Hopkins Community Rallies To Support Breast Cancer Walk For Amys Cupcake Shoppe Owner Amy Brace

The ‘Amy’s Squad’ 3-mile walk was held Oct. 30
When Amy Brace announced on Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe’s Facebook in October that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, the Hopkins community was quick to rally in support of her.

That support came in the form of words of encouragement as well as participation in a 3-mile walk dubbed “Amy’s Squad” beginning at the Hopkins shop on Oct. 30. Residents and friends who couldn’t participate in the walk even posted pictures walking the route on other days, still wanting to support Brace in any way they could.

“I couldn’t believe Jenn when she told me she was organizing a walk for me. Everything has been such a whirlwind since my diagnosis, so it was amazing to hear she was putting together (something) so uplifting and positive in such a time of uncertainty for me,” Brace wrote to the Sun Sailor. “She took it on full force and I know next year she has so many fun ideas! We had people from the community emailing asking if they could help in any way, and had the most amazing water/treat/rest stop put on by a resident, complete with balloons and chairs to rest, which my grandma definitely took advantage of. Danny McDonald and his wife, Jaclyn, at Insure with Danny also created a water stop at their location on Mainstreet.”

Brace’s mother, Beverly Napurski, called the whole event “emotional.”

“I don’t think she was expecting it to be that big of a turnout and it was an odd cross-section of all the people that you know. Some business people, some friends, some family … the different parts of your life all coming together in one place,” she said.

Turnout for the last-minute event ranged from people decked out in blue clothes and blue beanies.

“I wasn’t sure how I would feel, as it was shortly after my first round of chemo, but seeing everyone together brought me so much strength, and it carried me through the walk. I couldn’t believe the sea of blue that took over Hopkins on Oct. 30,” Brace said. “My heart is so full still, and I think of the people that showed up that day, and messaged, so often. The community has shown up with food, flowers, gift cards, messages, calls and so much more in the last couple months and (continues) to do so. I never imagined owning a cupcake shoppe would bring the relationships and opportunities that (it) has.”

Napurski said Brace has always supported different Hopkins groups, like the police and fire departments, Boy and Girl Scouts, and the Stages Theatre Company.

The day of the “Amy’s Squad” 3-mile walk in Hopkins on Oct. 30.

Submitted photo “They have a cupcake each month that $1 of each cupcake goes to an organization that they’re supporting that month and so I think she’s always giving back to the community, and I think the walk was their way of showing that they appreciate her and the shop,” she said.

The walk organizer, Jenn Muñoz, a friend of Brace’s and Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe’s administrative manager, put it together with Napurski in less than a month and reached out to the Hopkins Police Department to make sure it was even possible. A Hopkins Police Department patrol car even followed to keep participants safe.

“We wanted to provide Amy with so much love and support, to let her know that she can do this,” she said.

Word got out through Facebook, with an event page created to help rally community support and spread awareness.

Brace shared her diagnosis came after a check-up with her doctor she scheduled after seeing an abnormality on her left side in late September. After getting both a mammogram and an ultrasound, she had a biopsy that confirmed she had Stage 1B invasive ductal carcinoma.

“We decided on the most aggressive treatment because I am on the younger side of a breast cancer diagnosis and will have six chemo treatments, and they will be three weeks apart with my last chemo being Feb. 8. Then it will be a month of rest and then surgery in March,” she wrote. “I have had two chemo rounds so far and they have been very hard on my body, but hopefully that means it’s getting all the cancer everywhere! It’s been an adjustment not being able to see people like we typically do, and for sure not being able to be present at the shoppe like I normally am. My staff has just been so incredible, and gone above and beyond to help and make sure everything at the shoppe runs smoothly. They continue to impress me every day and I’m so thankful for them.”

Muñoz, who met Brace through Instagram back when she was living in California, knew her before the Hopkins shop was created. The two became virtual supporters of each other’s cake-making pursuits. One day, Brace asked Muñoz if she’d be interested in moving to Minnesota to work with her in creating a store-front. The idea behind Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe was already beginning, with Muñoz’s interest growing despite the idea of snow.

“Growing up in southern California, mind you, we used to see commercials every Christmas where Santa’s village, they would have fake snow and stuff, and we’d always want to go because we’d always tell my dad, ‘hey, we want to go see the snow’ and my dad would always say, ‘you want to see the snow? Stick your head in the freezer.’” She said with a laugh. “So up until moving to Minnesota, that was my experience of snow. But we came out, my husband and I came out, and my husband always says, he goes, the minute the plane was landing and we came out in May and everything was green and beautiful, he goes, ‘I knew this was it. I knew there was no saying no to this.’”

Muñoz now lives in Minnetonka with her husband and 3-year-old son, and has been with Brace since the shop started in 2016.

“Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe is such a vital part of the community… not only is she super inclusive, she just shares the love. She wants to be a part of the community. She wants to share in its triumphs. She wants to help when there’s difficulties. She really is, I feel like, Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe really is a pillar of Hopkins now,” she said.