors, both living donors and families that make that amazing choice and gift.

I was on hemo dialysis for 6 months after my kidneys shut down. My husband woke up to me having seizures at 6 in the morning from the toxic build up in my system. Our friend stepped up, got tested and was as close of a match as if we are blood related, so amazing. I had my last dialysis session on July 16th and the next day felt amazing. So thankful for that amazing gift.

March 29, 2010 10:29 PM
Brenda said...

I loved your story. My daughter had a kidney transplant when she was 16 years old. I was able to give her one of mine. I know the heartache and the joy that comes with organ donation. God bless you and keep you healthy. You are awesome and I love your website.

March 30, 2010 06:49 AM
Stephanie Rex said...

Ooooh Bakerella! So thankful for this post. My step-dad is enduring dialysis-stage 4 renial failure. So we are praying hard for that kidney to arrive! I am an organ donor and will spread the awareness! So thankful for these stories…

March 30, 2010 03:28 PM
Bird said...


I had no idea…

despite the fact your message brought tears to my eyes, I think it has a really positive message (second chances!), and it raises awareness to organ donation!

Such a great pop for such a great cause…
Well done to you Bakerella for being the fairy-godrella this time! :)

March 31, 2010 10:23 AM
Sue Ptacek said...

What a lovely Easter gift to all of us. Thank you. At a time of year when we think about the newness of spring and the rebirth of nature around us this is a beautiful reminder of the power of the human heart! May your family and Savannah’s be blessed with health and love this holiday!

March 31, 2010 04:36 PM
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a wonderful idea Bakerella! I made some cookie pops that were inspired by you using Australian cookies called Tim Tams and they were such a hit! I’ve never seen so many children with chocolate coated mouths before but the funny thing is all the parents did too! ;)

April 1, 2010 01:53 AM
Roseann said...

thankyou for sharing your story, i have a friend at church that is on the list now for a liver transplant but is becoming much weaker waiting. Asking anyone to pray.

April 1, 2010 12:25 PM
song said...

too green…not really like green..:)
but i really like your wedding cake pop~n i might makes this on my wedding~

April 2, 2010 01:03 AM
Janette Thompson said...

My husband rode his bike across America with a team of 8 for organ transplant! They raised some good money for the cause. It saves lives!

April 2, 2010 10:38 AM
Gina said...

Wow! What a wonderful story you have to share. I’m not sure how I missed reading it a few years back, but I’m so happy I read it today.

April 3, 2010 12:28 AM
Jennifer@NicoleJaneHome said...

This is just another wonderful example of how precious life is and how amazing and generous people are. Thanks for sharing these stories. I’m glad you’re feeling better.

April 3, 2010 10:49 AM
Maggie said...

Oh goodness that is so touching. Pops with a puropse. These are the best kind of pops there are.

April 5, 2010 02:01 PM
Kate said...

God is so awesome and able. I love hearing stories where he made the impossible, possible!

love the cake pops!

may you have a blessed life :)

April 7, 2010 05:55 PM
Cindy said...

I am so happy that you posted your story. You are an inspiration to all. 16 years post is excellent. You have treated your gift of life with respect.

I did not realize that a Green Ribbon was for Donor Awareness. I will add this to my endevor to bring more awareness to the need for Organ Donation. Things have come so far since my Father passed of Renla Faliure in 1987. Live Donor options are growing especially for Kidney Transplants, with a Paired Donor Program for friends and family members that want to donate to you but are not a match. They are now being Paired with others and duel transplantations are done the same day.

I too am Post Transplant since Sept 2008. I was Blessed with a Live Donor who happened to be my husband. I wrote a short story for Valentines Day and if interested in reading it I have included the link.

Blessing to You and All the Lives You Have Touched…Cindy

April 10, 2010 06:50 PM
Amy @ Living Locurto said...

I just saw this post… my dad had a heart transplant many many years ago before it was a common thing. He was given 5 years, but lived 15 years!! I was a little girl at the time and remember the helicopter landing and the the surgeons running through the hallways with the cooler and his “heart”. WOW! Love your story and that you are helping to bring awareness to organ donation. Thank YOU!

April 12, 2010 12:20 AM
sydnee said...

IT is so help full do u give money

April 18, 2010 07:23 PM
Phoenix said...

I am so inspired and touched by your story. I am a kidney transplant recipient myself and all along I have read your blog not knowing this. It’s nice to know that a fellow transplant recipient can do such amazing things as you! :)

May 5, 2010 09:22 AM
Isa said...

I just discovered our website looking for an idea for my son’s 4th bday. I got the blessing of a second chance couple of years ago, just after my son birth, a family gave me a new heart!!! I would love to make those cake… How did you make the green ribons on top???

