At age 8, Lilly Bumpus is already a warrior. As an infant, she took on rare Ewing’s Sarcoma and won.
The experience left her determined to take up the battle for other children fighting cancer. Her dream? To show them they, too can be strong.
This year, Lilly took a huge step forward in making that dream come true by breaking the record for selling the most boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in a single season—32,484, to be exact.
Now that’s a lot of dough.
The victory is especially sweet because Lilly will be donating a huge chunk of the proceeds to fund childhood cancer research and to an organization that feeds the homeless.
“She showed our community and the world it’s more than just buying cookies or buying a product,” Lilly’s mother, Trish Bauer, told The San Bernardino Sun.
“It’s supporting someone’s dream. Whether it’s a business owner or an 8-year-old girl slinging Girl Scout cookies, Lilly encouraged people to support a dream and a mission, not just a product.”
While the pandemic effectively derailed most of the Girl Scouts’ conventional in-person selling strategies, Lilly’s role as cancer awareness advocate had already put her on the social media fast track, so becoming something of an online brand ambassador was a piece of cake—or cookie—for her.
Lilly’s regular posts to her Facebook page—in which she answered questions, dished her unedited cookie reviews, and detailed her philanthropic philosophy—paid off.
She also set up a curbside booth outside her house where she spent two months’ worth of afternoons. One day, toward the end of the season, her mom reports that she and Lilly “boothed” for 11 hours straight, selling 500 boxes.
But Lilly didn’t just conquer America, she conquered the world. In addition to selling cookies in all 50 states, her customer base spans Canada, England, Spain, Paris, Rome, and as far away as Egypt. Bauer was blown away by the widespread support. “[The world] is showing my 8-year-old cookie-hustling cancer survivor that together we can and will end cancer,” she posted to Facebook. “That nothing is impossible when you make it possible!”
To Lilly, the logic behind her global success is more simple: “The world hates cancer just like we do mom. It’s time for us all to work together to end it! End it for once and for all.”
Considering that Lilly and her family were the driving force behind the Team Lilly Foundation, an organization that offered financial supported and created holiday care packages for hospitalized kids across the country, it only makes sense that in addition to the cookies she sold, Lilly also collected 5,200 cookie boxes to be donated to a variety of worthy causes.
The tasty stash is set to be divvied up between the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County—as well as pediatric patients New York and Texas cancer facilities, U.S. troops overseas, and the homeless.
The other girls in Lilly’s San Bernardino troop share one thing in common—cancer. Whether they’re survivors like Lilly, currently fighting, or have lost a family member to the disease, it’s a special bond that makes their shared achievements all the more meaningful.
“It feels like the world believes in me and it feels really good,” Lilly told the San Bernardino Sun. “It means so much to me that people are coming to support me by buying cookies…. The reason I wanted to beat the record is because I wanted to help all kinds of Girl Scouts in the world and tell them they can do it just like I did… I just wanted to be inspiring. I wanted to help.”