GRAND FORKS — Lemonade stands sprang into operation across Grand Forks and East Grand Forks Tuesday, in support of 3-year-old Emma Basting, of Thompson.
Wheelchair-bound Emma has neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer affecting the spine. Though stable, the tumor is inoperable and she is paralyzed from the waist down. Her home requires extensive modifications in order for her to better get about. Her room needs to be brought down to the main floor, doorways must be widened and vinyl flooring needs to be installed so she can use her wheelchair inside. Ramps must be built at the home’s entrance and garage as well.
“It’s a little tiny farm house so doorways are really narrow, and she has no room to move,” said Hope Dumas, working a lemonade stand with her daughter, Halley, and friends of Emma’s family on South Ninth Street.
Amy Covington, who was also working the lemonade stand along with her husband, James, and daughters, Everly and Liv, said: “So far, we have $50 and some change.”
She said that business was good for only having been up and running for about an hour.
More than 20 such lemonade stands jumped into operation in Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, Thompson, Grand Forks Air Force Base, Thief River Falls and Jamestown -- all with the goal of raising money to support Emma.
Using Facebook helped Hope Dumas get the word out as well as good old-fashioned word of mouth, by talking to coworkers and friends.
“Our dad makes these lemonade stands and I just had this idea, because I wanted to get some kids in the community involved in a fun project and teach them how a small thing like a lemonade stand could raise lots of money and really help somebody in need,” she said.
Wearing a T-shirt with Emma’s name blazoned across the front, Dumas said” “People just really took the project and ran with it, and everybody has been really excited to teach their kids a good lesson about helping others.”
Emma returned home in February from the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, where she endured many procedures and illnesses, only to find that getting around at home was difficult in a wheelchair. Her parents, Brandi and Aaron, set up a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising enough money for the home renovations. MAK Construction in Grand Forks will be doing the work, which is expected to begin in August.
“You would think a little girl who has been through as much as Emma has would be not as active, but if you saw her, you’d never know what she’s been through,” Dumas said.