Inspiring Lives Magazine Spring 2017: Issue 4 - Page 78

78 INSPIRING LIVES SPRING 2017 Photo: “One in 20 children under the age of five now has food allergies. Wheat, eggs, and peanuts are among the eight most common, so what I offer covers a lot of bases for a lot of people. I think one of the hardest things for me is when someone requests something that I can’t avoid. I can’t avoid soy. I just can’t. As a parent of a child with life-threatening food allergies, I know the day-to- day struggle is real, and when you can find something that s extra special for your child, that’s huge.” Since 2008, Madalyn has been joined in the Burn- heimer family by two younger sisters, Leah and Mya, neither of whom have life-threatening allergies. Another aspect of Frosted Envy is giving back. The struggles the Burnheimer family continues to endure are fresh in Cathy’s mind. They aren’t able to eat at a restaurant or travel like an average family. Their choices are extremely limited and any decisions take extensive research and planning. Having anyone else cook is a risk because touching one wrong ingredient without washing hands could be lethal to Madalyn. The family specifi- cally moved into Avonworth School District north of Pittsburgh for the accommodations and assistance they were able to provide to keep Madalyn safe. Burnheimer is aware that her family has been fortunate, and in turn, she makes sure she gives to others. “It’s made me a much more compassionate person. I volunteer so much more. I donate a lot of stuff from the bakery. I take cupcakes down to Light of Life, I donate a lot of gift certificates to charity events. I try to donate at least five cakes every year to charity events, which is ac- tually very cool because I’ve met a lot of celebrities. And in my personal life, I went into WalMart and paid on someone’s layaway. I try to adopt a family each Christ- mas and buy their Christmas gifts for them.” She also volunteers for an organization called Icing Smiles, which allows her to make cakes for children who are severely or even terminally ill, as well as their sib- lings. She is very proud of her work with the charity and is happy to donate her time to such a worthy cause. “You get attached to these families,” Burnheimer explained tearfully. (One of the children she helped had passed away from brain cancer the day before this interview.) Frosted Envy itself has gone from a business of simple cakes and fondant to lifelike masterpieces. No matter the circumstances, Burnheimer chooses to stay humble and positive. “You need to have a lot of gratitude. No matter how bad your life situation is, it’s still important to give thanks because when you put out positive energy, more positive energy comes back to you. If you put out negative energy, negative is going to come to you. One of the big things I always try to tell people is to focus on the positive and be thankful for what’s going right. Once you’re thankful for what’s going right, more right will come.” “So many people out there want to tell you what you can’t do, and you just have to say, even if you say it to yourself, ‘Their opinions don’t matter!’ You need to follow your dreams. You get one chance at life. This is it. So you can either sit on the sidelines, twiddle your thumbs, and think of all the things you wish you’d done, or take a risk. If you don’t do it, there’s a 100% chance that it’s not going to happen.” n