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August 17, 2011

Preschooler’s lemonade stand to raise money for kids with cancer

By Jeremy Selweski
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Noah Kolar, 5, of Berkley, right, will be holding a lemonade stand during Berkley CruiseFest on Aug. 19 as a fundraiser for childhood cancer research. He was inspired by his sister, 2-year-old Lauren Kolar, left, who recently battled against neuroblastoma, a rare form of the disease.

When Noah Kolar learned that his sister, Lauren, had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, it hit him hard. He was worried for Lauren’s future and confused about how the deadly disease had managed to find her. Of all people on the planet, why her?

Lauren’s cancer soon went into remission, but Noah decided that he wanted to do something to help others like her whose life had suddenly been turned upside-down by a disease that kills more than half a million Americans each year. He sought to make a difference in the world, no matter how small.

Noah Kolar is 5 years old.

But Noah’s young age did not deter his passion to contribute in the fight against cancer. The Berkley resident, with help from his family, friends and some local businesses, began organizing a lemonade stand to be held during this year’s Berkley CruiseFest Aug. 19. All money raised from the stand will be donated to Cure Search, the fundraising arm of the Children’s Oncology Group, which aims to cure and prevent childhood and adolescent cancer.

Noah’s mom, Nora Kolar, was impressed by her son’s thoughtful gesture. “When he told me that he wanted to have a lemonade stand to raise money for kids with cancer, I felt so proud of him,” she said. “To me, that’s a remarkable concept for a 5-year-old to grasp. It really touched my heart to hear him say that. He’s such an amazing kid.”

Lauren Kolar, 2, was diagnosed last year with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that affects just 400 to 600 new children each year in the U.S. However, seven months later, after undergoing eight rounds of chemotherapy and a major surgery to remove a large tumor on her stomach, Lauren was pronounced cancer-free.

Noah is now hoping that the funds he raises at CruiseFest will help other children be just as lucky as his little sister. “This was my idea,” he said. “I’m going to give (kids) the money from the lemonade. I want to make them feel better because they’re sick.”

The lemonade stand will be in operation from 5-10 p.m. on Aug. 19 in front of the Marathon gas station at 3427 W. 12 Mile Road. Noah and his team of volunteers will come equipped with approximately 2,500 cups of lemonade and about 3,000 cookies.

According to Nora Kolar, the fundraiser has already proven to be a real team effort. Marathon will be providing the lemonade, she said, while Bagger Dave’s Legendary Burger Tavern is supplying all the cups. Meanwhile, parents and staff members at Sunny Skies Child Care in Huntington Woods — where Noah and Lauren both attend preschool — are making the cookies, and its students will be preparing signs and banners to direct traffic toward the lemonade stand.

“We just want to help out in any way we can,” said Brenda Silverman, director of Sunny Skies. “Lauren and Noah have been with our child care service ever since they were infants. Everyone here is so excited about helping them with this because they’re such a great family.”

Nora Kolar said that Lauren’s experiences with cancer have opened her family’s eyes to the disease’s widespread effects on children. She noted that 35 kids in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer every day, and seven of them do not survive. For Kolar, it’s statistics like these that show how every dollar raised by Cure Search and other like-minded organizations could make a difference in a child’s life.

“Our little slogan that we like to say is, ‘Don’t let friends fight cancer alone,’” she said. “No one should have to go through this all by themselves, so we just want them to know that we support them all the way.”

Residents who cannot make it out to Noah Kolar’s lemonade stand and bake sale on Aug. 19 can still contribute toward the cause. To make a donation, go to www.curesearchwalk.org/southeastmi, click on the William Beaumont Hospital group page and then the Lauren’s Angels team page.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jeremy Selweski at jSelweski@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5004.