Disabled mom bakes to pay for son’s party

The fall social season is nearly here. Soon the calendar will fill with big, black-tie galas that raise lots of money for worthy causes.

This tiny fundraiser is not fancy. The attire is apron-and-oven-mitts.

Katherine Ramsey’s son’s birthday is coming up, the party he wants is not in the budget and she can’t work, so she turned to her kitchen.

“I cannot hold a job due to epilepsy and recent nerve damage from surgery,” she posted on a private neighborhood Facebook page recently. “What I can do physically and legally is bake. So for the next month I’ll be having a huge bake sale so my boy can have his party.”

Jo Ann Lanier Hammel was among Ramsey’s first customers. The two met up on the Marietta Square so Hammel could collect her order of scrumptious oatmeal, chocolate chip, and sugar cookies.

“I can buy them from the grocery store or I can buy them from you,” said Hammel, noting she’d rather help a neighbor in need.

Ramsey has worked retail and restaurant jobs in the past, but her physical limitations make it impossible to hold anything down for long. She cannot drive and must rest periodically during the day. The family gets by on her husband’s income, but medical bills mean there isn’t a lot of wiggle room.

Her son, Noah, hasn’t been into parties in the past but said he’d like one to celebrate turning 10, so Ramsey decided to find a way.

“At 41, I finally said, ‘I can’t take this anymore. I want to be able to do some things,’” Ramsey said during an interview. “This is one thing I can do. For so long, I’ve been a prisoner within myself because of what I have to experience. I’m in pain but I can’t let it interfere.”

She consulted Georgia’s Cottage Food Program, administered by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, to ensure she offered only sanctioned products such as breads, pastries and cookies. Noah, a fourth-grader at Burruss Elementary School, is thrilled at the prospect of being able to spend his big day with friends.

“I might want to go to Chuck E. Cheese,” he said. “We get to eat pizza and get toys. Maybe my friends from school and my cousins could come.”

He likes sugar cookies the best and enjoys helping his mom in the kitchen.

“I am proud of her,” he said.

After Ramsey’s story ran online last week, business picked up and she was able to earn enough money to put down a deposit on his party. Then the strain proved to be overwhelming.

“I’ve been having too much seizure activity and I just cannot afford to have another grand mal that my son is forced to watch,” she posted. “It is difficult for adults to watch a seizure, and so you can imagine what an impact it has on a child. I have to do all that I can so that he only witnesses these on a minimum basis.”

A little over a week after her fundraiser began, she had to stop taking orders. A few donors have come forward with contributions toward Noah’s party. They all wanted to remain anonymous.

“Please let the mother know there are folks out there who admire her for fighting through her infirmities,” one benefactor said.

Ramsey is grateful for those who bought her baked goods, sent donations or simply offered prayers.

“I am no longer taking orders but will deliver on all of my current ones this week,” she posted. “The stress to my body and brain has gotten the better of me. Again. I must go rest now.”