our blog


SPECIAL OFFER: 50 discounted tickets to FAMILY FUN DAY!


December 5, 2015 - Metropolitan Pavilion
(scroll down for the special offer)

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was founded by Liam Witt’s parents, Gretchen and Larry, when Liam was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2 ½.

Liam was a fixture at apple seeds. We called him the mayor. He rode in on his orange scooter every day, ran around the playground with his sister Ella and rolled up his lab coat sleeves to make super goop at his science birthday party. When Liam passed away at 6 ½ years old, our families, and the entire apple seeds community, were devastated. In Liam’s honor, we have committed to do everything in our power to work with Cookies for Kids' Cancer, to help other children, and their families, in their fight to live and to help find a cure for this monster that kills more children in the US than any other disease.

On December 5th, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is throwing an all-out bash to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research.

Join us at Metropolitan Pavilion for treats like you have never seen before baked by 15 of the top pastry chefs, music by 11 year old wonder kid DJ Fulano, concerts by songs for seeds (our personal favorite!), a temporary tattoo station, face painting, professional cupcake and cookie decorating, meet and greet with one of the stars of Matilda the Musical, and so much more. All of this Good Cookie fun is hosted by Christina Tosi, FOX MasterChef judge and chef, owner and founder of Milk Bar.

We can't think of a better excuse to eat cookies than to help fund the research that will create the medicines that will save the lives of children battling cancer.


A very generous and mysterious (they won’t let us tell you who they are) Cookies for Kids’ Cancer supporter has made a donation to the organization in apple seeds’ name.

With that donation, Cookies has created an event code that automatically removes $25 OFF each ticket FOR THE FIRST 50 TICKETS purchased after this newsletter goes out.

GO TO: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cookies-for-kids-cancer-be-a-good-cookie-family-fun-day-tickets-19191234499

USE PROMO CODE: appleseeds

For more information, email events@cookiesforkidscancer.org

Hope to see you there!



BY ARI AND SAM SCHLANGER (10 years old) 
WITH ANDY LEIKIND (8 years old)

This will be one of my yearly blogs about my cousin Andy’s bravery living with type one diabetes. This year, Andy and my brother Sam will help me write it.

Last year, and this year, my family had a boxing party to raise money and awareness for type one diabetes research. A quote from Andy: “Living with type one can be rough. But I won’t let it get me down. I will keep fighting.” 

I’ve always known Andy to be the brave one in the family. She’s overcome a lot of obstacles and has gone through a lot. But that won’t stop her. Whenever I see her, there’s always that unmistakable smile on her face. She’s never sad. One of the most amazing things I notice about her is when I go to the JDRF walk for diabetes, I see so many people there. Then I realize how many people care, how many people help, and find a place in their heart for Andy. 

Andy’s JDRF walk team is called “Andy’s Warrior Princesses (And Princes)”. It is one of the most inspiring things I have ever experienced. After all, you can only be a princess if you’re a warrior.

“Hope is the little voice you hear whisper “maybe” when it seems the entire world is shouting “no!” -Anonymous

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”- Ed Sheeran

P.S. If you want to donate to Andy’s JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) fundraising page, click here!


Team See Possibilities takes on Machu Picchu

by Alison Qualter Berna

Last week I completed what can only be described as one of those life-changing experiences, one where you find yourself kissing the sky with gratitude. It was a moment when the world faded away and everything I felt I had given up to get here in NYC to take on my great adventure became, in a blissful moment, utterly worth it.

I am a part of Team See Possibilities (www.teamseepossibilities.com). My friends Dan Berlin, Charles Scott, Brad Graff and I formed this team to channel our mutual love of adventure and endurance sports, while hoping to inspire others to change their mindsets. Our message is simple – each one of us can overcome the greatest of obstacles. The key is to change our way of "seeing" what is possible. Our team equation over the last few years is this - we guide Dan to become the first blind athlete to do a major endurance challenge, in an iconic location, and raise awareness and money for a charitable cause.

Dan went blind in his 30s, a fate that would drive many people into depression. Instead, he decided to treat his blindness as an “inconvenience rather than a disability.” A father of two and a CEO, Dan (previously a casual runner) decided, after going blind, to become a marathoner and take on endurance challenges that would test even the fittest of athletes.

