Inspiring Reason Behind 7-Year-Old's Lemonade Stand


Luke Engelman, 7, set up a lemonade stand this weekend to raise money for his mother’s cancer treatment. (Photo:

When 7-year-old Luke Engelman decided to set up a lemonade stand on Saturday, he wasn’t trying to raise money for a new bike or toy or even a trip to an amusement park. Instead, Luke, the oldest of four siblings, was hoping to raise funds for his mother’s next cancer treatment.

His mom, Lisa Engelman, was diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December, 2013. The Tigard, Ore., mom was 35 years old at the time. “She’s always been healthy and athletic — she’s a basketball coach and a PE teacher. And she’s a really healthy eater, so it was kind of a shock to us,” Stephen Engelman, Lisa’s husband and Luke’s dad, tells Yahoo Parenting. “Her form of cancer is not very common, but it’s very slow growing. My layman’s understanding is that when the cancer is slower growing the body doesn’t attack as hard, so chemo doesn’t work as well.”

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The Engelman family in November 2014, a year after Lisa was diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (Photo: Stephen Engelman) 

Lisa has undergone chemotherapy with no success, Stephen says, so she has decided to pursue more natural options. On Monday afternoon, she is leaving for the Hope 4 Cancer Institute in Mexico, where she will pursue natural-based therapies. “It will be IV-based natural treatments — vitamin C and ozone treatment and interesting other side therapies that add up to five or six hours a day,” Stephen says. The cost, however, is making things hard for the Engelman family. “We were able to use the equity of our home to finance this treatment, we can’t truly afford it. We need to raise the funds and not have that debt, since we already have debt from other treatments.”

Stephen says that he and his wife have been open with Luke, their oldest child, about Lisa’s illness and the financial strain. “He is very mature for his age, so we’ve talked to him about things like finances and what we need for mama’s care,” Stephen says. “He’s always been an entrepreneur and he just immediately said ‘I want to help.’ He has such a childlike faith and really believes he can do it, though I was more skeptical.”

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Luke prepared for his lemonade stand by creating fliers to hand out in his neighborhood. (Photo: Stephen Engelman)

Luke decided to run a lemonade stand for a day to contribute to his mother’s cancer care. “I just wanted to help my momma,” Luke tells Yahoo Parenting. He says the idea for a lemonade stand just “came to my head as I was going through the things I could do, and I told my mom, and I did it.”

The idea first occurred to Luke last month, and he spent nearly four weeks creating and distributing fliers at local stores and homes, he says. The family also posted about the stand, which was called “Luke’s Lemonade for Momma,” to their Facebook page.

On Saturday, Luke opened for business from 11 to 3, selling a cup of lemonade for $1 and bags of popcorn for $2. It was a long day, he says. “I had to pour lemonade for four hours! But I’m excited. I’m surprised at how much money we raised,” he says. 


Luke served lemonade to local firefighters, who stopped by for a refreshment and to show Luke their truck. (Photo: Stephen Engelman)

In total, the lemonade stand brought in $3,903. “It far exceeded my imagination,” Stephen says. “We were overwhelmed with how it did. The whole community really came out to support us.” The local firetruck even stopped by for a refreshment, he says.

That money will go towards the $58,500 the family is hoping to raise to help with Lisa’s treatments. They also have a YouCaring site, which has already raised more than $11,300, including the lemonade-stand funds.

Despite the overwhelming success of his latest venture, Luke isn’t done. He says he plans to hold a second lemonade stand, in front of a local restaurant, in the next couple of weeks.

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