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Bake the Baguettes for Lily

I have a new reason for going to work every day. She’s not very big and she doesn’t eat a lot. But as long as our Panera baguettes are her favorite food, I’m going to make sure that Lily Von Glahn has as many baguettes as she can handle.

For nearly a whole year, Lily, now 9 years old, had no appetite and the only food that her mother, Heather, could get her to eat were our Panera baguettes. Lilly, who was diagnosed with high risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in August of 2014, went through an entire year of chemotherapy and had to miss the third grade because she could not risk being near others.

She will have another year of therapy but Heather says her daughter is doing well. “She has proven to be incredibly strong and fierce and very much a fighter,” Heather wrote to us about her daughter.

We got to know Lily and Heather because Lily, who is battling cancer, is interested in what it takes to be a professional baker.

We found out about this interest and she and another child, Izzy Caminero, worked alongside Panera’s Baking Director Dallas Cox to win the titles of Panera Bread’s Junior “Ultimate Bakers” at an event we held in early February with A Special Wish Cleveland Chapter.

It’s always gratifying and humbling to be able to do things that help others. But this event was extremely important for me because of the special role that Panera has played for Lily, who had to live with a feeding tube during part of her chemotherapy treatments.

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Team Panera members, who were coached by Panera Baking Director for the Cleveland Region Dallas Cox, strategized as the Junior Ultimate Baker event began. The team members are: Lily Von Glahn and Izzy Caminero.

Here’s what Heather wrote to us when we asked her to tell us a little more about Lily. Please keep in mind that we didn’t even ask her to tell us anything about our products.

“In that first year, Lily didn’t have an appetite (hence the feeding tube) but one food that I could usually get her to eat at least a few bites is a Panera baguette. I’m sure it sounds like I’m making that up for this story, but I promise you I’m not,” Heather wrote.

As a prize for her fine work as the Junior Ultimate Baker, Lily received numerous prizes, including a certificate for Panera bread for a year and that’s the one that Heather says she’ll value the most. “You have no idea how big of a deal that is in our house. I’m trying to convince her to try another type of bread, but so far it’s just the baguette that makes her smile,” she said.

She said the competition made her feel as though she really was a professional baker.

Lily, I guess I’ve written enough. I better make sure our bakers get those baguettes going.

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