VAIL — Sometimes life gives you lemons — so 12-year-old Taylor Cave decided to set up a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to help people fighting cancer.
Taylor, who is entering seventh grade, has already donated more to cancer research and support than the vast majority of adults. The philanthropic-minded middle schooler from New York City has run a lemonade and snack stand in Vail, where she and her family spend summers, since she was in second grade. In previous years, she’s donated the money to the Susan B. Komen Foundation, conducted her own fundraising campaigns and even walked as the youngest pacesetter at the Foundation’s charity event.
For the Shaw Cancer Center
But this summer, she decided to donate proceeds from her stand to the Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards, where her grandmother, who lives in Vail, was treated for breast cancer several years ago. “Mimi” is fine now, but Taylor’s mother Shannon Cave said the entire family was touched by the care and attention they got at Shaw.
“When my mom was at Shaw, they made her feel like family. We were out here the whole summer taking care of her, and the people who worked there made it as nice an experience as it could be from such a horrifying experience,” said Shannon Cave. “Now Taylor’s older and can talk to my mom about it, so she wanted to give back to the place where she was treated.”
Taylor, who is joined by her 9-year-old brother James, and family friends Adelle, Julian and Gavin Dhanda, hopes to raise $1,000 by Labor Day through selling lemonade, water and popsicles. She’s already raised more than $600, and plans to put out the stand at least four or five more times before the summer is over. You can find them on sunny afternoons across from the entrance of the Vail Valley Medical Center, at the end of Meadow Drive.
“Lemonade for sale!” calls Taylor as people pass. “Support the Shaw Cancer Center!”
Julian and Gavin, both 10, ride their bikes around the cul-de-sac with cardboard signs affixed to the front that read “lemonade” and “popsicles.”
The Shaw Cancer Center has provided her with emblemed chapstick, stickers and daisy pots to give out to people who donate.
“The good thing is that we’re raising awareness. Even if they don’t have money, they see and learn about the Shaw Cancer Center,” said Taylor.
Learning by giving
Not surprisingly, the stand has been well received.
“We have people of all ages stopping by,” said the Cave’s babysitter, Sarah Steffensen. “Kids will come by with their own money to buy a lemonade, and many other people, when they see what we’re doing, will buy lemonade and leave the change.”
And where did Taylor get the idea? She came up with it herself, her mother says.
“It was her idea,” Shannon Cave said. “We made this stand three years ago and start with selling bottled water. She saw it at the farmers market, where they were selling water for quite a lot, and she said, ‘Hey, I can do that.’”
Taylor said the kids came out on the first day of sales, thinking they’d donate 75 percent of the proceeds.
“I had to convince them to give all of it at first,” she said. “But after our first day, they said, ‘Wow, we made $118. We should give all of it.’”
Shannon Cave said the experience has been a real lesson for the kids and that as a family they encourage the kids to be giving-minded.
“It’s a huge part of my husband’s and my life. It’s something she’s seen the family do. At this age, it’s a great way for her to do something that’s tangible. They met with the cancer center and talked about giving the money,” she said.
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.