LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (KOIN) — Ask Aaliyah Salgado what she loves to bake and she’ll tell you: “Cakes, cupcakes, all that stuff. That’s what I like to do.”
Though the 11-year-old isn’t able to use her arms to bake anymore she is quick with instructions for her mom. And she has a name picked out for the bakery she wants to have — Sweet Angels Bakery.
Her mom, Yesenia Salgado, said baking is “one of the things that takes a lot of her bad days and makes her feel a lot better.”
‘Sweet Angels Bakery’ will be inside Kyra’s Bake Shop in Lake Oswego from 3-5pm on Monday, April 24
Four years ago, Aaliyah began getting severe headaches. Tests showed a malignant, baseball-sized tumor at the base of her brain stem, the family said.
Since then, she’s had 10 surgeries, including 3 on her brain. The family said surgeons have only been able to remove 70% of the tumor because of its location connected to her spine.
But baking, her mom said, helps her when she’s had a really bad day. “She has a lot of headaches and she’s very sick,” Yesenia said.
Aaliyah is now in hospice care.
Derek Zinser heard about Aaliyah’s dream to own a bakery and he’s friends with the owner of Kyra’s Bake Shop in Lake Oswego. Zinser, the founder of Mascots for a Cure, helped bring Aaliyah’s dream to life.
“We remind kids that they’re kids first and not cancer patients,” Zinser told KOIN 6 News. He founded Mascots for a Cure after his dad died of cancer, “We’re letting her know she’s not alone in her fight. She has her family, her friends, she has strangers who are there for her. She has the Portland community behind her, so that’s why we’re inviting everyone to come out.”
Kyra Bussanich, a 4-time winner on Cupcake Wars, said she understands the passion Aaliyah has for baking.
“There’s just something about this story and this little girl and her dream to own a bake shop,” she said, “because I was that little girl. I wasn’t sick with brain cancer but I was that little girl when I was a kid.”
For 2 hours on April 24, the patio at Kyra’s Bake Shop will become Sweet Angels Bakery, with mini-cakes for sale in Aaliyah’s favorite flavor.
Bussanich said she thought it would “be really fun to do a strawberry angel bundt cake. It will be a dairy-free bundt cake with a strawberry glaze on top and then some royal icing angel wings on the side.”
“We’re going to hang a banner and there’s going to be a ribbon-cutting and she’s going to participate as if her bakery is coming to life,” Bussanich said.
She added the profits from this Sweet Angels bundt cake will go to Aaliyah’s family.
Yesenia Salgado said this is “a dream come true, mainly for her because that’s what she wants. She wants to have a bakery.”
She said she cried when she first heard of the plan. Aaliyah, she said, told her that if she couldn’t do a bakery “here, I’m going to do it in heaven. I’m going to have a bakery here or in heaven.”
Both Yesenia and her husband Sergio said this is a dream come true for Aaliyah as they cherish every sweet moment.
“We’re trying so hard to accomplish a lot of the dreams she has,” Yesenia said. “I’m blessed everyday that I have with her.”