Lemonade stands on hot summer days are a tradition for many children in the U.S., but for one child in Seguin, her stand on Saturday was particularly special.
Sailor Parker, 5, was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2018, her mother, Megan Parker, said. This diagnosis prompted Sailor and her family to participate in Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a pediatric cancer charity.
“We decided to have a lemonade stand for Sailor to raise money for cancer awareness and you can choose what cancer you’d like to donate to and the foundation will distribute it as they see fit,” Megan said. “We chose leukemia because Sailor was diagnosed this past October.”
Sailor, who wants to be a chef when she grows up, made pink and yellow lemonade drinks herself, and hand baked lemonade flavored cookies for her patrons to enjoy.
When the community got wind, things became pretty busy, father Aaron Parker said.
“This morning, a bunch of folks from the police department came out,” he said. “Just suddenly, all these SUVs are turning onto the street, and we were like, ‘What’s going on?’ Before we knew it, police officers were shaking Sailor’s hand and getting lemonade and being very supportive.”
Aaron praised the Seguin community, which he said has helped his family since they moved to the city from San Angelo.
“The community spirit that’s here is really strong and, you know, people seem to feel really strongly about supporting this kind of stuff,” he said.
Sailor was beyond ecstatic about the response to her stand, Megan said.
“This morning she woke up in a fit of giggles, she was so excited,” she said. “She couldn’t wait to begin.”
She is usually a pretty shy child at first when meeting people, but that wasn’t the case Saturday, her mother said.
“While she was hosting her stand, people came up and she’s like, ‘What can I get you? How are you today? Would you like pink or yellow lemonade? Do you want a cookie?’ And it brought her out of her shell personality-wise. But it might have given her a job and a focus, which she thrives on, while at the same time knowing that it was to help kids like her.”
Sailor’s family heard about Alex’s Lemonade Stand from a support binder they received while at Dell’s Children Hospital in Austin and decided to participate.
“For the lemonade stand, we were just trying to think of activities for her to do. It’s been pretty isolating,” Megan said. “She hasn’t been able to go to school or interact with children. She’s missed that. We were just going to do a lemonade stand just for fun and then we thought, well, we may as well put those proceeds towards something that is important to us.”
The lemonade stand went well, Sailor said.
“It was really good,” she said. “I was really busy and it was fun.”
Leukemia hasn’t slowed the 5-year-old down. Her parents described her as a spunky kid who is brave and has a positive attitude. Aaron said despite being a picky eater, she enjoys cooking.
“Her favorite show is Master Chef Junior,” he said. “She likes to play through the judging experience where the kids present the food to the judges. She talks about the meal and she walks you through all the ingredients and everything. Then, you judge it and tell her what you think about it and how she did and where to improve, and then she just goes back to work.”
For those who missed Sailor’s lemonade stand on Saturday, there are still many ways to support her efforts of raising funds for cancer research and cures or organizations that assist the family during the trying times of battling the illness, Aaron said.
One way is by donating to the Ronald McDonald House. After Sailor was diagnosed, her family had to move closer to a treatment facility. This brought them to Seguin, where she is being treated at San Antonio Military Medical Center.
“We were a family that was displaced from our home to get her the initial treatment that she needed,” Aaron said. “To support families that are like that, that’s what Ronald McDonald house helps. It’s actual facilities for families to be in so they can — while they’re dealing with the stress and emotional toll of a child’s cancer diagnosis — have a home.”
Aaron also recommends donating to Children’s Oncology Group, an international organization dedicated to childhood cancer research and that gives guidance followed by almost all childhood cancer hospitals and pediatric oncology facilities, he said.
People also can donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Megan said. The nonprofit organization was founded by the parents of Alexandra “Alex” Scott in 2005, after she died of neuroblastoma at 14. The organization funds cancer research and supports families. Their “Lemonade Days” event ran from June 1 to June 9 and encouraged communities across the country to host simultaneous lemonade booths to stand against childhood cancer.
Those wishing to donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand can do so at www.alexslemonade.org. Donations may also be made to the Children’s Oncology Group at www.childrensoncologygroup.org and Ronald McDonald House at www.rmhc.org.