Monday, March 13, 2017

Cookie Captain Abby

Like most Girl Scouts this time of year, Abby is on a cookie mission. Abby, who is a fifth grader in Girl Scout Troop 308 in Virginia Beach, set a goal to sell at least 200 boxes of cookies this year, and she has already exceeded her goal by more than two-fold.

For Abby, this accomplishment is exceptional. She was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of four and has faced years of treatments, a bone marrow transplant and complications. In July, her health deteriorated to the point that her family brought her home for hospice care. But, Abby had bigger plans. She has gained strength and has returned to school for a couple of hours each day. Through all of this, Abby has kept up with her Girl Scout troop.

In November, she attended the Cookie Kickoff at the Children’s Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth. Abby has to carefully plan how to spend her energy, and this event had been on her family’s calendar for months. At the Cookie Kickoff, she had the chance to spend the evening with Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller, who presented her with a Cookie Captain shirt and cape. The two rotated through cookie-themed activity stations together, especially enjoying the chance to sample the new Girl Scout S’mores cookie.

This winter, Abby’s story was published in the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast magazine. It was here that Lin Olsen, executive director of the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways History Foundation, read Abby’s story and wanted to support Abby’s cookie goal. She reached out to Keller, who introduced her to Abby. On March 1, Abby, her mom, and her younger sister Emily loaded up the family van with cookies and headed to A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center in Chesapeake, and met Olsen and some her friends, who all purchased cookies.

Abby set up a makeshift cookie booth in the lobby at A Place for Girls. She talked about her busy cookie season and enthusiastically talked about each flavor of cookie. She also shared that she is collecting cookies to donate to People in Need (PiN) Ministries in Virginia Beach, an organization that provides food, clothing, shelter and medical care for people who are homeless or living in poverty in Virginia Beach. Abby’s troop has served food, held a clothing drive and sewed items for people at PiN in the past, and collecting Girl Scout Cookies for them is just one more way for them to make a positive difference in the community.

After purchasing cookies for herself, family and friends, Olsen also bought five boxes for Abby to add to her collection for PiN. Thanks to the support of Olsen and her friends who came to buy cookies, Abby has now sold more than 500 boxes of the sweet treats.

This spring, Abby, who is an avid hockey fan, is looking forward to attending Cookies on Ice, an annual Girl Scout night out with the Norfolk Admirals, with her Girl Scout troop.