ESCONDIDO — The amount of work and hours that went into it was staggering — 96 cupcakes coming and going into and out of the oven every 20 minutes for at least two days, 25,000 cupcakes total, and all stacked to a height reaching more than 30-feet tall.
But in the end, what was really staggering to Zoe Sanchez Richardson, the woman behind the massive and potentially the world’s largest cupcake tower, was that there was still no cure for cancer.
But why cupcakes?
“Cupcakes signify birthdays for cancer patients,” Sanchez Richardson said. “And the American Cancer Society is known for giving cancer patients more birthdays with all their research that they’ve done throughout the years, so our whole thought was why not honor that and celebrate that.”
Sanchez Richardson is a stage 4 cancer fighter. She’s surpassed the time frame her doctor had given her.
For the mother of two sons, being told to get her final affairs in order was an experience she described only as “surreal.”
“I made the decision,” she said. “I could either have that pity party, where I’m just like, ‘oh, poor pitiful me,’… I made the decision — I’m going to fight the fight every single day and show people that regardless that I have cancer, I’m still very much a community activist, I’m going out there talking about cancer.”
Part of the reason behind the tower, besides helping to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, was to continue to raise awareness that despite all the cancer research being done, the unfortunate part is the “astronomical” growth of cancer in the community, she explained.
But maybe, with the tower, there was a little bit of wanting to leave a legacy behind for Sanchez Richardson, too.
After the cupcake tower was completed on Saturday, she and her son, Chris, took a scissor lift to the top and measured. The tally came in at 31-feet, 5-inches.
The plan is to submit the measurements, along with other materials to the Guinness World Records organization for verification that their tower is the tallest ever constructed yet.
On April 29, the Wafi Mall in Dubai became the most recent Guinness World Record holder for the tallest cupcake tower, which stood at 8 meters, or just over 26-feet, and contained about 8,000 cupcakes.
Sanchez Richardson’s son, Chris, 19, a Palomar College student that plans to transfer to UC Riverside to become an anesthesiologist, remembers when his mom first brought the idea of the tower up.
“Looking at pictures, it didn’t seem too hard at all. But then once we started, obviously — you don’t understand the severity — everything it takes to make 30-feet,” he said.
“She wants to leave a legacy, and I know that,” Chris said. “And that’s why we put up with all the crazy projects and ideas — I mean, a 30-foot cupcake tower? That’s crazy. But it makes her happy and if that’s what keeps her going, then we’ll keep doing it.”
For Sanchez Richardson’s husband, Jerry, he said the setting the record was important for one reason: “because it makes my wife happy, and whatever my wife does that makes her happy, is my goal in life.”
“We worked really, really hard at it,” Sanchez Richardson said of the tower. “We made sure we adhered to all the guidelines that Guinness said. But I think it’s important just for the fact to show, number one, what Escondido did — the little town of Escondido did this.”
After 27 years in remission, Tanya MacLeod, who was diagnosed with cancer nine different times and had surgeries for every one of them, she said, has become a steadfast friend with Sanchez Richardson.
What the tower represents, MacLeod said, was a showing that the community cares. “That we’re here for one another.”
The two friends, with many others, will be walking this weekend in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at Del Dios Middle School June 4.
Once the cupcakes were stacked and measured for verification purposes, they were sold off at $1 per dozen.