Kath Ryan is a four times Invictus Games veteran of a different kind.
Known as The Cake Lady, Ryan started the UK registered charity, Cakes 4 Casualties, nine years ago after a chance meeting with wounded warriors at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.
Ryan had baked a cake for her sister in hospital who promptly shared it with injured soldiers. They asked for more cakes and from their Cakes 4 Casualties was born.
The soldiers were transferred to Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre which Ryan visits monthly with a variety of freshly baked treats as well as weekly visits and deliveries to Selly Oak Hospital.
From butterfly cakes to chocolate brownies, to peanut butter biscuits, Ryan knows the favorites bakery treats for each soldier.
But Ryan delivers more than just cakes. As a retired nurse, she has a wonderful rapport with patients who sometimes need a friendly ear, a quiet word of encouragement or a hug.
“Baking favorite treats for wounded warriors plays a small part in their healing. Homemade butterfly cakes may elicit positive and powerful childhood memories – it reminds them of happier times and the warmth and nurturing of family and friends,” Ryan said.
She quipped that her bakery treats are calorie free – “they are simply filled with love and blessings.”
In Sydney, Ryan has been baking late into the night and up again before sunrise to ensure fresh treats for competitors. While her passion grew from helping UK wounded service men and women, she has cheered on all competing countries – “they are one big united family and together they are supporting each other.”
Over nine years, Ryan has become a great support for many UK recovering service men and women. She was been invited to their weddings and family events and it was a natural progression to be at inaugural 2014 Invictus Games in London to support competitors, cheering them on and with their favorite treats at the finish line.
From there she has attended and baked for competitors in Orlando, Florida USA, to Toronto, Canada last year and now Sydney. She is already planning for the Invictus Games Netherlands 2020 plus the forthcoming 11 November Remembrance Day activities that will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.
In Sydney, Ryan has become a mini media sensation after a chance interview pre-Games with a Sydney newspaper. Dressed in her trademark HMAS Cakes hat, UK flag patterned dress and beaming her wide smile, Ryan has captured the hearts and minds of Invictus competitors, family and friends and audiences.
“The volunteers at Invictus Games Sydney have been amazing. There is such a strong and positive vibe and energy. It is great to see the spirit of Invictus growing and reaching the hearts and minds of people around the world,” Ryan said. “Every little bit of support, fellowship and caring helps recovery – small steps matter.”
All funds donated to Cakes4Casualties are used for baking needs. Ryan’s trip to Sydney was funded by a private donor. To make a donation, go to https://app/public.cakes4casualties.co.uk/ or https://twitter.com/CakeLadyC4C
Invictus Games Sydney 2018
Pics – Cake Lady, Kath Ryan pictured with UK competitor Jeff Robinson whose favorite treat is a chocolate brownie.
The UK’s “Bulldog” Paul Guest (competitor in wheelchair basketball, tennis, power lifting and cycling) loves peanut butter cookies baked by Kath Ryan of Cakes 4 Casualties.