Gravesend gals sell cupcakes for a cause

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There’s nothing half-baked about Ashley Gentile and Jeannie El-Maadawy plan to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis.

The Gravesend residents will host a block-wide bake sale ‘bizarre’ on April 11 on West Fifth Street between Avenues U and T to help raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which will be hosting the “Walk MS” on Staten Island and Manhattan the following weekend.

“A lot of people in the neighborhood have been giving us stuff to sell,” said El-Maadawy. “It’s more than a bake sale. It’s a bazaar,”

Gentile and El-Maadawy initially raised money for Walk MS by selling candy bars while working at Ciccio’s Pizza on Avenue U off West Fifth Street. After collecting $120, they decided to organize a larger — and hopefully more profitable — candy sale.

“We went from having two tables in front of the pizzeria to the entire block being involved,” Gentile explained.

“Everybody was so excited and so willing to do whatever they can. It’s bigger than what we expected,” El-Maadawy said.

With the cousins baking cookies and cakes — some nearby stores have donated cash while others offered grub for the bake sale.

“There will be buffalo wings and rice balls, danishes and muffins. This neighborhood is very good about donating, especially bakeries and the meat stores,” Gentile said.

When approaching merchants, Gentile and El-Maadawy discovered that many Brooklynites have been affected by MS, a chronic disease attacking the central nervous system, and are eager to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The organization funds research and provides services to people living with the disease.

“People tell us their friend has it or their cousin’s sister has it. A lot of people know someone with it. It’s sad,” El-Maadawy said.

“We don’t know anybody with MS but we want to do the walk and it’s for a good cause,” Gentile said.

The women don’t limit their charitable work to MS.

Last year, they participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk to raise money for breast cancer research. They collected $1,500.

“This isn’t our first walk and it’s not going to be our last. The next is going to be for autism and then leukemia,” Gentile said. “We want to help.”

Stop by the bake sale from noon to 4 pm.

To donate to Walk MS, call Ciccio’s at (718) 372-9695 or visit

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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