In July, I lost someone very special to me: Cole Winnefeld. I met Cole when I started volunteering for an organization that helps kids and their families get cancer treatment in New York City. He was the first boy there who really let me in, to be his friend, and since day one, we shared a special bond over Legos, gaming and gadgets. He had stage IV neuroblastoma, and I loved being the one who could take him away from the hospital and doctors and allow him to feel like a kid again.

He was a brother to me for many years. In his words, I was R2-D2 he was C-3PO. Even as I watched him suffer, somehow, I was convinced he would always be here. In his sickest moments, after intense bouts of radiation, he would still smile, excited to see me—often giving me gifts, when he was the sick one. Cole’s family fought endlessly to help him get better, and watching their love for him changed me. They traveled to New York from their home in Indiana almost weekly, and spent many holidays in the hospital.

Now that he’s gone, we’re all doing everything we can to keep his memory alive. That’s why they started the Batcole Foundation, a non-profit that raises funds for research to develop new therapies for neuroblastoma and other pediatric cancers. I’m on the board of the organization. So if you’re looking for a place to donate this holiday season, please consider contributing to Batcole, and some of Cole’s favorite causes (see below). It would mean the world to me. 


Cole's Cats

Cole's Cats are those that have been injured, abused or in shelters for an extended length of time for adoption. We pay their adoption fees to ensure they go to a great home.

Band-Aid Drive

Cole had to endure at least twice weekly blood draws, as well as numerous port needle sticks throughout his six and a half years of treatment. One of the bright spots of his day was getting to pick out a Band-Aid that was decorated. We have started Cole's Band-Aid Binders to give to Cole's pediatrician's office in hopes of brightening up the days of sick kids!

Designed by Cole

Or my personal favorite, get your own BatCole shirt in his honor!

Cole’s Cookies

These chunky chocolate chip cookies are inspired by Tough Cookie Cole Winnefeld, an aspiring chef who has been fighting a brave battle with cancer since 2009. To honor Cole’s courageous fight, these sweet cookies feature his favorite color – yellow – on the bright ribbon and include a gift card sharing his story. 100 percent of the proceeds support childhood cancer research.