When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, literally. A 5-year-old Ilion boy made lots of lemonade and it was all to help his big sister who is battling bone cancer.

Carter LaBella wanted to run his own lemonade stand. "It was all his idea," said Carter's mom Jessica. "He came to me out of the blue to ask. When I asked why he said he wanted to get money to buy medical stuff to help his sister Anna."

Anna has been battling Ewing’s Sarcoma since being diagnosed in July of 2019. She was cancer-free after going through treatment for about a year. "Unfortunately she relapsed in early 2021 and has continued to fight," said Jessica.

Credit - Jess LaBella
Credit - Jess LaBella
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Stand Donation

To help get Carter started, the owner of Squeezers Lemons Food Truck, William Balsamico, donated a bunch of supplies - flavored syrups, jugs to mix the lemonade in, and cups to serve it in. "We can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for us. We appreciate it so much."

Credit - Jessica LaBella
Credit - Jessica LaBella
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Taste Tests

Carter didn't just run the lemonade stand either. He made all the lemonade all by himself too. He even tasted the product to make sure it was good to sell. Looks like it got a big thumbs up.

Credit - Jessica LaBella
Credit - Jessica LaBella
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Raised

Carter wasn't the only one giving his lemonade a thumbs up. The community came out, on Saturday, May 21, the hottest day of the year so far, to support Carter's stand and his mission to help his sister Anna.  "He was so cute doing it and he raised $1078."

That's a lot of lemonade!

Credit - Jess LaBella
Credit - Jess LaBella
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More Lemonade

Carter wants to have another stand open again soon but Jessica said no plans have been made yet. "He was so proud of himself, but not as proud as I was as a parent. For being so young and always seeing his sister get tons of attention and gifts, he’s just so proud to be her brother and loves her so much. It melts my heart."

Anna Strong

Anna continues to fight and so far is doing well. She starts radiation soon on a tumor in her leg that caused her bone to weaken and crack. "She now has to depend on a wheelchair or crutches. We are still hoping to get her into a clinical trial in NYC.

Credit - Jess LaBella
Credit - Jess LaBella
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Sunshine Cart

Anna isn't just fighting to win her cancer battle. She's fighting for others going through the same battle. Anna's Sunshine Cart helps bring smiles, snacks, and support to children wherever they may be in the hospital. And she has one at The Ronald McDonald House, Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at The Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med.

Credit - Jess LaBella
Credit - Jess LaBella
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"This has become something they look forward to and we want to make sure we always have it stocked."

Family, friends, and even strangers have helped in that mission, sending boxes and boxes of items Anna can load into the carts. "You all have no idea how much this truly means to these kids and their parents," said LaBella. "To have something there that makes these kids excited to go to the doctor's is amazing and a blessing."

Anna Strong on Facebook

You can follow Anna's journey or help keep the Sunshine Cart stocked at Anna Strong on Facebook.

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