Baking Memories 4 Kids Founder: Frank Squeo
Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle
Meet Frank Squeo, Cancer Survivor, and Founder of Baking Memories 4 Kids
Frank is a Testicular Cancer Survivor, who wanted to give back to other cancer patients, and there was born Baking Memories 4 Kids. Baking Memories 4 Kids uses the proceeds from their sales of cookies to send children with cancer to a Florida theme park of their choice, like Disney, Universal Studios, or Sea World. Most of these children are facing cancer that will most likely take their lives, but Frank and Baking Memories 4 Kids are giving them hope and a time to spend quality time with their family.
Shannon Miler Lifestyle: Tell SML a little about yourself.
Frank Squeo: I am 52 years old was raised in a small town outside of New York City. I have a Masters in economics and finance and have worked in numerous entrepreneurial positions. I was raised in a traditional all Italian household with an older brother. I have always believed in giving back and have 13 children that I sponsor throughout this country and Third World countries
SML: When were you diagnosed with cancer?
FS: In the fall of 2006 I was hiking out in Sedona when I noticed a lump in my neck. After three months of tests and surgeries I was diagnosed with an advanced stage III of testicular cancer in the spring of 2007. The cancer had spread throughout my body and was quickly approaching my brain. The doctors had to react extremely quickly before the cancer spread into my brain. Within a couple of days I had to have two surgeries and chemotherapy.
SML: What was your treatment journey like?
FS: Treatment was three months of aggressive platinum based chemotherapies. It was one week of six hours of chemo every day. Then two weeks of no treatment. This was repeated three more times. All of my hair was lost immediately and from all of the steroids they had to put me on since that was the only way I would have survived such large doses of chemo I gained over 50 pounds. Walking was extremely difficult due to all of the treatments. The only way to describe it was that you became a 95 year old person within a months time.
SML: What was it like when you learned you were in remission?
FS: It was an awesome feeling but it was hard to feel good physically due to all of the treatments. But extremely grateful that the worst was behind me.
SML: When did you first realize you wanted to start Baking Memories 4 Kids?
FS: I have always believed that everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes you don’t see it while you are in the middle of a crisis or storm. But I believed that my cancer was meant for a reason. About six months after my remission I had that moment where everything hit at once. I have always made these amazing chocolate chip cookies for my customers of my swimming pool company which I have had for 35 years. As well I am a big fan of all of the Disney parks down in Orlando. Coupled with my desire to help children baking memories 4 kids was formed. It is a perfect combination of all of my passions in life and gives definition to my struggle with cancer.
SML: How and when did you form your company?
FS: The company was formed in early 2013 after two years of design, logo, website and 501(c)(3) work.
SML: What makes your company different from anyone else’s?
FS: Baking memories for kids is a very different type of foundation. We raise money by selling our delicious chocolate chip cookies during the holiday season. I did not want you to be a foundation that asked only asked for straight donations. We sell a delicious container of cookies where all of the proceeds go towards sending these amazing children on a life-changing one week all expense paid vacation to the Florida amusement parks. We are different from most foundations in that we have almost zero overhead. There are no salaries with baking memory 4 kids. All of our help is from volunteers from myself on down to everyone helping to bake the cookies.
SML: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced since launching your company?
FS: The biggest challenge we are facing is trying to get as many orders as possible of our cookies so we will be able to send as many families as we can in 2014. It would break my heart to have a family come to us and not be able to send them on this trip.
SML: What has been your happiest moment since you launched your company?
FS: This is by far the easiest question I will ever have to answer. The first family we sent about four months ago was this little girl named Eva Grace Kelly. She is now two years and eight months old and has a spinal muscular cancer that has a life expectancy of only two years. We had to send her on this amazing trip very quickly. The happiest moment came when I went to go see the family and make the formal announcement. Seeing her with her eyes wide open brought tears of joy to my eyes. That moment everything that I had worked so hard for and my battle with cancer was all worth it.
SML: What are your future goals for your company?
FS: My only goal of this company is to send as many children as we can on this life-changing trip. The real end goal is actually to be able to shut down baking memories 4 kids down meaning that there are no more children suffering from any life-threatening and terminal diseases. But until then we will sell as many cookies as we can so we can send as many families on this trip.
SML: Anything else you would like to share with us?
FS: The only thing I would like to add is my sincere thanks to your organization and everybody out there who has gone out of their way to help spread the word about baking memories for kids. Without amazing organizations like yours we would never be able to help these deserving little angels and their families.