This is such a long overdue post that definitely should have been done eons ago, but I hope the Icing for Smiles organization can forgive and excuse my procrastination (this isn’t a requirement by any means, but I feel this is the best way for me to show my gratitude for everything they have done). If you can recall, back at the beginning of October we held a #EvannasHeartHospitalversary party at the Alberta Children’s Hospital for Evanna, to somewhat “celebrate” being one year postop from her 1st Open Heart Surgery, and surviving as a family of being in hospital for over a year (Discharge post can be read ---> here).
Icing for Smiles is an organization that started in the USA, and it matches talented bakers with medical families to create stunning cakes for any special occasion (obviously birthdays are the common request). It’s a still fairly new program here in Canada (about 5 years give or take), and so I hope this post will help get the word out to bakers looking for a way to give back/provide a volunteer opportunity that utilizes their incredible skills to well deserving medical family’s. I honestly can’t remember how I first heard about Icing for Smiles (whether it was posted in a Facebook support group, a fellow heart mama or the Stollery Social workers), but I knew about them for quite some time before finally utilizing their services. I originally was going to have one baked for Evanna’s 1st birthday but between the multiple unplanned transfers and her 3rd open heart surgery that occurred in April 2015, it became a huge logistical problem, as I couldn’t tell them which city we were going to be in for Evanna’s birthday (for the longest time we thought we would still be in Edmonton, but ended up being transferred to Calgary just 2 days before her birthday…and then ended back up in Edmonton 2 weeks later).
By October, things were much more stable with us finally transferring out of ICU, and with just a month away from discharge (at that time, we were still anticipating a “close to Christmas” discharge, but thankfully with Evanna’s recovery speeding up a little and busting my butt with getting homecare in place, we were able to discharge a month earlier than expected), I thought it was finally a great opportunity to have a cake made. You generally need to give a fair amount of notice to the organization so they can find a baker (however there are exceptions), but once they locate one, the rest is taken care of. You are allowed to have one ultimate “dream cake”, and yearly “fun cakes”. For this particular event, I felt a fun cake was appropriate, as I would like to save the “dream cake” for a future birthday.
Suffice to say, as you can see from photos, the “fun cake” that was made for us was just as absolutely amazing, and Nick and I were both blown away by our baker’s work. She went above and beyond for us and we were truly touched by her generosity.
So whether you are a Canadian or American baker, and are looking for a unique way to volunteer for an absolutely amazing cause – I highly recommend looking into “Icing for Smiles”. I want to point out that because this is a non-profit organization bakers are not required to have access to a licenced kitchen. Alberta has very strict laws about this particular thing, but it does not apply in this case. So if you are a baker, please know that you don’t necessarily need access to a separate licensed kitchen, and are absolutely allowed to make this within your private residence.
For more information (whether you are a baker or are a medical family wondering if you are eligible for your very own cake), please head to their website: http://www.icingsmiles.ca/
Finally, just a quick thanks to our baker Kelly for our absolutely stunning cake. We received tons of compliments on it, and it not only served all our party visitors, but many staff members at Alberta Children’s Hospital (I ended up taking some of the leftovers down to the PICU for them to enjoy).
xo The Irvine Home