GREENWICH VILLAGE — As a family friend prepared to undergo chemotherapy more than a decade ago, West Village resident Anne Marie Paolucci assembled a care package for her.
Gathering ginger tea, a meditation CD and anti-nausea medication, Paolucci knew how to help because she had gone through treatment for breast cancer herself, and had watched her mother and grandmother struggle with the disease.
Paolucci's friend was grateful for the help, and soon, with the encouragement of her friend's son, Paolucci created the Christopher Street nonprofit Chemo Comfort. For the past 10 years, the organization has made kits to help ease the side effects of chemotherapy and make patients more comfortable with feel-good items like sleep caps and warm socks.
To raise funds to create more soothing kits, two Greenwich Village cupcake shops will sell special treats from June 2 to 8, with proceeds benefiting the group.
Paolucci, 50, said the first-ever Cupcakes for Comfort event — coinciding with National Cancer Survivors Day on June 2 — is a fun way to support people dealing with illness.
“We have raised money for Chemo Comfort in many ways over the years, but none were as sweet and tasty as this," the 30-year Village resident and two-time breast cancer survivor said Tuesday.
The Seventh Avenue South shop House of Cupcakes, which opened in April, and the West Houston Street sweets outpost Ivy Bakery have custom-designed cupcakes in honor of Chemo Comfort. At Ivy Bakery, the treats will have chocolate cake and swirls of frosting in purple, which is one of the nonprofit's colors. House of Cupcakes will sell a vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting and the organization's logo.
The Lynbrook, Long Island, shop The Sweet Peace will also sell a cupcake to benefit the nonprofit.
Ivy Bakery owner Daniellan Louie said she supported Chemo Comfort, which is set to make about 600 kits this year, in honor of her aunt, Git Jing Li.
"My aunt, who was my mother figure, went through chemo and I'm glad to know that there is an organization out there that helps make everyday living easier for those fighting cancer," she said in a statement.
Chemo Comfort works with New York organizations including the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center on Canal Street and Staten Island University Hospital to distribute about 70 percent of its kits to low-income cancer patients free of charge. Kits are also available for a minimum donation of $15 by cancer patients and for a minimum donation of $65 as gifts.
Paolucci said she hopes the 18-by-12-inch care packages bring some peace of mind.
"No matter what your support network is, it's all a really lonely experience," she said. "The kit is from one survivor to another. It's about making a difficult journey that much easier."