Liberty’s Krause Selflessly Sharing Her Sweet Success

The worst of times can bring out the best of people.

Liberty High School’s Peyton Krause has always had a passion for cooking and baking but now the senior softball catcher isn’t just fulfilling sweet tooth cravings all over the Valley, she’s helping a family friend in need.

The friend is nine year-old Luke Ozga, son of Heather Ozga, whose childhood friend is Peyton’s mom, Heather.

Last December, Luke was quickly escorted to a nearby hospital after experiencing extreme, and unexpected, shortness of breath at school.

Heather, who works in the medical field, initially thought her youngest son had double pneumonia until she noticed a number of doctors huddled nearby in discussion after examining Luke’s scans.

“They came over and let us know he had cancer,” Heather Ozga said to Sports360AZ.com. “He had a huge tumor on the front of his heart and it wrapped around the back of it. I was stunned…I just [told Luke], ‘You’re really sick but we’re going to get through this.'”

Luke was soon transferred to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and during his stay the rare cancer, Non Hodgkin’s T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, spread from his heart to his liver and into his kidneys.

While Luke’s long-term prognosis is positive, he’s experienced long, often painful, days.

“It would honestly be like driving up hills and back down them,” Luke explained to Sports360AZ.com when asked to describe his day-t0-day struggles as a young boy with cancer. “Bad days are hills and good days are down.”

Through the struggle, the Ozga’s have gotten help from the Krause’s and the before mentioned Peyton.

Although Peyton has barely met Luke, she decided to put her culinary skills to good use – baking an assortment of homemade desserts, including macaroons and cannolis – and donating all the proceeds raised from “Peyton’s Pastries” to Heather, a single mother of two, to help cover Luke’s medical expenses.

“I was making macaroons because that’s one of my favorite treats,” Peyton Krause said with a smile. “My family could not eat any more of them so one morning I just woke up and said, ‘What if we made money and donated it to Luke.'”

Since its recent inception, “Peyton’s Pastries” has been booming from word of mouth, as well as some well-placed Facebook promotions from mother, Heather Krause who delivers the treats to customers in and around the greater Phoenix area. 

During the pandemic, it wasn’t uncommon for Peyton to get up at dawn to bake, then go back to sleep while the macaroons “sat,” before spending several more hours in the kitchen fulfilling orders after she woke up again later in the morning.

The Ozga’s feel blessed to receive such a kind gesture from a long-time friend and her daughter, who’s only met Luke with a wave from her car after a trip from Krause’s home in north Peoria to the Ozga’s in southeast Chandler during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some friendships never die – including these two Heathers.

“I try to tell [Heather] once a week that not only is Peyton amazing but she’s done such an amazing job of raising her daughters,” Heather Ozga said. “To me, I hope to do just a quarter of what she’s done raising her daughters that my boys turn out something like that.” 

Something tells me they’re well on their way.

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.