A sweet idea may help to eradicate a sour disease


OXFORD—Carlee-Mae and Alyson Cash never had any experience with running a business, which isn’t surprising considering they’re only in elementary school.

The two sisters from Norway, who live part-time in Otisfield, had an objective for last week’s Fun Dog Days at the Oxford Fair Grounds—to create and run a successful lemonade stand.

What was different about this lemonade stand is that the girls did not keep a single penny of the profit. The two Guy E. Rowe Elementary School students had bigger plans for the money, which was inspired by their grandfather, Don Cash, who passed away this past January after a 13-month battle with cancer.

Building and running a lemonade stand was a dream that the girls and Papa Cash had for a while. They had planned out the design for the stand, and while he was still alive, he began building it.

“He loved spending time with the girls in his shop fixing things,” says the girls’ grandmother and Don’s wife, Jan Cash.

After Don Cash passed away in January, his friend Gary Conant of Auburn, finished the lemonade stand for the girls because he knew how much it meant to them.

The girls decided that they wanted the money from the lemonade stand to go to a good cause. They decided that because the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing in Lewiston had been so helpful to the family when the girls’ grandfather was ill, they would donate their earnings to it for cancer research.

While visiting the hospital during their grandfather’s stay, the girls were able to learn more about the disease.

“The Dempsey Center in Lewiston has wonderful programs, one of which the girls went to and learned about cancer and losing a loved one,” says Jan Cash by email. “This helped them understand and prepare them better.”

Jan Cash is currently battling breast cancer, which she has had since 2005. Seeing her granddaughters work hard so that she and others may benefit is a joy.

“They are involved with knowing about what is going on with my situation,” she says.  “I am so proud of them for putting others first and trying to make a difference. Their persistence and dedication is to be admired. …I know that Papa Cash would be equally as proud of them as well.”

The evening before the sale, the girls and their grandmother made numerous batches of lemonade, bought ice cream and popsicles, and made dog treats to be sold. The dog treats were called Riesy Treats, named after Jan Cash’s dog, and were enjoyed by dogs and humans alike because of their tasty, yet safe ingredients.

“We sold, like, nine gallons of lemonade,” says Carlee-Mae, the older sister. Alyson nods her head in agreement and smiles.

The girls are proud of their business achievement, noting how much each item cost—lemonade for $1, ice cream bars for $1.50, Riesy Treats for 50 cents and 50 cents for each of the many flavors of popsicles.

“We had a few ourselves,” says Carlee-Mae with a grin, adding that the Dempsey Center holds a program called the Dempsey Challenge, where the hospital matches any donation to the hospital that is raised by children. Because the Cash sisters raised $240, the end total donation to the hospital was $480.

“It’s a nice incentive for children to help out a little bit,” says Jan Cash.

The girls’ project was so successful that a family friend offered land for the girls to set their lemonade stand on for the summer.

When asked if the girls planned on keeping any profits made over the summer, they quickly shake their heads no. It will all go to the Dempsey Center.