Icing Smiles bringing sweetness to sick children in Baltimore

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The nonprofit organization Icing Smiles provides custom celebration cakes to families impacted by the critical illness of a child, with the goal of providing a temporary escape from worry by creating positive memories during a difficult time.

The organization will host its annual Maryland Buttercream Ball at the Baltimore Museum of Art on Saturday, February 18, 2017.

With over 11,000 cakes delivered to date, Icing Smiles relies on a generous team of about 8,500 volunteer bakers and cake artists around the country to fulfill its mission.

“Icing Smiles goal is to make a cake specifically designed with a unique theme for the child or their sibling as a temporary break from the worrying,”said Tracy Quisinberry, who founded the

nonprofit seven years ago.

“The cakes have been successful in making positive memories for these children and have helped out many kids all over the United States,” Quisinberry said. “Considering that in our first year, we did about 45 cakes, now we’re averaging 2,700 cakes per year, the reception has been pretty good.”

Icing Smiles brings together Quisinberry’s long-held passion for service to families affected by childhood illness with her newly discovered ability to turn cake batter and icing into smiles and joy.

The nonprofit delivers cakes to the doorsteps of families of sick children, free of charge.

“My work on behalf of critically ill children and their families began as a college student at Penn State. For fun, I signed up for Penn State’s dance marathon benefiting the Children’s Cancer Center at Hershey Medical Center. Little did I know that the children who came to encourage us would capture my heart with their courage and positive attitude,” Quisinberry said, noting that, after college, she continued to serve those same children, as a volunteer wish grantor for the Make-AWish Foundation.

Working as an international tax director, Quisinberry’s life and mission changed when she gave birth to a premature baby who was admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit and remained

there after Quisinberry was discharged. Three years later, she also had a son born prematurely.

“I experienced the enormous challenge of maintaining a normal life for my healthy daughter while caring for my sick son. For us, normal was deciding which ball was the least devastating to

drop,” Quisinberry said. “While we had no significant concerns, but just enough to see what a medical situation can do to a family, it kind of turned our world upside down so we could imagine what other families go through so we decided to do this.”

The nonprofit, which relies on voluntary donations has helped put smiles on the faces of many who are critically or chronically ill and their families.

For the Maryland Nielsen-Massey, Buttercream Ball at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Rouge Fine Catering will provide food, a silent auction will take place, and the nonprofit welcomes Maryland’s own Tavares Evans and Amy Eagan, the owners of Cakes 2-A-T. Quisinberry said Evans and Eagan’s passion for cake has established them as a premier custom cake company specializing in personalized cakes that fit their customers, from local clients to international

celebrities.

Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, Patti Labelle, Baltimore Ravens players like Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Terrell Suggs and Brandon Williams, and music mogul Russell Simmons, boxer Floyd Mayweather and others have had cakes created by Cakes 2 A-T.

The Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders are scheduled to attend the Maryland Buttercream Ball. “Obviously, we want to continue to expand our services. We want to serve any eligible child no matter where they’re located,” said Quisinberry, noting that eligible children include those critically ill or who have regular hospital needs. “What we find is that we have a unique situation where we have a significant supply of volunteer bakers on our list. We’re clearly not utilizing all of our volunteers and we will look at otherways they can be utilized.”

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.icingsmiles.org and for tickets and information about the

Maryland Buttercream Ball, visit https://icingsmiles.networkforgood.com/events/1261-2017-nielsen-massey-buttercream-

ball-baltimore.