Our Alex's Lemonade Stand was a huge success! Not only was it a success, it was an incredible experience for all of us. We each came home with some amazing stories and I can't wait to do it again next year! Our goal was to raise $500, and we ended up raising $1199.64! In just four hours, and with some online donations, we raised $1199.64!!! I couldn't believe it. It was such an empowering feeling, when I have had so many feelings of helplessness in all of this. I felt like we were truly fighting back, and it felt good.

I'd just like to share some of our experiences, so this post might be a bit long. I'll start with some pictures.

Brinley and Aunt Nancy at our stand. It started out chilly, but the day turned out to be absolutely beautiful, after a very cold week.

Our stand looked so great, thanks Danielle for doing the decorations!

We were able to set up at the upstairs entrance. Taylor and my sisters ran that stand. We had a lot of kids helping and they were all wonderful lemonade servers! A picture of all the kids would have been nice, I dropped the ball on that one.

We had a TON of traffic, it was a busy store. The store director was absolutely wonderful to us and everything just went perfectly.

I wasn't able to get everyone who helped in one picture, I regret not being able to do that, because we had so many wonderful people there helping us. I didn't ask one of them to help. They all approached me to help. We had more requests to help than we needed, I guess we'll have to go bigger next year! Thanks to everyone who participated, you are truly amazing, caring people.

Our little family!

Okay, are you ready for this? One of the highlights of the stand was being able to meet two people who actually DO the research for pediatric cancer! They have received grants from Alex's Lemonade Stand, and this doctor actually KNEW Alex! He used to live in Pennsylvania and was one of her doctors. He heard we were there and came asking to meet Brinley. She was in the bathroom, so he said he would wait. He had come to meet her and take a picture with her. So he waited, and when she came back he stooped down to talk to her. There was this man, this doctor, behind the scenes working every day to find a cure, stooped down face to face with one of the children he is fighting to save. Talk about a moment. What I would give for a picture of that moment. You could see without a doubt in the way he talked to my Brinley that it was more than a job for him. I wish I had taken a picture of the other lovely person who is doing research, who had the same passion in her eyes. I just didn't think of it in time. Heck, I wish I could have taken a picture of every single person who donated so you could see all of their faces. But here is a picture of Dr. Meeker with Brinley.

I want to share something I have been feeling, but I do have a purpose behind sharing this, so hang in there til the end please! While we were preparing this stand, several of us had talked about how disappointed we were. It seemed like people just didn't care. I guarantee you that many of the fliers we handed out went straight to the trash. Many of the businesses we asked for supply donations so we didn't have to pay for it ourselves said no. Some people, even friends of all of us involved, gave a polite smile when they were told about it and never thought about it again. I must admit I went into this with some disappointment in my heart.

Here's the good part. Now that the stand is over and after what I witnessed, I have a whole new outlook. It hasn't changed that some people just don't care. I get that. But some people do. I mean, really, truly DO care. And I got to meet them. If I could have, I would have swooped each one of them up, spun them around, and squished them until they begged me to let go. There's a picture for ya.

For example, I called Officemax to ask for copy donations, expecting the same turndown that I got from Office Depot, but instead the store manager said yes without batting an eyelash. He donated $110 in copies for our cause.

I sent in a request to the regional manager of Walgreens to donate some pictures for the stand, and he approved it the same day, his secretary telling me she wishes there was more they could do. I was able to print all the photos I needed.

The people involved with the stand and their family members donated money, paper products, and decoration supplies. The store director of Smith's Marketplace went above and beyond to help us. There was an outpouring of people at the stand who cared. Some of our friends and family drove anywhere from 30-90 minutes to buy a cup of lemonade. We met a childhood cancer survivor, people with someone in the family with childhood cancer, adult cancer survivors, doctors, nurses, and people who just plain old care about other people. All of us caring about the same cause. All of us working together to get cancer out of our lives. My point is that PEOPLE CARE! That was all I needed to see, that people care what my daughter is going through. People care about what other children are going through, in so many cases so much worse than what Brinley has experienced.

One of my favorite stories was at the stand upstairs. A man was lingering in the background for quite a while. Finally he said he was going out to his car to get his checkbook. He came back in and folded a check up to put in the donation bucket. He told my sister, Melanie, "it isn't much, but they have been sending me home from work every day, so I just don't have much to give." His check was for $1. He walked out to his car to get his checkbook so he could write a check for $1. I wonder what that dollar meant to him. I imagine it was a big sacrifice for him, enough for him to really contemplate donating it or not. I can tell you it meant the world to all of us involved. Incredible.

I absolutely cannot WAIT until next year when we can do it again. I just want to thank everyone who donated and helped. You mean the world to us, I would love to name you one by one but there are too many of you. You know who you are. I love you all and if my heart could explode from gratitude and love for you it would.


Unknown said...

Oh!Kristin thanks for put in words these wonderful experiences with the stand, is very uplifting to hear them, I am sure that the end of the day all of you feel enrich with the loving and generous "angels"that we have around!Grandma L

Ashley said...

Geez. I'm bawling right now. What an amazing experience for your family. I know it has come at a price but your children are seeing some pretty amazing examples of what people are capable and how much they are loved. Thanks for the reminder.

Kandice said...

Kristin, I'm so happy I got to meet you...finally!:) You guys did an amazing job with the stand. What an amazing experience for you guys to meet a doctor who actually does what you're raising money for...AMAZING!! Brinley is such a fighter and she looks great.
See ya soon!:)

Stacy said...

What a wonderful experience. I am so glad that everything went so well. Great Job everybody!

Unknown said...

WOW that is just awesome I am so glad it was a success.

Anonymous said...

What a great experience. I'm so glad you took the time to put this together and for all the wonderful people who helped you. How great that you were able to meet two of the doctors who are doind cancer research - and one who knew Alex - what are the chances of that! There are many wonderful and caring people who care about making the world better - even with one dollar at a time. I'm so happy that you got to meet some of the them.

jay said...

Great story, thanks for all you do to beat childhood cancer.

susi and adam said...

Wow.... thanks so much for sharing!!!! Love love love the post and I'm so glad you guys had such a wonderful experience!!!!

Sole said...

I couldn't read this without crying! I'm so happy and proud of your success with the stand and all the amazing experiences you had in just a few hours! I wish I could've been there! I love you guys so much and I look up to you, you are such great examples to me. Thank you so much for all you do, no just for my little Brinley, but for going the extra 10 miles for the cause!! I love you so much!

Ali said...

Through the moon for you. Thanks for taking a "stand" and doing something to save kids.

Melanie said...

Kristin, just think... all of this came about because of an inspired thought that came to you in your rocking chair, and because you had the courage to act on it. It really was an amazing thing to be a part of and to witness all the miracles. I'm also excited for next year!

Heather said...

I found an Alex's Lemonade bottle at the GW deli here in DC! I definitely looked twice at it and thought of you right away!

Congrats on raising awareness like woah!