Last October, we made history guiding Dan to become the first blind athlete to run across the Grand Canyon and back nonstop (for press coverage, click here http://www.teamseepossibilities.com/grand-canyon.html). This 46 mile challenge over rugged terrain with certain death drop offs took us 28 hours to complete. Dan quickly became a powerful role model for thousands who are now following his journey and absorbing his positive approach to disability. Even Scott Jurek, the most well-known ultra-runner in the world, has dedicated himself to support our efforts.

Last week, we returned from Peru were Dan made history once again, completing the trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu nonstop. The trek typically takes 4 days but we were able to complete it in 13 hours. Thanks to our sponsor Intrepid Travel, we had special permission from the Peruvian local authorities, one of whom told us after doing the trek 215 times, "The local authorities think you are crazy. What you are attempting to do is not impossible but extremely challenging, particularly with a blind person.” He also informed us that if we didn't reach the final cut-off point by 4 p.m., we would not be allowed to proceed to Machu Picchu and would have to sleep in a campsite and continue on the following morning. 

The extreme elevation, the rugged terrain, and the thousands upon thousands of narrow, steep steps made the journey treacherous at times, even for a sighted person. Our goal was to show others what is possible when you focus on what you CAN do, rather than what you can’t do.

We arrived at the final checkpoint by 3:58 p.m. (with two minutes to spare!) and were thus able to proceed on to Machu Picchu, where we arrived by dusk. The sun was setting over the gorgeous historic site, and we sat in silence for a moment, appreciating a deep sense of accomplishment from guiding the first blind person ever to have completed this feat. We enjoyed the rare privilege of being the only people there (the last of the tourist buses had gone) and soaked up this wonder of the world. As we took in such beauty, I realized that Dan “saw” Machu Picchu in his own way. He felt it, heard it and sensed it…his lack of vision did not deter him from the deep elation at having reached our goal.

This powerful moment was made sweeter for me after reading letters that my three children – Maddie, Sydney and Jack – had tucked into my backpack. They surprised me, asking me to read them when I felt weak or when I deeply missed them (which is always). Their loving letters brought me into unstoppable tears, as they used phrases like “You did it Mommy! We are so proud of you!” and “Mommy, you worked so hard for this…have confidence! Don’t you see you just had to try this and it would happen!” Perhaps my favorite phrase (since I also can’t wait to share this part of my life with them), “I can’t wait until I’m older to do an adventure with you one day!”

Isn’t it amazing how as mothers we sacrifice so much of ourselves for our children, our family and our job? It’s even more amazing when we realize that our children simply want us to be happy. They want a role model. They want to share in our accomplishments and mostly, they want to revel in our joy.

Here is the link to a 3-minute video that includes our arrival at the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu. This video is thanks to the absolutely amazing photographer who joined us from Intrepid Travel, Lucy Piper. Lucy us did the entire trek with TWO giant cameras in tow and I promise you she never stopped smiling!


Here is Lucy’s pre-run video to show you a bit of our nerves before we dove into the trek -


Through this challenge, we raised money for the Blind Institute of Technology, which trains companies how to integrate vision-impaired employees into the workplace.

We also worked with UNICEF in Peru and raised money for the Luis Braille School in Comas, an impoverished section of Lima. UNICEF’s dedicated team hosted an event for Dan to speak at the school alongside the Ministry of Vulnerable Populations, the government body working to increase access and inclusion for disabled children in all aspects of life. Dan will be included in UNICEF’s regional report that will highlight access and inclusion for disabled persons throughout South America.

At the UNICEF event, Dan won a very prestigious honor from the National Peruvian Sports Institute.

I was also able to enjoy my former career working in sports for development at UNICEF. We played a game of soccer with blind children. Note the plastic bags around the soccer ball are not because they can't afford a ball, as was the case in creating the soccer balls in many countries I visited (where children made soccer balls from twine, bags, or old clothes). In this case, the plastic bag is there is the can hear the ball coming and follow it to play!

The press has shown great interest in Team See Possibilities and Dan’s feat! Check out a few media links for more about our story:






Dan chooses to focus on his abilities, not his disability. With that message, our hope is to highlight Dan’s resilience and positive approach to adversity, and help change all people’s mindsets on what they can and can’t do. Everyone has perceived limitations (lack of time, our job, a fear, anything standing in the way of our goals), and we hope to inspire others by overcoming anything standing in the way of their goals.

So take the time, find your cause, dream up your own adventure and don’t let anything stop you. What are you waiting for?


