Grace Hanson — Little Entrepreneur, Big Heart

Entrepreneurship often begins at an early age and with a simple idea. Baking cupcakes was an activity that eight-year-old Grace Hanson initially did for fun, but then she decided she wanted to sell them to friends and neighbors. With the help of her mother, Liz, who built a portable cupcake stand, Grace was able to turn her love of baking into Grace’s Big Bake Shop. And even though Grace was born with a rare form of dwarfism called campomelic dysplasia, which affects her airway and her spine, it doesn’t affect her spirit.

Edge: How did Grace come up with the idea to have her own cupcake stand?

Liz: One of her nurses used to make wedding cakes, and she and Grace would make cupcakes for fun. Grace decided she wanted to sell them so we thought we’d make a stand and just put in our driveway, like a lemonade stand. We posted it on Grace’s Facebook page, and Andrea Abrahamson with the Elkhorn Optimist Club saw it and contacted us. She asked if Grace would like to sell cupcakes at their event to raise funds for the Buddy Benches at Elkhorn elementary schools. Grace agreed and decided we needed to make a sign for the stand, so she named it “Grace’s Big Bake Shop.”

Edge: How did it go at the fundraising event?

Liz: Great! She spent hours making cupcakes and cookies for the event and ended up selling out! Grace also decided to donate the money she made to the Elkhorn Optimist Club to go toward the Buddy Benches. She liked the idea of contributing to others.

Edge: Grace, what do you like best about making cupcakes?

Grace: I like being creative, giving the cupcakes to neighbors and friends, and having money to buy toys!

Edge: What else do you like to do for fun?

Grace: I like to play games on my iPad, watch You Tube, and I like funny movies. Minions is one of my favorites. And I love Disney princesses.

Liz: We’re going to Disney World for Grace’s Make-A-Wish trip this summer. We wanted her to be old enough to remember it, and she and her brothers, (Cole and Landon) have never been on a plane before.

Edge: What are you looking forward to most when you go to Disney World?

Grace: I can’t wait to see Princess Elena!

Liz: It’s great timing because Grace is doing so well right now. She’s had more than a dozen surgeries, her most recent was in February to repair rods that are helping to straighten her spine due to her severe kyphosis and scoliosis.

Edge: That doesn’t seem to slow her down. She is full of energy!

Liz: Grace is one of the most determined, strong, feisty people I know. When a kid has a long-term illness and that’s all they know, they learn to fight, and she always has a good attitude. Plus, she’s fearless. We took her tubing once and after that she begged us to water ski! But I am most proud of the fact that she’s so caring, loving, and thoughtful of others.

Grace: And don’t forget that I love Justin Bieber! I want to marry him someday. Can you send him a copy of this article?

Edge: We can certainly try.

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