Milkshakes are changing a Florida woman’s fight against breast cancer after a bakery owner surprised her with a fundraiser.
“It felt really good," recipient Victoria Burnham, 25, said. "I know there are ... people out there who are going through worse out there, but they chose me.”
Burnham was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2008 and has been going through chemotherapy since June. She told "Good Morning America" she is unable to work and tries to manage her daily expenses.
Burnham is exactly the type of person Julie Curry, the owner of Bake'n Babes in Tampa, wanted to help during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To do so, the shop is selling its "Freak Shakes, which are over-the-top milkshakes, to fundraise for Burnham. This month, the eatery has sold almost 100 of them.
To get a sense of the social media-worthiness of the sweet treats, look no further than an Instagram post by singer Lizzo, who appears to love the custom-made Freak Shake she was served and even gave Bake'n Babes a shout-out in the caption.
Curry said she was inspired to sell a Freak Shake called “Think Pink” throughout October after one of her bakers, Jen Ingandela, revealed her own personal battle with breast cancer. Curry said Ingandela told her people would often say they had donated to walk-a-thons or another cause in her honor, but Curry “wished they would’ve donated the money to her.”
After this conversation, Curry wanted to get involved and went on the hunt to find a woman battling the disease she and the bakery could help directly.
“Jen was pretty adamant about find[ing] a local person,” Curry said.
Curry was soon connected by a friend to Burnham and then decided to make her the beneficiary of the fundraising effort.
“[I] wanted her to make sure she didn’t feel this was a charity case," Curry said. "I wanted her to know [there were] other women in the community who care for her.”
Beyond her own diagnosis, Burnham is no stranger to the disease.
“My mom was diagnosed and died when I was at 8," she said, noting that her sister beat stage 4 breast cancer, and that two of her aunts also had battles with cancer.
Curry told ABC affiliate WFTS in Tampa that this initiative is sparking an important conversation in an unexpected place.
"I know it's not something a bakery would normally talk about," she said.
What's more, the bakery has featured a different breast cancer survivor each day in October on social media, telling their stories and encouraging others to get checked.
“People are coming in and wanted to buy," Curry told "GMA." "Every day we are sharing a survivor story because I want everyone to feel that love and support."
Burnham does and said she wants those fighting breast cancer to know that “it may be hard right now, but it will get better."
"Make sure you get checked," she said. "I saw a lump before my 23rd birthday, so that’s crazy.”