This is in memory and celebration of my beloved late wife, Cheryl Sheppard de Yampert. I affectionately called her "Baby Bakes" after she left her career as a newspaper research librarian to become a pastry chef.
Decades before Cheryl was preyed upon by the Breast Cancer Demon, she worked to raise funding for breast cancer research and awareness through Denim Day and the Making Strides walk.
After her passing, I found a stack of magazines that Cheryl had saved with articles on breast cancer – one of them, an issue of Time, is dated Jan. 14, 1991. Cheryl was one of those 1-out-of-10 American women that Time article prophesied to get breast cancer.
The demon invaded our lives when Cheryl discovered a lump on her left breast on Sept. 27, 2011. She died in my arms at our Florida home on April 30, 2015.
For years before the demon came, Cheryl would host Denim Day at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the newspaper in Florida where she worked at the time as a research librarian and I was the entertainment writer. Each and every Denim Day, Cheryl would wear her jeans to work, and she’d bake her exquisitely delicious pastries and treats to give away in the hope that people would donate to the cause (this was before she became a professional baker/pastry chef). Chel (my other pet name for my Beloved) also would hand out pink ribbon pins and informational pamphlets.
Cheryl continued her Denim Day baked-treats fundraising efforts after she earned her baking-pastry degree from Daytona State College and founded Sweets from Bunny, her boutique bakery business. Indeed, my Baby Bakes continued her efforts after her diagnosis and up to the time she left this world.
In 2018 I held a Sweets from Bunny Day at a Daytona restaurant owned by dear friends. All who donated to this campaign received a bag of Sweets from Bunny's Gaia Granola, made by me using Cheryl's recipes. Gaia Granola is one of the few treats that Chel made that I can make fairly close to her expert standards!
For more than two decades, Cheryl and I also participated in Making Strides, an annual walk that raises funding for breast cancer research and awareness. Due to the pandemic, this year -- 2020 -- the massive walk in downtown Daytona will not be held. Instead, the Making Stride folks are urging people to hold their own safe and socially distant walks on Oct. 17. So, on that day I will be making some Sweets from Bunny Gaia Granola for myself in memory of my beloved Baby Bakes. And I will don the Making Strides "helmet" you see me wearing in one of the pix here -- the hat with Hedge the Pink Hedgehog on top -- and I will walk through our neighborhood to help raise awareness and celebrate the life of my sweet Chel.
Rest in peace my beloved Baby Bakes. Namaste all who visit here: The Light of the Divine in me honors the Light of the Divine in you.