Families across Kitchissippi are putting the squeeze on cancer

Lindsay Firestone and Julie Findlay have discovered the secret ingredient of fundraising. Photo by Rebecca Peng.

Saturday, June 21 is the second annual Great Canadian Lemonade Standemonium. Hosted by the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, kids across the city will be setting up their very own lemonade stands, all to raise money for local cancer care.

Woodroffe parent, Julie Findlay, the main organizer of this year’s event, and McKellar Park’s Lindsay Firestone, who spearheaded last year’s campaign, are both full of enthusiasm for the project. “It really kicks off summer and wraps up school,” Findlay explains. More than that, the Lemonade Standemonium weaves together awareness and pure fun. “Everybody in the world wants to do a lemonade stand,” adds Firestone.

The classic lemonade stand is alive and well, and proven to be an effective moneymaker. Over 200 kids participated last year.

“It was amazing to see so many kids out across the city who were so aware of what they were doing,” says Firestone. “They were fully aware they were helping other kids and they all got excited, making their own lemonade, or making it a different colour, or making cookies, whatever they could do to make it fun. They were just so excited to be giving back.”

When her children, Jack and Lola (who, respectively, ran lemonade stands named Lemonade Legends and Princess Lemonade last year) talk about their experience, they’re modest about the impact they’ve had. “I think my stand raised about seventy dollars,” guesses Jack. In reality, his stand, which he manned with eight of his friends, raised over $1,000 and, all together, Ottawa kids raised over $53,000 to support regional research and care for cancer patients.

Champion fundraisers Ellie (4), Jack (9), and Lola (7) at John’s Family Diner, a supporter of the Great Canadian Lemonade Standemonium. Photo by Rebecca Peng.

“There are a lot of kids who are affected by cancer,” notes Findlay, “whether it’s through their families or they’ve lost someone to cancer.”

The Great Canadian Lemonade Standemonium is about raising awareness as well as funds, educating kids both about cancer and about the ways they can change their community for the better. It’s also a day that Firestone’s children describe as “one of the most fun days” they had all summer.

With the goal of rallying as much support as they can, kids get creative, setting up shop by farmer’s markets, community centres, local businesses, or just in their neighbourhoods. “It’s going from a lemonade stand event to a ‘let’s just have fun in the summer’ day,” Findlay says. The 21st is a day that’s becoming greatly anticipated in classrooms throughout the city, as school days begin to wane.

As the countdown to Great Canadian Lemonade Standemonium Day gets underway, Findlay’s current focus is motivating kids and families to get involved, register online, and start thinking about their stands.  On the day of, however, she and Firestone will be in a different seat: the driver’s. “We have a big truck and we’re going to be driving around to all the stands with a little surprise for all the lemonade standers.”

In their eyes, the success of the campaign is just another reflection of Ottawa’s great community. Last year, their kids set up their stand outside John’s Family Diner on Wellington. The restaurant will be participating this year as well. “They were so excited. They jumped on it,” Findlay smiles. “If you just ask, people want to get involved.”

For more information about setting up your own stand, go to ottawacancer.ca/Lemonade.aspx. If you can’t host a stand of your own, stop by a lemonade stand and enjoy a glass! Find the closest one to you at ottawacancer.ca

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