When it comes to diseases, lymphoma does not have the notoriety of lung, breast and even colon cancer.
“Many people don’t recognize or focus on lymphoma,” says Meghan Gutierrez, CEO of the Lymphoma Research Foundation, even though “they’re a million people living with it.
“It’s the most common blood cancer in adults and the third most common cancer in children. There are 100 different subtypes. Some are curable. Some have no cure. Some can go into remission with treatment. It’s a complex disease, which is why we work so hard to raise funds for research.”
That complexity may be lost this year amid the dominance of coronavirus news. Indeed, the medical community now fears that cancer diagnoses and treatments may have been at risk in the last few months as the pandemic crested in our area, making doctor and hospital visits a challenge.
But as a patient reminded Gutierrez earlier this year: “Lymphoma doesn’t read the newspapers.”
Patients, however, do. “And they’re worried,” she says. “Should they visit the doctor? Can they maintain their nutrition? We’re seeing a 100% increase in requests to the helpline….”
The good news, Gutierrez adds, is that “our donors and corporations have really stepped up to the plate.”
The organization, which raises money for research and offers financial assistance to patients in need, drew awareness recently with its Light it Red campaign, in which individuals wore red, and structures throughout North America, such as the Helmsley Building in Manhattan, were lit red to mark September as Blood Cancer Awareness Month and Sept. 15 as World Lymphoma Day. On Sept. 30, the foundation held its 25th anniversary gala, “Finding a Cure Starts With You,” virtually, raising $800,000.
Then from Oct. 22 through 25, the foundation hosted its North American Educational Forum on Lymphoma, also online, to share information on available treatments, patient support concerns, clinical trials and advances in research.
The foundation’s latest endeavor should tickle the taste buds. LRF is partnering with Sweet Loren’s for The Great Bake, an online bake sale in which you can use Sweet Loren’s natural cookie dough — the No. 1 brand of its kind in the country, found in 1,200 supermarkets — to bake goodies to sell to family and friends. Proceeds go to help LRF. For Sweet Loren’s founder Loren Brill, the foundation is “a perfect fit.” In her 20s, she suffered from Hodgkin’s disease — one of three main categories of lymphoma, the others being non-Hodgkin and chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma — but fortunately went into remission. It was for her a life-altering moment that required a new approach to nutrition.
“I felt it was so important to eat clean,” she says, “but I still had a sweet tooth.”
The result was a cookie dough made of non-GMO, gluten-free, plant-based ingredients in four flavors — oatmeal cranberry, chocolate chunk, sugar (Gutierrez’s favorite) and fudgy brownie. (There’s also an edible cookie dough in birthday cake and chocolate chunk for those who can’t wait for the tasty treats to come out of the oven.)
So it’s a question of using dough to make dough. Sounds like a sweet deal.
MINI PUMPKIN PIE BITES
• 2 packages Sweet Loren’s Sugar Cookie Dough
• 1 12-ounce can pure pumpkin pur.e
• 1 1/4 cup coconut milk, almond milk or other milk of choice
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup cane sugar
• Pinch of salt
• Preheat oven to 325ÅãF and thaw cookie dough at room temperature so it becomes soft to touch.
• Fill two 24-count mini cupcake pans with mini muffin liners. (You can skip this step if using a silicone pan.) Lightly grease the inside of the muffin liners to ensure easy removal of the pie bites.
• Break each cookie dough portion into 2 pieces and press one piece into the bottom and sides of each muffin tin. Repeat with remaining cookie dough until all 24 muffin spaces are filled with dough.
• Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until cookies have risen and edges are lightly golden. Cool pan for at least 10 minutes. If the sides of each cookie aren’t flat, press down lightly with the back of a spoon.
• Meanwhile, make the pumpkin pie filling by combining the pumpkin pur.e, milk, cinnamon, eggs, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk until completely combined.
• Spoon about 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie filling into each mini sugar cookie cup, or until it reaches the top of the cookie cup.
• Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until pumpkin pie filling is set.
• Refrigerate the pumpkin pie cups for up to 2 hours, then pop each mini pie out of the pan before serving.