A baby battling leukemia in Minnesota will be honored in Turlock on Saturday with “Sweet London’s Lemonade,” a lemonade stand and bake sale fundraiser that aims to raise $1,000 for cancer research.
The story of London Andersen, who was diagnosed last year with infant leukemia at just three months old, caught the attention of Turlock resident Christy Lopez as she was scrolling through Facebook one day.
“I was on Facebook and all of the sudden I see this picture of this very cute little girl, but she had a port on her face which I learned is how she receives her chemo,” said Lopez.
“The more I learned about London, the more amazing she became,” continued Lopez. “This little girl would receive her chemotherapy treatments and be smiling and playing with her toes afterwards. She’s incredible.”
After reading Andersen’s story, it did not take long for Lopez to end up on the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation website to research how she could help raise money towards finding a cure for childhood cancer.
“I had a choice to either be another person to say, ‘oh I wish I could help’ and then do nothing because you just assume that you can’t do enough—or I could do what little bit I can,” said Lopez. “I decided that instead of just wishing I could do something that I would try to do something.”
Lopez recruited the help of her family to build and paint a lemonade stand and prepare baked goods and lemonade for the fundraiser.
“I came up with idea and called my family knowing that they would back me and support me because that’s the kind of family I come from,” said Lopez.
Relatives of Lopez also helped her secure the location for her stand today in front of Rainbow Fabrics, which will also be offering 50 percent off a customer’s entire purchase for that day if they stop by Lopez’s stand.
“We would like to thank Rainbow Fabrics, a family-owned business with excellent customer service for over 20 years, for their generosity,” said Lopez.
Andersen’s story is not the first brush of cancer for Lopez, whose aunt Vivian Ann Johnson was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma at the age of five years old. Shortly after the lymphosarcoma progressed to neuroblastoma when Johnson was six years old, she passed away.
“I didn’t know much about her, but I know that even on her sickest days she was always pleasant—smiling and giggling,” said Lopez. “So, I am happy to also do this fundraiser in memory for my aunt.”
Lopez also attributes her compassion for children to when she took care of her cousin’s son when she was 17 years old after he was diagnosed with an extremely rare neurological disorder, lissencephaly.
“I helped my cousin take care of him and took classes on how to take care of babies with seizures,” said Lopez. “He passed away when he was five years old and I still cry over him constantly.
“When something like that happens, it makes you painfully aware that although we always say that our children are perfect, they’re not,” continued Lopez. “They are vulnerable and delicate. They need us to protect them and advocate for them.”
The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation lemonade stand and bake sale in honor of Andersen and in memory of Johnson is schedule for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 100 West Main St.
All proceeds will go towards cancer research. To make a donation online, visit alexslemonade.org/mypage/1137512.