BELMAR/LAKE COMO, NJ — What happens when you mix lemonade with a whole lotta love? A successful fundraiser for a 13-year-old Belmar girl who has begun treatment for a rare form of cancer.
Belmar Elementary School classmates of Jackie Minchala raised nearly $7,200 by setting up two lemonade stands — at the Lake Como gazebo on North Boulevard and in front of 215 17th Avenue in Belmar — just blocks from the Belmar beach on Saturday, September 5.
Both groups of eighth-graders spent the entire day selling lemonade and bottled water to the hundreds of people who passed their way, and they even received a visit from Jackie and her twin sister, Kathy.
“We want to thank everyone that took the time today to come out and let our kids pour some lemonade or hand you a bottle of water for your donation,” said Kimberly Chek, one of the mothers who helped organize the event. “Everyone was so generous, so kind and so loving. These kids worked hard all day and finally felt empowered that they could, in some way, help Jackie, (other than being present for her each and every day). They could not have done this without all of you.”
Jackie’s visit with her friends at both lemonade stands came just four days after she began her first round of chemotherapy to treat rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that forms in soft tissue and is most common in children. Now in stage 4, the disease has spread to several part of Jackie’s body and is inoperable, according to a GoFundMe page set up by her sister, Maria f. Nieto Ramirez.
“Although (the chemotherapy) hit her pretty hard, she is a champ and wants to quickly recover and feel herself again,” Ramirez said, adding that she particularly wants to get back to making videos for her YouTube Channel.
“This is something she wants to continue doing through her chemo, which will go on for 42 weeks,” Ramirez said. “Hopefully as we gather the funds, she will start immunotherapy at the end of the month. We are all extremely happy and thankful for all the support. This is what keeps us going.”
The donations from the lemonade stand effort will help pay for treatments not covered by her medical insurance, including immunotherapy, which Ramirez explained works in conjunction with chemotherapy to “activate specific immune cells and to help cope with the side effects of intensive chemotherapy."
She also plans to use functional and integrative medicine as complementary treatment, including physical, emotional, detox, nutrition, cellular, neurological and bioenergetic therapies, Ramirez said.
So far, the GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $57,000 of its $100,000 goal through donations from some 750 individuals.
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