By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

UPDATE: As of May 18, the lemonade stands have made a combined $10,550.67 in funds raised.

It began with a lemonade stand.

When Sam Houston Elementary School teacher Kelli Armstrong shared a story about a lemonade stand with her 2018 fourth grade class, it set in motion a benefit to help Corsicana students fighting cancer.

The class listened to the biography of Alex Scott, a young girl who had cancer from age four until her passing at age eight. During her life, Alex started her own lemonade stand as a way to raise funds for a cure. After hearing the story, Armstrong said the kids fell silent.

“It was truly a profound moment,” Armstrong said.

Inspired by the Alex’s journey, the fourth graders wanted to raise money for her cause, collecting $1,400 that year to donate to her foundation.

This year, Armstrong’s fourth grade class is setting up a lemonade stand from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 17 at Fannin Elementary, and Wednesday, May 18 at Sam Houston.

Lemonade is 50 cents and cookies will be $1. Donations are also accepted by scanning the QR code in the images below. The proceeds will help to raise funds for Avery and Yaretzi, fellow classmates who are both fighting brain tumors.

Yaretzi’s journey began in 2016. After several doctor visits, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017, and had three brain surgeries within nine days. With severe rehab, she fought for healing every day. With routine MRIs, it was discovered the tumor was growing back. This school year, she has had surgery and completed proton radiation treatments. Yaretzi and her family continue to rely on their faith for a complete recovery.

Avery is a second grade student at Fannin Elementary. She had surgery September of 2021 for a brain tumor called a Pilocytic Astrocytoma, and started chemotherapy in January. Avery will continue treatment once a week for 60 weeks. She is loved and adored by all who know her, and Fannin fights alongside Avery.

Armstrong remembers the 2019 lemonade stand that helped another young man during his time of need: Corsicana High School student Brenden Cofer, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“In that moment, my life was immediately impacted by meeting Brenden,” the teacher said. “It takes an amazing mother and child to show up for others during their own fight. I used to think the start of the lemonade stand was all by coincidence. I don’t think that anymore.”

That year’s lemonade stand raised $5,000 to help Cofer with treatment.

Cofer passed away in February of this year at the age of 20.

After a celebration of life for Cofer last March, Armstrong reflected on her time with the young man, and how the student lemonade stand impacts young lives.

“I remembered my purpose in this was to teach my students to support others in need,” she said. “We did that with Brenden. He was our celebrity. The Corsicana Tigers 2022 Lemonade Stand supports Yaretzi and Avery, but we will never forget and will always honor our Tiger Brenden Cofer.”

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