I wish you a sweet sixteen!!! And good luck to everybody who living the same kind of adventure! Appreciate life it’s so important, and don’t wait until you’re not having it anymore to start liking it!!!

(sorry my english is not so good, I’m french :)

Thanks for your work and I’ll be back on your website soon!!!

May 13, 2010 08:34 PM
leanne said...

Bakerella! Wonderful job on these! They are amazing! I have been surching for something my aunt can do for a fundraiser of some sort. My cousin, her son, Aaron passed away in 2004 and had previously told his mom and family if anything happened to him he wanted to donate his organs. So when he passed away from a car accident when he was 15, she had his organs donated, And she has since been involved in throwing fundraisers for different causes and it all started with a fundraiser to collect money to go to the national donor games they have annually. And then I came across these. They are perfect! These are a perfect idea for a bake sale for the next time she wants to raise money to go to the donor games! Thank you so much for sharing these! And by the way, I love all the ideas you come up with! Absolutly wonderful!

November 25, 2010 12:11 PM
Sarah said...

WOW. You have the same birthday as me. ..

December 5, 2010 02:32 PM
art said...

Oh gosh, i never knew how lucky i am until now. When i am old enough i am going to help with people like this and let me tell you, that is one promise i am going to keep. What a horrible thing to have happened at an age like that. I feel so sorry for you too, Sarah, your story is absolutely amazing, it is a good thing you wear the green ribbon in pride. I really need to go get a tissue, just thinking of something like this makes me wanna cry my eyes out. My uncle died when i was about 4, i am now 10 and i still pray to him every night, he died of a heart condition and i remember him having to take loads of pills to make himself better, unfortunately these did not work.

February 15, 2011 02:12 PM
Shawnee said...

I love these pops. Did you know the green ribbon is also a symbol for mitochondrial disease? That’s near and dear to my heart as I have two children with suspected mito disorder.
Thanks for sharing this great story and making these beautiful creations.

April 2, 2011 01:13 AM
Ruby said...

I know this is from a few years ago…but I’m making cake pops for Relay for Life (cancer awareeness/fundraiser) and I love the ribbon detail on these. Is there a recipe somewhere?

April 6, 2011 09:03 PM
Jennifer said...

I am at work, reading this post for the first time, and I cant help but get choked up. What beautiful stories of God’s faithfulness, and the love we can pass on to one another because of it.

The pops look great, and are that much more beautiful because of the cause.

Thanks for inspiring others to give.

July 6, 2011 11:55 AM
Shannon said...

My family and I were looking for fundraiser ideas because my grandfather (Poppy) needs a Lung transplant, i came across the picture of your wonderful lollipops while searching google images for the organ transplant ribbon.Your story just made me have even more hope for him to recieve the lung and recover from it. I must say the lollipops look so delicious and i was hoping that maybe i could get the recipe..? or Maybe you could make some Pops for Poppy? Either would be sooo wonderful!!!
I’m 16 and i’ll always be an organ donor!!<3

October 14, 2011 06:09 PM
Anonymous said...

My brother in law recently passed away. He was a donor recipient. He had a heart transplant at age 7. He was 25 when he died of heart failure, but in his death he is saving lives. He was a donor and Donate Life Illinois has sent us a plaque and a list of what organs were used. Tonight we are having a benefit to raise money for Ronald McDonald House and Donate Life. I am donating 200 pops for the event. These are beautiful and I am using these as inspiration for my creations. Thanks for sharing!! God bless all the donors out there :)

November 18, 2011 09:45 AM
anonymous said...

that was so sad my moms cousin died from cancer this year but I could’nt go

December 29, 2011 05:25 PM
anonymous said...


December 29, 2011 07:09 PM
anonymous said...


December 29, 2011 07:45 PM
Sage said...

Green is also the ribbon color for Cerebral Palsy

February 24, 2012 05:10 PM
MamaSonya said...

I think I might just have to “attempt” to make these and the kidney pops for my transplant doctors and my former dialysis nurses next time I see them. Thanks for posting and I too fight this fight for awareness. Imagine the lives that have already/will be saved just because of the people who read these posts and decided to sign their donor cards. Wow!

April 23, 2012 11:34 PM
heather said...

thank you for doing these. I found them while searching the web for ideas for my son’s transplant anniversary party. It will be his 3rd anniversary, he had his liver transplant when he was 4.5 months old. Thank you!!

May 5, 2012 12:41 AM
gracie said...

wow! how thoughtful! I might have to do that for a fundraiser coming up to raise money for the JDRF. Because my cousin Ana has Juvinile diabities.

May 22, 2012 02:25 PM
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