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Making Halloween sweeter for kids who can’t trick or treat

Addie Broyles

Just because you’re spending Halloween in the hospital or at the doctor’s office doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun.

This morning, I got to tag along with Becky Nichols, the founder of A Trip to Bountiful Bakery & Cafe in West Lake Hills. Not long after Nichols’ five-year-old daughter, Libbie, died of leukemia in 2004, she started the Loving Libbie Foundation as a way to give back some of the kindness she and her family received in the hospital.

Every year, the Foundation gives thousands of dollars’ worth of macaroni and cheese, chicken pot pies, cakes, cookies and more to patients (and their families) at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, the Children’s Blood & Cancer Center and the Ronald McDonald House.

Nichols’ hands are busy enough running the popular café, but nothing brings her more joy than delivering something special to folks who are going through a rough time.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working with a Round Rock family for our upcoming Season for Caring campaign; Anissa Robinson has three kids, two of whom have sickle cell disease and will be spending Halloween in the hospital. When I found out that both Jaevin and Treylin, ages 5 and 2, had to be admitted at the same time this week, I was feeling a little helpless and called Nichols to see if she had anything special planned for Halloween. Sure enough, she was making cupcake deliveries to the nearby blood and cancer center, where she’s on a first-name basis with just about every member of the staff.

We met at the blood and cancer center, which the employees had transformed into a zoo, complete with receptionists and nurses dressed as monkeys and cats, social workers as parrots and doctors as zookeepers. Nichols left them several dozen undecorated cupcakes and a bag full of decorations, including icing in piping bags so that the kids could decorate their own cupcakes.

Then we stopped by Dell Children’s to visit Jaevin and Treylin and a friend of Nichols’ whose 18-month-old was going through surgery this morning. We dropped off cookies to everyone, and it melted my heart to see the little boys, dressed in hospital gowns and tethered to an IV pole, so utterly happy at getting their own Frankenstein cookies.

Today happens to be their mom, Anissa’s, birthday. Nichols didn’t say anything while we were there, but on the way out of the hospital, she asked me how to spell her name because later today, she wanted to drop off a birthday cake.

You’ll be reading more about the Robinson family when Season for Caring starts in just a few weeks. In the meantime, keep them in your thoughts and say a little prayer of thanks to people like Nichols, who go out of their way to make things a little easier on families in need.

If you’d like, you can contribute to the Loving Libbie Memorial Foundation here.