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Published October 07, 2013, 10:00 PM

Cupcakes for a Cure: NDSU student bakes with intense passion for Bras on Broadway

FARGO - For Kayla Houchin, every cupcake is one step closer to a cure. The North Dakota State University student is raising money for the annual Bras on Broadway fundraiser the best way she knows: by combining her passion for humanity and talent for baking.

By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM

FARGO - For Kayla Houchin, every cupcake is one step closer to a cure.

The North Dakota State University student is raising money for the annual Bras on Broadway fundraiser the best way she knows: by combining her passion for humanity and talent for baking.

“For a long time I have thought you should use your talents to the best of your abilities … for good, of course,” says the 23-year-old.

Last year, her Cupcakes for a Cure effort raised about $4,000. This year, Houchin aims to raise $15,000, and set up her own online store to do so. She also sold her cupcakes at Thursday’s Brazaar event at the Fargo Civic Center.

Her vanilla almond or chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes, each adorned with a pink ribbon sugar cookie, sell for $5 each. She also offers pumpkin spice cake pops, larger sugar cookies, and extras like tags and cards.

Subtracting supply costs, she says about 70 percent of each $5 sale goes toward her hefty goal amount.

“I’m willing to bake literally for an entire month,” she says.

Breast cancer is a personal cause for Houchin, a Fessenden, N.D., native. Her mother, Toni, battled the disease when Kayla was in junior high.

Though the way she battled it was as if she didn’t have cancer, Houchin recalls, saying her mother rarely complained and never missed her children’s sporting events or activities. She’d leave home for chemotherapy appointments in Bismarck at 5 a.m., return home midmorning and go to work.

“She was so driven,” Houchin says.

The same could be said for Houchin as she churns out tray after tray of cupcakes.

Of course, the baking is on top of Houchin’s part-time jobs, volunteer hours through the Blue Key National Honor Society and studies in health and physical education – an ironic field, she acknowledges, given her penchant for baking.

Houchin baked a lot in high school, usually cheesecakes. She prepared desserts for a wedding when she was only 17.

In 2010, a friend asked Houchin to bake cupcakes for her wedding. Houchin said she didn’t know the first thing about cupcakes, but in her typical fashion, went for it. She likes to say she can learn as much from failure as success.

Karen Stoker, whose Hotel Donaldson is draped in bras each October for its Bras on Broadway event, says Houchin is a great example of how people in the community are doing things that resonate with them to support the breast cancer awareness cause.

This is the eighth year of Bras on Broadway, which last year raised nearly $140,000. The money is used to purchase gas cards for cancer patients in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

“Kayla is an energizer bunny,” Stoker says. “You can feel it and see it when you’re near her. She’s just really a go-getter with a big heart.

“She’s very entrepreneurial and resourceful. They’re beautiful cupcakes and they’re delicious, too,” she adds.

Houchin recently started working the front desk at the Hotel Donaldson.

“That says a lot about how impressed we are with her,” Stoker says. “I’m happy to have her on any team we have.”

Houchin says the positive responses she’s received to her Cupcakes for a Cure effort fill her with joy, but she’s quick to point out she’s not doing anything alone, giving most credit to the people who donate.

“It amazes me how giving people are,” Houchin says.

She imagines one day opening a bakery that would incorporate giving to causes her customers are passionate about. Houchin is especially concerned with clean water access and education issues.

People have told Houchin they find her inspiring, which she says is a little “ridiculous.” But, she accepts the compliment if it helps that person do good.

“If someone is inspired, they can do so much with it,” she says.

If you go

What: Eighth annual Bras on Broadway

When: Oct. 24

Where: Hotel Donaldson, 101

Info: Event is sold out. To donate, visit http://brasonbroadway.com

To order Cupcakes for a Cure, visit http://indulgence-cupcakes-fargo.myshopify.com/collections


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556

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