Have you heard about the children’s lemonade stand in Cincinnati that has raised over $200,000 for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital? It started out like any lemonade stand—mom Hillary Weidner and her three daughters, and mom Amanda Zerbe and her three sons teamed up for some classic summer fun over Labor Day. They raised $148, and the children had a wonderful and meaningful day presenting a special big check to the hospital. But the real magic happened when Hillary posted a photo about the stand and cause, and it went viral. We spoke to Hillary about this remarkable movement (to donate, you can simply Venmo @Hillary-Weidner), including her own daughter’s stay at the hospital.
How did the idea for the lemonade stand start?
It was all the Zerbe family’s idea! We just tagged along. They wanted to do an outdoor activity over Labor Day weekend but needed a break from the pool. We were so excited about the idea so tagged along with our three girls.
Love that a simple idea turned into this enormous drive! Your daughter Bea was born with a liver condition and was successfully treated (with you donating part of your own liver) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. How is she doing?
She is doing phenomenally well. Healthy, happy, and thriving! She is at the hospital for checkups regularly and does blood work pretty frequently too but overall—we couldn’t be more thrilled with how she is doing!
That’s fantastic. When you posted on Instagram, expect anything like this response?
We were shocked. We thought maybe we’d get a few donations from people but never thought it would have taken off like it did!
The photo of the kids with the check is so adorable. Did they understand why they were there?
They did. They knew that they had raised $148 at their lemonade stand and wanted to give it to the doctors to make kids healthy. It makes me tear up even writing that because sometimes I don’t think Bea even realizes that she was one of those sick kids. We are so fortunate with her health that we were all so thrilled to give—even just a little—to the hospital.
Such an amazing moment. Are there any others that stand out a particularly “pinch me” moment?
Yes! When Andy Cohen said he was giving us $5,000 towards our lemonade stand! We were so excited and shocked. It felt good to get a large donation but we were also so happy we could use his name and say he donated—I believe it helped spark even more interest.
What’s next for the lemonade stand?
We will forever be taking donations for team lemonAID but we may have more of a concentrated effort again next year. When this started taking off, our goal was to raise $50,000 in honor of Bea’s 5 year LIVERversary coming up on July 7th, 2020. We are now at $187,000 and can’t imagine a better way to give back to the hospital that gave us so much.
We’re so happy for you and in awe of what you’ve accomplished. Do you have any advice for moms going through health crises with their own children?
Remain positive and challenge those around you. My husband and I made a conscious effort to remain positive throughout Bea’s diagnosis, wait for her liver, surgery, recovery, etc. If we had a “not so positive” conversation—we made sure it was out of the room where Bea was. We wanted her to feel nothing but positivity and I think she fed off of those feelings and did better because of it. I would also tell parents to challenge the doctors around you. Yes, they typically know the answers to everything medically but YOU know your child. Advocate for them, challenge new ways of thinking, and make sure you are a part of their care plan—I swear it’ll lead to better outcomes.
To contribute to this amazing cause, Venmo @Hillary-Weidner.