As Alana, Holly and Alan Cook prepare to relocate to Chicago so the seventh-grader can began an extensive cancer treatment program, their friends and neighbors across Columbus are banding together to ease the family’s financial burden.
Several fundraisers are in the works to help the Cooks pay for Alana’s medical expenses. So far, more than $3,000 has been donated to the family.
Original Party Mart
The Original Party Mart in Columbus on Tuesday baked and sold about 5,500 sugar cookies, decorated with the #COOKIESTRONG logo that has become the symbol of Alana’s journey to health following surgery for brain cancer.All proceeds from the cookie sales — which added up to more than $3,200 — were given to the Cook family, said Treva Lambert, who owns the Original Party Mart with her husband, David.When Alana was a little girl, she would walk to the store’s former location on 17th St. and Home Ave. and take home ingredients to bake her own cookies, Lambert said.
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Because of that connection, Lambert said she and her husband were compelled to hold a fundraiser to help the girl who always brought a smile to their faces.
Alana’s friends and teachers at Northside Middle School are doing their part to help.Anyone who goes to the Chipotle Mexican Grill, at 2260 N. National Road in Columbus, on Thursday can ask for proceeds from their meal to be donated to the Northside Middle School fundraiser.The restaurant agreed to donate half of the cost of each meal to Northside, which will then give all proceeds raised through the restaurant back to the Cook family, said Amy Dixon, Northside principal.
That event will run from 4 to 8 p.m.
The entire Columbus community will have the opportunity to gather together for Alana on Dec. 12, when a family friend is hosting an “Alana’s Day” celebration at Northside Middle School, 1400 27th St., Columbus.Columbus residents are invited to enjoy music, chili and pizza at Northside, where a free-will offering will be taken for the Cooks’ medical expenses, said Toni Brown, the event’s organizer.The evening also will feature a silent auction with gift cards, baskets, wreaths, Harley-Davidson merchandise and other items.
Brown, who has known Alan Cook for 30 years, said about 150 people already have expressed an interest in coming to the Alana’s Day Celebration, which will run from 5 to 8 p.m.
One tough cookie
Schmitt Elementary School, working with the Tony London Co. in Columbus, has a T-shirt fundraiser underway to raise money for the Cook family.The $10 T-shirts, which feature a theme of basketball, the Schmitt and Northside school colors, and Alana’s nickname of Cookie, are available at Popportunity, 1122 25th St., and a limited number at Schmitt, 2675 California St.London, who designed the shirts, said he wanted to personalize the design for Alana — so the shirt goes with “One Tough Cookie” along with her name and Northside basketball number on the back.
About 500 of the shirts have been sold so far and London is making more to be available this week, said Brett Boezeman, Schmitt principal.
Several middle and elementary basketball teams have bought the shirts to use as warm-ups for games, he said. Columbus East girls basketball team has also called the school seeking some shirts, he said.
The school hasn’t calculated how much the T-shirt sales have made so far, he said, but all proceeds after expenses are going to the family, he said.
Boezeman said on the day before Alana’s surgery, she and her mother visited Schmitt and Alana gravitated to two places she used to visit when she was in elementary school there.
“She would go down to the Life Skills class and help out when she was here, and she liked to go the first grade class and read to kids, Boezeman said. “She’s got a servant’s heart.”
Assistant managing editor Julie McClure contributed to this report.