PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Nathan and Olivia’s Lemonade Stand for St. Jude started with a pitcher of lemonade and a Little Tikes table.
Now, nine years later, it has raised well over $50,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
It’s in honor of Nathan Pennington, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013. He was just four years old.
With the help of neighbors, his family set up the first lemonade stand along the route of St. Jude Satellite runs.
Nathan lost his battle with cancer, but his 11-year-old sister Olivia and the rest of his family have kept the tradition going.
“To be able to continue it in his honor, his memory has just been a tremendous gift for us,” said Nathan’s mother, Julie Pennington. “To be able to hear his name spoken, to have people come back and say how he’s touched their lives.”
His sister, Olivia, said it is always an exciting day to see the support of family and friends.
“I know that he would be proud of me, just doing this, and I know that he would be just glad that I am giving back to the kids of St. Jude,” Olivia said.
Julie Pennington estimated Nathan’s cancer treatment cost millions but said her family never saw a bill.
She said raising money for St. Jude is how they pay it forward for other families. On Saturday, the Pennington family raised more than $11,000, and are still taking donations.