IU Health honors Bedford’s Magic Morning Bakery for making cakes for cancer patients
BEDFORD — Scott Stroud and the cake bakers at Magic Morning Bakery make hundreds of cakes for special occasions without ever getting to see the smiles, hugs and celebrations they’re made for.
One special occasion Stroud has been making cakes for is a little different than most celebrations and the fact he donates those cakes earned the Bedford bakery special recognition last week.
IU Health Bedford Oncology unit presented a plaque to Stroud, owner of the bakery at 2513 16th St., last week to thank him for the many cakes the shop has donated for patients when they complete their cancer treatment.
Since 2017, when patients at IU Health Bedford Hospital Oncology ring the bell to celebrate the end of their treatment, they’re presented a cake.
When the tradition started, the oncology staff wanted to make the moment feel as special as possible, so the department bought 6-inch cakes for each patient.
“In the beginning we were buying them,” explained Sarah Lynch, infusion scheduler since 2015.
Stroud and the bakery didn’t know who was getting the cakes, but after noticing how often oncology nurses were coming to the bakery for a 6-inch cake, he asked them why they needed so many cakes.
Once he learned the reason, Stroud offered to donate the cakes, and that’s how it’s been ever since.
“When you finish chemo it’s kind of a rebirth and you look at things differently,” Stroud said. “It’s something we’ve dealt with before and something we wanted to do for the community.”
Even though Stroud has never been present at IU Health when a cancer patient rings the bell and gets one of his cakes, he said he often thinks of those patients he will never meet and pictures the tremendous joy they feel, and just maybe the cake makes the moment a little sweeter.
Because Stroud doesn’t want a patient to ever miss getting a cake, when the bakery closes for vacations, he has cakes made ahead of time.
“We know that treatments don’t stop when we’re on vacation. Because people will be will be finishing their treatment, we want to make sure they have the cakes,” Stroud said.
Lynch said the oncology staff tries to give Magic Morning advance notice of when they’ll need a cake, but treatment schedules can fluctuate, or perhaps a treatment has to end sooner than expected. Lynch said Magic Morning can always have a cake ready, even on short notice.
The number of patients who finish treatment each month can vary, but Lynch said seeing two or three cake boxes stacked up and waiting for patients, is always a welcome sight.
The infusion center sees about 30 patients a day; about half of them are there for chemotherapy. For some patients, chemo/radiation can take six weeks, six months or a year. Reaching the end of treatment is a huge milestone in a patient’s journey.
Magic Morning also takes time to find out if the patient has a favorite color, a special interest — they once decorated a cake with a horse theme for a patient who loved horses — and will substitute a smiley face cookie cake if they don’t like cake.
“Sometimes, when a patient is struggling or it’s their birthday, we’ll surprise them with a cake as a pick me up,” Lynch said. “They’ve made so many great cakes for us.”
The moment a cancer patient rings the bell signaling the end of treatment, it’s a time of joyous celebration, usually surrounded by oncology staff, family and friends. But during the time of COVID, family and friends have not been present. Lynch said being able to do something special, like present the patient with a cake, has become even more important.
“In oncology, our patients feel like close friends and family. We cheer them on and cry with them because we’ve seen the roller coaster of ups and downs,” she said. “During COVID, it’s been difficult because they can’t have family come, but we all rally and try to make a good memory for them.”
Stroud hasn’t kept count of how many cakes the bakery has made for cancer patients. But after nearly five years of donating cakes, Lynch said the staff felt it was time to recognize Stroud and the bakery for their efforts.
“It’s a little cake that makes a big impact,” she said. “Celebrating the last day of chemo is a special day for a patient and a moment they remember. I feel like having that cake signify the completion is a nice closure to that moment. A cake makes everyone smile.”