By: Jason Sheppard
The 5th annual Neveah’s Lemonade Stand was as bright and cheerful an event as the young girl who created the amazing community event.
It was a day of grey skies with the occasional drop of rain falling, but that was not enough to dampen the spirits of everyone who attended the 5th annual Neveah’s Lemonade Stand in Paradise Park in late July.
Go Away Rain
Four years ago, five-year-old Nevaeh Denine was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that develops in nerve tissue.
During this time, Nevaeh had an idea – to hold the world’s biggest lemonade stand event to raise money for families of other young children going through cancer treatment just like she had. Since its first year, Neveah’s Lemonade Stand has raised over $160,000 for those families and the number of people who attend the now annual event has continued to grow and grow.
However, when organizers woke up to showers and chilly air on July 28th, they weren’t quite sure how this year’s event would pan out.
“We looked at the forecast and it wasn’t calling for any bed weather – and then we woke up and we saw rain,” said Stephanie O’Brien, host of OZFM’s Morning Rush and an organizer of Neveah’s Lemonade Stand. “And we said, ‘what do we do?’”
Rather than postpone the event until Sunday, where the forecast promised even worse weather, organizers and committee members decided to go make Saturday their day.
They began setting up while hoping for the best. “We were soaked and saturated wet and thought, ‘I don’t know how this day is going to go’” O’Brien admitted. “When Neveah woke up she was very sad. She cried and was afraid nobody was going to come.”
However, when 12 PM came around and the gates were officially opened, people just flooded in. “It was an amazing, amazing day,” said O’Brien of the large turnout. “The rain went away and I think it turned out really well.”
The day was full of great entertainment with acts such as Peter Fewer on hand, DJ Slim Macho entertained the crowd throughout, students from Ignite Dance Company and Mount Pearl School of Dance took the stage, the young dancers from Revolutions Dance took the field and headliners 8 Track Favourites ended the event with a lively set of songs which had many in the crowd dancing in place.
One highlight of the event which delighted the entire crowd was a performance by young ventriloquist Kelsey Scott with her rabbit, Sugar who led everybody in singing “Happy Birthday” to Nevaeh, who had turned nine the day before.
Besides the entertainment on-stage, there was a great deal to see while venturing around the park. There were Mer-By’s, Buddy the Puffin was also around, RNC horses, turtles and even SNAKES courtesy of LeAnneAzon owner LeAnne Guzzwell. Indiana Jones may be afraid of snakes but the kids in Paradise Park could not get enough of Guzzwell’s large snake, which just happens to be named Lemonade.
A Great Turnout
There were vendors on hand selling “Nevaeh’s Lemonade Stand” T-Shirts in which all proceeds made from t-shirt and hat sales go directly to the lemonade stand.
So, while the day might not have started off in the best of conditions, by the time it was over at 5 PM, the event had become another fun-filled, enjoyable and successful one. And it seems as if the annual event might have just found its new permanent home.
“I think Paradise is the perfect place for our lemonade stand going forward,” O’Brien told us at the end of the day. “I think we found our home base.
“Everybody was here for the right reasons. They’re here to support Neveah and her cause of raising money for other kids with pediatric cancer.”
And how did the girl who started this whole thing with a simple idea four years ago feel about how the day went?
“Nevaeh was very happy with the turnout,” said O’ Brien, who spent the entire day with her. “I noticed as soon as the gates open and she started seeing people were actually coming, she was relieved, and she started to enjoy her day. She’s really happy.” And what did Nevaeh do once the event wrapped up for another year? “She’s taking a nap now. She’s exhausted,” laughs O’Brien.
If you would like to donate to Nevaeh’s Lemonade Stand visit www.facebook.com/nevaehlemonade.