About 20 lemonade stands raised nearly $11,000 over two days to help a Thompson family pay for home renovations to make their house accessible to their young daughter, Emma Basting.
The first lemonade stand day was held in mid-July and raised slightly more than $5,700, while the second, which took place on Tuesday, Aug. 6, raised about $5,160, according to the event’s organizers.
Three-year-old Emma uses a wheelchair because of a spinal tumor that compressed her spine and paralyzed her from the waist down. According to Emma’s mother, Brandi Basting, Emma spent 16 months in a Minnesota hospital undergoing treatment before coming home.
But the family’s challenges did not end there.
“Emma fought cancer for so long and we never got to focus on what her paralysis will mean for her and what life will look like,” Basting said.
The Bastings live in an old farm house with narrow hallways and small rooms. Currently, their home is inaccessible for Emma, and the family is in the process of raising $75,000 to renovate the home. The family plans to install vinyl flooring, widen doorways, reconfigure the ground floor and move all bedrooms to the ground floor so Emma can use her wheelchair within the home.
“Getting the house so it’s at a point where it’s totally accessible for Emma will really change her life,” Basting said. “Right now, she basically sits on a makeshift bed in our living room all day other than when we get her up to move for therapy. But she’ll be able to get up and be mobile again, and it’ll really improve her life and her health and just allow her to be a kid again.”
Hope Dumas resonated with Emma’s story as she followed it on Facebook, so she decided to help raise money for Emma’s busy family with a lemonade stand.
She reached out to the Bastings and used word-of-mouth to gather more supporters to the cause. In between the Bastings own fundraising efforts, including a GoFundMe acount and the lemonade stands, about $60,000 of the $75,000 goal has been raised.
About 20 stands were set up on the July and August dates, and very few people set up stands on both days, Dumas said.
“It fills up my heart and my kids’, too. It’s been fun to teach my kids this lesson that, if everyone just gives a little, we can really do great things and make a difference for someone who's in need,” Dumas said. “The kids who don’t even know who Emma is. Once the moms told them about Emma, the kids just wanted to help her and have been asking how Emma has been doing.”
Basting said she is “totally overwhelmed” by the community’s support.
“God has big plans for (Emma),” Basting said. “Cancer is just a part of her story, and I don’t think her paralysis is going to define who she is. … She doesn’t see herself as any different than any other kid and we won’t, either. But she still has quite a long journey. ... She still has to work hard every day just to get stronger.”