Seeing her undergoing treatment, I was sad, I wanted to do something, I had to do something.”
With tears in her eyes, 11 year old Azzie recalled the day she visited her Aunty Sandra while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer in Canada. What would be considered a fun carefree holiday for any budding teenager, turned into a moment of deep reflection for young Azzie.
It had been a while since Azzie had seen her aunt, and the first time since Aunty Sandra had started her treatment for breast cancer. Azzie described in great detail the immense sadness but also her strong desire to help. This motivation to transform her pain into positivity came like second nature for Azzie, so when her mom Farzana asked “How do you think you can help?” it sparked an idea which would turn into Azzie’s Cupcakes for a Cause.
Inspired by the strength and resilience of her Aunty Sandra, Azzie decided she would help by baking and selling cupcakes, donating the profits to organisations that provide support to cancer patients and create greater awareness on the various types of cancer, including breast cancer.
“I thought about my Aunt Sandra and the other people in the world that have to go through the same thing. So many people have similar struggles, even kids, some kids have cancer too, it’s our duty to help however we can.”
Azzie put her passion into action, and upon return from holiday got straight to work. With a love for art and drawing, she drew a logo for her venture, and together with her mom brainstormed the name “Azzie’s Cupcakes for a Cause”. Azzie beamed with excitement as she shared how her Aunty Sam in Trinidad was able to transform her drawing of the logo into a graphic, tweaking it until it was perfect!
“I never thought I could actually do it; it was an idea in my head but it would never have come through if it wasn’t for my mom, she helped me and gave me the confidence I needed. The logo was the first step and I knew I wanted to use the colour pink. I chose this because of my Aunt Sandra, she is strong, confident, independent- like a flamingo! The pink stands for this!”
Setting up a charitable venture is not usually on the daily “to-do” list of a teenager but Azzie’s mom encouraged her to believe in her idea and seek out support. She spoke to medical professionals like Dr. Shirley Hanoman-Jhagroo and sent written proposals to companies who all responded positively to this eager teenager. Fason Foods Inc. and Zara’s Collection provided the seed funding to get her started while Sign Sation Ltd., Carters and H & B Hardware made their own donations, some providing their branches as a place to sell cupcakes.
Next, it came time for the fun part- baking!
“The first time I had to make cupcakes, my mom helped me, I had always watched her make cupcakes. We started with regular flavours and then added flavours like cinnamon, mint and strawberry”.
To add her own flair, Azzie created her own signature sprinkles by mixing together different sprinkles in the colours of her logo. This added the pop that was needed, and was a hit! Azzie gushed as she recalled her first order, which came from a family friend.
“I still couldn’t believe I was doing this, I just wanted to help and was happy others were willing to support, as soon as we got the order, I sprung up from the couch and went straight to the kitchen thinking- what do we need!”
Tik Tok and Netflix took a backseat for now 12 year old Azzie because she was excited to fill the orders that were pouring in and plan her first even which took place at Sheraton Mall. This event was supported by family, friends and patrons and within a few hours the cupcakes were sold out!
“In the first three months, I donated the funds to the Breast Screening Programme and the following three months were to the Little Pink Foundation, they were very grateful for the donation.”
Azzie admitted that juggling school and her charity could sometimes be difficult, sharing that she would do her homework when she got home and begin baking the cupcakes around 8:30 pm, finishing close to midnight, however, in true Azzie style she casually said “I got used to it”.
"I felt like I was making a difference, even just a little bit. One day a girl, who was around 5 years old came to me at school and asked ‘Are you the girl that sell cupcakes for cancer?’, when I said ‘yes I am’ she gave me a big hug and said ‘thank you so much’."
This was a memorable moment for Azzie who also had some advice to share with her peers and other girls who had ideas to help their communities but may be concerned about getting it done or even where to start.
“Share your idea with your family or someone who you trust, they can be a huge support. Most importantly, believe in yourself, trust yourself and remember if you can dream it, you can do it!”
So what’s next for Azzie’s Cupcakes for a cause?
“As long as I am making a difference, I will continue and… well, I have some exciting new flavours on the way, but you’ll have to follow my Facebook page to find out more :).”
You can support Azzie’s Cupcakes for Cause by reaching out to her page!
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