Press Release

Cookies4Chris raises more than $35,000 for efforts to end colorectal cancer

On Sunday morning at South Hills Country Club in Pittsburgh, the bakers stacked high their most delectable treats, and the sweet-toothed buyers lined up by the hundreds. They were there for the artisan cookies, of course, but also to support efforts to end colorectal cancer.

The 8th annual Cookies4Chris fundraiser and luncheon raised more than $35,000 to benefit the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and national nonprofit Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

Cookies4Chris was born to honor the memory of Chris Sapienza, a Pittsburgh native who passed away from colorectal cancer and was a lover of both cookies and baking. Sapienza was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006, fought it for three years, and passed away from the disease in 2009.

This year, Cookies4Chris entered its eighth year, but it remained a cozy luncheon and vendor show, with a personal feel. As people entered the event, they chose about a dozen artisan cookies to take home from more than 50 bakers.

“If Chris visited us here, she would be smiling because it’d feel so perfect, and she would be baking and displaying all of these cookies herself,” said Marietta Barrett, sister-in-law of Chris and organizer of the event.

Funds directed toward the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute will support the work of Dr. Edward Chu, deputy director of UPCI, and his colleagues, for their research efforts and development of novel treatment strategies for colorectal cancer.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance, based in Washington, D.C., exists to end this disease within our lifetime. The organization pursues strategies in prevention, research, and patient and family support. Chris Sapienza’s son, Michael Sapienza, is CEO of the Alliance.

In Pennsylvania, the incidence rate for colorectal cancer is 14 percent higher than average, making Cookies4Chris an important event in a state with increased risk.

“I think this event has saved lives because people will say they’ve made their appointment or talked to someone about [colorectal cancer],” Barrett said. “No one wants to talk about colon cancer, but they do want some cookies.”

Colorectal cancer information sheet:

About the Colorectal Cancer Alliance

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is a national nonprofit committed to ending colorectal cancer. Working with our nation of passionate allies, we diligently support the needs of patients and families, caregivers, and survivors, eagerly raise awareness of preventative screening, and continually strive to fund critical research. As allies in the struggle, we are fiercely determined to end colorectal cancer within our lifetime. For more information, visit


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