Leading with Love: A Letter to Liam Witt on his Birthday

Leading with Love: A Letter to Liam Witt on his Birthday

Our co-founder Gretchen Witt shares a letter to her son Liam on his birthday.

Hi Buddy, Happy Birthday. Today is the day you made me a mommy. Today is the day my heart found out what it means to fall completely in love in a way I didn’t know was possible. And today we’ve had more birthdays apart than we had together. I still can’t believe it. Every birthday now is a measurement of time but now I measure that time with your sister as the benchmark. And this year is a big one – she’s graduating from high school. As I think about all the firsts I’ve experienced with her, I wonder about what your firsts would have been like. Who would you have become? Would you still be obsessed with cooking? Would you still be a prolific collector? Would you be as curious and inquisitive about everything and everyone? Would you be a protective older brother? Would you and Ella still be thicker than thieves? Would you be the older brother she calls for advice? Would you still make everyone you met feel special? Would you still walk with a swagger? Would you still like Jack Johnson? Would you have been to Hawaii by now to learn how to surf? So many what ifs.

We’ve tried our best to make a difference for other kids. We’ve tried our best to make you proud. It hasn’t been easy but when your intention is good, people recognize it and respond. People are smart. They know when you’re leading with love as the motivator. It has always been about the love.

What is so powerful to see is when kids who would be your age get involved because they’re moved to help others. It has been awe inspiring and in those kids, I see you. I see what could have been. I see what should have been. And I see a lot of love. If only it had been enough for you.

I promise you, my sweeter than sweet little boy, you made an impact. We know. We see it. You’d be happy but I know you….you’d want us to keep moving forward until every kid is helped. It’s what you’d expect. Every kid deserves a chance to grow up, dream big and explore their potential. I wonder who you would have been. It’s the wondering of what could have been that keeps us all motivated, especially me.

You are loved. You are missed. Forever and always. #LoveLikeLiam
I love you,

*Title Photo courtesy of Photographer Roland Bello.

Gretchen Witt is the co-founder of Cookies for Kids' Cancer and Mom to Liam and Ella. in 2007, Gretchen’s life took on a new challenge when her 2½-year-old son Liam was diagnosed with pediatric cancer, the number one disease killer of children in the United States. At the time, Liam’s indomitable spirit inspired her to raise funds for a promising new treatment in need of funding. In September 2008, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer launched as a year-round, national organization with the mission to raise funds for research to develop new, improved, and less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer.

Interested in getting involved? We can help. Click HERE to register your fundraising event.

Send Love Like Liam Tough Cookies. 100% of the proceeds benefits critical pediatric cancer research.


  • Happy Birthday Liam! I love seeing your photo and thinking about your sweet personality and all of the silly times we shared. I love you! Have a beautiful day and keep spreading your love! Always, Katherine

    Katherine Sall
  • I am so touched and moved by this letter of love that I will be making a donation to Cookies For Kids today. Thank you for your devotion to this cause, Gretchen. You are an incredible woman and I’m sure you are an incredible mom. Much love!

    Pam Hale

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published