A girl’s relationship with her mother is something special, as it provides young women the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons from someone they can also call a friend — skills and traits that help shape them through their teen years and into adulthood.

For Maddie and Sydney Weber those lessons ended far too early, as their mother, Bonnie Weber, died of breast cancer July 27, 2013.

The skills and personality traits Bonnie was able to instill in the two girls were put on display recently, as Maddie and Sydney baked 800 cupcakes to help raise money for two cancer-related charities.

Maddie, a student at the University of Iowa and the elder of the two girls explained, “We baked cupcakes to raise money for breast cancer research and Dance Marathon. I’m a student at the University of Iowa where I’m involved in the organization Dance Marathon, which supports and raises money for kids and their families who are battling pediatric cancer at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.”

Sydney is a junior at Cascade High School, and CHS juniors every year do a passion project, an opportunity for students to explore and develop a project that is based on their interests. “She never got to actually do her project because of school getting canceled, but her idea was to sell cupcakes at school to raise money for breast cancer research,” said Maddie.

When Maddie’s fundraising year kicked off for Dance Marathon, Maddie had the idea to bake and sell cupcakes. “When I called Sydney to tell her, she told me that was her idea for her passion project. I hadn’t known that, so we just kind of decided to do it together and split our profits for our two charities.”

In total, the bakers spent 20 hours making their peanut butter, Oreo, lemon and red velvet confections.

Both girls drew their inspiration from their mother. “Every time I bake cupcakes, it feels like she’s right there next to me,” Sydney said. “My mom loved to bake, so we definitely get our baking talents from her.”

Maddie concurred. “Yes, baking was something she loved to do and she was known for her cupcakes, so every time I make them, I definitely feel like it’s a way to honor her.”

And it wasn’t just the measuring of ingredients that stuck with the Weber girls. “She also taught us how to be kind people and how important it is to give back and help others,” Maddie said. “So I know she would have been super proud of us for doing this and giving to these charities to help others in need. She liked to bake for us and for other people all the time. She let us help her sometimes, but we were still pretty young, so I don’t think we were too much help. We were most helpful just being her taste-testers.”

Both girls can assure that yes, a person can get too much of a good thing. “For the first few days after baking I didn’t even wanna think about eating a cupcake,” said Maddie.

For Sydney, the proof might be in the pudding, but the fun is in the baking. “I had way too many cupcakes over the years that they are definitely not my first option of sweet,” she said. “I would much rather make them than eat them.”