Shrewsbury, Massachusetts – When Katie was just 2 years old, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Katie was a year into her treatment when her parents, Mike and Amy Randell formed a team to walk in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society walk. During a discussion of how to raise funds for the walk, Amy, Mike and some close friends agreed the fundraiser should be something that Katie could fully participate in and enjoy, and the idea of a lemonade stand at the Spirit of Shrewsbury (SOS) seemed perfect. Katie’s Lemonade Stand was born.
At the first “Katie’s Lemonade Stand” in 2009, Katie was 3 years old and in the midst of treatments and not feeling very well, yet she was happy to be making and serving lemonade.
That October, Katie decided the family would dress as clowns for a Halloween party at Sherry’s House in Worcester for the Why Me Foundation. Mike, a.k.a. DoDo the Clown, decided to learn how to make balloon animals for the kids at the party and has been making balloon animals ever since for cancer fighting charities and events, including at Katie’s Lemonade Stand (KLS). Each year, KLS raises money for a cancer-related cause or charity. So far, KLS has raised more than $2,400 and has donated to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, UMass Cancer Walk, Sherry’s House, and this year the proceeds will go to the place the Randell’s credit with saving their daughter’s life. “This year, Katie’s Lemonade Stand will be giving back to those who helped us the most – the UMass Pediatric Oncology Clinic,” Amy said. “We are so blessed to have such an amazing group of people taking care of our little girl. Every time we go to clinic, she has hugs for everyone. If there is any silver lining in all of this, these people are it. Not only were they administering chemotherapy to Kaitlyn throughout her two years in treatment, but also love, strength & hope to Mike & I. They have become part of our family now and we can’t imagine life without them. There is no way to thank them for all that they have done for us. They have literally held Kaitlyn’s life in their hands and we could not be more grateful to them. Please help us to make this the best year yet!”
Katie’s Lemonade Stand at the Spirit of Shrewsbury Oak Expo has become a special tradition for those involved with the stand. While it is a reminder of the struggle Katie and those who love her have been through, it is a way to help others and also now represents something to celebrate; October 15 will be 2 years since Katie finished treatment.
Katie, now 6, will be serving lemonade and snacks and DoDo the clown will be making balloon animals at Katie’s Lemonade Stand at the Spirit of Shrewsbury Oak Street Expo this Saturday, September 29 from 10-4.