Lily’s Lemonade for cancer caregivers
| Indianapolis—On the day before Christmas Eve, the infusion (chemotherapy) area of the IU Health Simon Cancer Center is very busy as patients receive their last treatment before the holidays. A seven-year-old girl name Lily Snyder pulls a red wagon around the infusion unit.
“Hi. My name is Lily. I raised money through a lemonade stand to buy care packages for caregivers.”
A first-grader at Kitley Elementary School in Franklin Township, Lily is spending the first day of her Christmas vacation handing out care packages to the friends and family of cancer patients at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center. Lily raised $605 in a one-day lemonade stand and garage sale at her grandparents’ home on the south side. Having spent time in waiting rooms as her father, Christian, undergoes treatment for cancer at the facility, the shy little girl and her mom Keri can easily relate.
“Lily was interested in having a lemonade stand to help people in need,” says Keri. “We discussed how much help we received about a year ago after my husband was diagnosed and the amazing generosity and kindness from all the hospital staff. So instead of giving a monetary donation or writing a check, we wanted her to see the impact of her efforts. We decided to focus not only on the patients but their caregivers- those who were like us- in the waiting room for hours and hours.”
Lily walks from room to room Monday morning, handing out 30 care packages containing a bottle of water, lemonade packet, snack, restaurant gift card and a list of nearby restaurants.
“I hope you get better,” Lily says as she hands away each gift.
“That’s pretty awesome,” says Ron Trump of Plainfield, Ind., who waited while his son Alan received treatment. “It’s a great learning experience for her since she wants to help.”
Lily also hands out care packages to patients. Some—visibly moved by Lily’s generosity and sweet nature—ask her for a hug. “You keep making that lemonade,” says one patient as her eyes filled with tears.
Most can’t help but smile at the little girl with her wagon and her speech.
“I thought it was adorable, she put a smile on my face,” says a patient named John.
As Lily made her last stop, she was smiling, too. Gone was her shyness; now an excited seven-year-old stepped through the door. She considered her favorite part of the visit: “Seeing their smiles,” she said.
Caregivers who sat with family undergoing treatment found the little girl delightful.
“It’s very admirable,” said Nicki Wesner of Bedford, Ind., as she waited with her husband, Alan. “It teaches her some good, core values and gives her something to think about while her dad is going through this.”
“You have a great Christmas!” Bill Taylor of Frankfort, Ind. called to Lily as she left her visit with Bill and his wife Helen. “I thought it was wonderful- it shows a lot of character,” remarked Bill. “She’ll be on Santa’s nice list- that’s for sure!”