For the Great Mills High School football team to succeed, coach Tyrone Bell knows he must instill a sense of belonging. Aaron Ware, his sophomore linebacker, may not be the biggest within this brotherhood, but his strength comes from understanding the power of family.
When Aaron was 6, his identical twin brother, Eric, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Three years later, Eric lost his battle with cancer.
After Eric's death, Aaron spiraled into despair. To help him recover physically and mentally, a doctor urged him to pursue a passion - anything to slip free from his sorrow.
"He was my best friend," Aaron said. "He was always there for me. I was there for him."
Aaron took that doctor's advice to heart - and stomach. As a new passion, he picked baking, specifically cookies. Baking was his therapy at first, but several years later, at the age of 15, it's his job.
His mother quit her job and cashed in her 401k to pay for a commercial kitchen, and now they run a full-fledged bakery out of their basement. The company, called Doughjangles, donates cookies and a portion of its profits to various cancer causes as a tribute to eric.
"I'm doing something I love, and that's what he wanted," Angela Ware, Aaron and Eric's mother, said.
The organizations that the Ware's and Doughjangles support include the Children's National Medical Center, Capitol Hospice and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Beyond that, from the deepest of loss of Aaron's young life, came the inspiration he needed to live on.
"If you are known as part of a pair and that other half is gone, you've lost half of your identity," Angela said. "I think it took him years to get to a place where he knew who he was."
For now, Aaron and his mother are busy trying to expand their baking business, but he's got bigger plans. Those plans include culinary school and owning his own restaurant in the future.