Cookies for Kids' Cancer announces FAMILY FUN DAY (December 5th)

by Allison Schlanger and Alison Qualter Berna

Dec 5th is National Cookie Day.

The perfect excuse to eat cookies. Lest anyone to think you are unpatriotic! What if we told you that on Dec 5th you could eat cookies AND raise money for pediatric cancer research?

Talk about guilt free cookie eating! You have to do it. How could you pass up a chance to raise money for pediatric cancer? You wouldn’t - you are not that type of person!

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, is an organization that is incredibly close to our hearts. It is a national foundation that does the most unbelievable job of raising funds for pediatric cancer research and then giving those funds directly to the medical trials, and doctors, who are in the operating rooms, and research labs, saving children’s lives every single day.

We have personally witnessed the intimate relationship CFKC has with the top pediatric cancer hospitals. They are laser focused. The founders personally make sure that every single dollar raised goes directly to approving medical trials needed to help kids win the battle against this monster of a disease that takes more children’s lives in the US than any other.

CFKC also knows how to throw a party.

Join us on Dec 5th for FAMILY FUN DAY…cupcake and cookie decorating with the best pastry chefs in NYC, portrait artists, face painters, balloon artists, songs for seeds (!) and more.

Did we mention that the goodie bag is a cookie jar filled with delicious treats from 15 of the country’s top pastry chefs?

Hope to see you there.

For more information and to purchase tickets click here!


3 Tips for Longer Attention Span using Play

Image By: Debbie Arcangeles

As a teacher and therapist for children under the age of 5, the number one question I have always encountered with parents is “how do I get them to stay still?".

Well folks, every child is different and I can’t (unfortunately) give you fairy dust to sprinkle on your adorable tot to get them to magically stay still.

However, I have found a few tricks that have worked wonders with kiddies to at least pay attention for 3-5 minutes at a time (we have to start somewhere).

I say “pay attention” instead of “sitting still” because for toddlers, it would be nearly impossible to see this double rainbow like moment happen (unless asleep, ill or so exhausted they can’t even keep their eye lids open). However, paying attention and listening can definitely be done – with the right tools and clever ways of persuasions.

Here are a few tricks I have used with my adorable tots.

Find the best motivator. You know your child. You know their likes, dislikes and favorite toy that they won’t let go of. You know, the toy that’s so dirty and stinky that when you finally cleaned it, your baby didn't recognize it anymore. As amazing as that toy is to your toddler, it will not be a great toy to use as a motivator to get their attention. It may become a problem rather than help, since the focus will stay on that “beloved” item. Instead, find something that is fairly new (tip: introduce toys that light up, spin and anything that can be easily manipulated with their hands – play dough, slinky etc). When you find this magical motivator toy, it will most likely keep their attention for several minutes (until they find something else to do or start fighting with a sibling of course).

Be animated. When you find this magical tool, try playing with the toy along with your child. Remember, toddlers will learn through you. They will learn with a bit of guidance, as well as independent exploration. It is so important to spend this time with your tot, and when you do, don’t be afraid to be silly and animated. We don’t mean scary little girl/boy voice – unless you do that really well. We mean: hopping on one foot to teach balance or singing while cleaning to make it more fun. By creating a fun and animated environment, your child will only have eyes for you, which will allow for many wonderful teaching opportunities that they will gladly listen to since you made it so much fun!

Consistency is key. Once you have created this fun and animated teaching environment, be consistent. Try sitting and playing with a toy for 2 minutes, then 3, then 5 and so on. Believe me, it will not be a cakewalk in the beginning (for some children). While you play with the toy start asking simple questions, and see how they respond. Remember not only are you teaching your child how to have longer attention span and how to play appropriately, but these are also valuable teaching moments that can be extremely powerful if used effectively and can transcend to other activities besides play.

The key to this exercise is to be SO interesting that your child will not be able to ignore you. We know as parents, your energy may be low at times and these exercises cannot always be done with as much animated zeal as you would like. However, for every small effort a large return can be given.

We hope this helps. Play on!


My name is Debbie. I am a therapist for children with Autism and past Art teacher for toddlers. I am the founder of Lollie Tot a children’s site where we show fun tutorial videos for parents of young toddlers that will help promote learning through natural play. Toys and other wonderful items will be available for purchase where portions of the proceeds are given to children’s charity organizations. We will be launching October 27, but sign up at www.lollietot.com to be the first to see our brand spanking new site!

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