TORONTO — For Amanda Belzowski, having a lemonade stand is more than just a fun way to earn some spending money – it’s a way to save lives.
To date, 10-year-old Amanda has raised almost $60,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation through her annual lemonade stands. She hopes to raise $100,000 this year, her 10th anniversary event.
Amanda Belzowski, who is organizing her 10th annual Lemonade Stand fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, with magician David Copperfield
Amanda said she was inspired to get involved with the Heart and Stroke Foundation because her grandmother and great-grandfather both received artificial heart valves, and she wants to help others affected by heart disease and stroke.
Her great-grandfather, David (Puppy) Dale, was counting down the days to Amanda’s 10th lemonade stand this May, but he died in December. “I want to raise $100,000 for my great-grandfather,” Amanda says. “It’s a lot, but I’m doing it.”
Heart and stroke conditions affect everyone, including kids, with one in 100 kids diagnosed with heart disease, the fifth-grade United Synagogue Day School student says.
This year will be the second that 100 per cent of her lemonade-stand profits will be going directly to pediatric heart and stroke research. Her mom, Lisa, says that much of the research is being done at the Hospital for Sick Children.
Amanda hopes that a group of kids from SickKids with heart problems or stroke will be able to come to her lemonade stand this year. “It’s a lot of fun,” she says.
The fundraiser will be better than ever, with Lionel’s Pony Farm rides; a Dan the Music Man concert; crafts from World Star Entertainment; Richtree Market Restaurant pizza; corn on the cob by cornonthecob.ca; Mini Melt’s ice cream; and lots of food (and of course, lemonade) donated by Dominion. Actors from YTV’s upcoming movie King of the Camp will be on hand to sign autographs and give out free CDs.
Amanda is excited about this year’s auction items, including special packages from Donald Trump, whom Amanda met last year; Toronto Argonauts CEO Michael (Pinball) Clemens, who may attend the event; and David Copperfield. The magician has donated tickets to his secret warehouse in Las Vegas, with a backstage tour and meet-and-greet included. Collectables from the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Raptors, and Animation Connection will also be among the auction items.
Amanda expects hundreds of people to come out this year, as they did last time, and says “every cent counts.” But $100,000 is a lot of money, and so far, everything Amanda has raised has been without corporate sponsorship.
“I really need corporate sponsors this year,” she says. “If they call, I’ll set up a business meeting. I really like to do those.”
Amanda offers advertising for businesses on her flyers, website and banner. Organizations, or individuals, can donate online at www.lemonade4heart.org and can sponsor Amanda for the June 1 Ride for Heart and Stroke through her website, too. Her e-mail address is amandaslemonade@sympatico.
ca. Tax receipts for donations are available.
Amanda’s efforts have been met by tremendous support from the community, says her mom, who wanted to teach her children to help when they can. “A part of the Jewish upbringing is to give back.”
Amanda’s two-year-old brother, Joshua, will be helping out as her apprentice, but she is not too sure how that will work out. “Last year, all he did was eat the profit – he ate all the cookies. This year, he’ll probably do the same thing, but I’m urging him not to.”
For Amanda, the most important thing is “fixing kids whose hearts are broken one glass of lemonade at a time,” she says. “This year, I want to do it one gallon at a time.”
Amanda’s 10th Anniversary Lemonade Stand takes place May 4, 11 a.m to 2 p.m., at 10 Brian Cliff Dr., in the Lawrence Avenue and Leslie Street area.