Dozens of kids who will spend Valentine’s Day at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital had reason to smile, all thanks to a local baker with a sweet mission.
Zach Behling, of Zach’s Sprinkles and Sweets, started baking cookies about a year ago as a fun side hustle to add some joy to his life…and to others via sweet concoctions.
All in all, 216 cookies came together to make a total of 36 cookie kits that were packed full of pink buttercream frosting, bright sprinkles, and everything a child would need to make a batch of Valentine’s cookies from their hospital bed.
Child Life specialist Morgan Syme graciously accepted the sweet donation and took to delivering the goods door to door.
“Seeing smiles during such a hard time for many really makes a difference,” she said as she approached Queen Hardy’s room. Queen would be the first to accept a bundle of sweets.
Eight-year-old Queen, who is battling acute lymphocytic leukemia, was preparing to head home after a two-week stay in the hospital. She even had her coat on, ready for discharge. She felt excited to take the cookies home to decorate them with her sister.
Child Life specialist Rhys Vandemark shared that Queen has lived on the ninth floor for quite some time and knows pretty much everyone.
Zander Melle, also 8, would be the first kiddo in the hospital to decorate a cookie and get a taste test. He broke the frosting and sprinkles out right in the middle of the infusion clinic on the 10th floor.
“1,2,3,4,5,6…how many of these cookies are for you?” joked Zander’s mom, Ashley.
Zander is a bit of a cookie connoisseur and often helps his mom make cookies at home. Giant dinosaur cookies and the letter Z are among his favorites.
“This is pretty awesome—it’s very nice,” Ashley said. “But are they really better than mom’s cookies?”
After taking his first bite, Zander decided his creation needed more sprinkles.
Seven-year-old Savannah Huff had a full assembly line of cookie creation cranking at her bedside within minutes of the special delivery.
She’s being monitored for seizures and is spending the majority of the week in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.
“Oh my gosh, Savannah just loves decorating cookies,” said her mom, Katie. “As soon as they mentioned this in the playroom this morning she just lit up with excitement.”
Savannah is all about pink, purple, sparkles and all things Valentine’s Day. She had to miss her school’s Valentine’s Day party because of her hospital stay, but she delivered her Valentine’s cards to her classmates before heading to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
“This, right here, is going to be the highlight of her week,” her mom said as she smiled.
And as Savannah bit into her first cookie, she exclaimed, “This is the best day ever!”