Claire Kilga has had lemonade stands before, but today’s is different.
It’s her ninth birthday, and she’s raising money with about five friends to help find a cure for cancer.
“I want to really help fight cancer and find a way to kill it,” Claire said Friday.
Her grandpa, “Opa,” died from esophageal cancer in May 2011, the same year her second cousin lost a two-year battle with colon cancer.
“Opa and I did a lot of things together,” she remembered.
“He likes to take pictures a lot. He watches me play sports a lot,” she said.
Claire will donate today’s earnings from the stand to a national group, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which funds research to find a cure for childhood cancers.
It was founded by Alexandra Scott of Manchester, Conn., who raised money to help other sick children while she herself fought a type of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma. She died in 2004 at the age of 8.
The foundation accepts donations and lets supporters register and hold lemonade stands of their own – the way Alexandra started her fundraising. The group has brought in more than $55 million and has funded more than 250 research projects.
Claire’s mom, DeAnna Kilga, learned about the organization through her job as the high school principal of Washington’s Virtual Academies. She thought holding a lemonade stand would be a good fit for her daughter’s age group.
So far they’ve raised $320 of their $1,000 goal.
“We went online and it was really easy to set up an online page and start spreading the word,” DeAnna Kilga said. “If her friends can also see just how cool it is to help others, then I’m doing my job as a mom.”
Claire says her friends don’t mind being put to work.
“They also would like to help,” she said. “They’re proud of me.”
Claire and company will be at their lemonade stand from noon-3 p.m. today. Signs will direct traffic from Pearl Street to their cul-de-sac, off Pearl and North 31st streets.
Claire is all ready for the big day, though she said it was hard work. She made a checklist, got the OK from her neighbors and gathered her lemons and lemon juice.
Afterward, she’s heading straight to a pool party, which friends from her baseball team will attend.
Claire asked on the invitations that, instead of presents, the group help donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.alexis.krell@ thenewstribune.com 253-597-8268 blog.thenewstribune.com/crime/