British Columbia

Maple Ridge boy's lemonade stand raises $24K for friend's surgery

A seven-year-old boy from Maple Ridge has raised $24,000 for his friend's expensive surgery thanks to a homemade lemonade stand and social media.

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, say kids who did

Brayden Grozdanich and Quinn Callender man their lemonade stand outside a grocery store on Sunday sporting, "when life hands you lemons..." T-shirts. (CBC)

A seven-year-old boy from Maple Ridge has raised $24,000 for his friend's expensive surgery thanks to a homemade lemonade stand and social media.

Quinn Callander set up a lemonade stand and with his parents' help advertising on social media, the donations have been pouring in.

Quinn said when he learned his friend Brayden Grozdanich needed expensive surgery in the U.S. that would cost $20,000 he wanted to help.

"When I got home, I wanted to tell my mommy and daddy that I wanted to do a lemonade stand to help raise money to help him," Quinn said.

The two friends share a moment.It's a busy day for lemonade sales, but there's always time for friends to hug. (CBC)

Brayden's right arm and leg have been affected by cerebral palsy, and he's been going through painful physiotherapy so he can walk.  But now, his father said, the boy needs surgery available in New Jersey that — if successful — could have him walking without braces.

Travis Grozdanich said a different type of surgery is available in Canada, but it could leave his son wheelchair bound.

"In Canada, the surgery is more invasive than it is in New Jersey," said Grozdanich. "In New Jersey, there's the possibility he'll be walking out the hospital that same day."

Community rallies behind children

On Sunday, the community was out in full force, including the fire department where Grozdanich works.

"It's a community," said firefighter Sean de Jersey. "We help all our friends, all our brothers."

The kids' lemonade stand attracted quite a crowd outside a local grocery story thanks to the community's support. Here the two friends pose with local firefighters. (CBC)

Still, Quinn's mom, Heather Roney, knew it would take more than just a lemonade stand to raise thousands of dollars for the surgery and travel costs.

"He built one out of cardboard, and I said let's think bigger than that," she said. "Let's go bigger. So I put a website together and put it on my Facebook. I shared it, and my friends shared it, and it took off from there." 

Already, through crowdfunding, it has raised the money for the surgery.

And it all started for one reason: "because he's my friend," said Quinn,  "and I want to be nice."

Brayden's surgery has  been scheduled for August.

Brayden Grozdanich and Quinn Callander on the job Sunday maintaining quality control. (CBC)

With files from the CBC's Meera Bains