The message, written in bright pink ink, with a hand-drawn bunny and a heart for good measure, reads, "Feel better, from Caroline." Lounging comfortably on a bench waiting for the event to begin, Caroline, 5, picks another card and prepares a second message. "They are for the kids in the hospital," she explains, concentrating on her letters.
That hospital is Johns Hopkins All Children's, where Caroline had many visits for treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Caroline decided on her own, she wanted to make kids' lives a little better when they have cancer. She created an annual lemonade stand, which her parents, Charles and Danielle, thought was adorable - and then she started bringing in real money. "I want to raise money for kids in the hospital," she explains, having watched her parents get involved with the Johns Hopkins All Children's Family Advisory Council. Her father even nominated the Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute for an award for the way it welcomes families.
The lemonade stand is in its third year, and she is presenting a check to the hospital's pediatric cancer research program for an impressive $11,244.50. It took some work, of course. Caroline prepared flyers, announced online and told everyone her family could think of to spread the word that the lemonade would benefit the kids in the hospital through the Benjamin Gilkey Fund for Innovative Pediatric Cancer Research at Johns Hopkins All Children's.
The fund is responsible for a clinical trial, which is currently enrolling patients to try to prevent relapse of childhood myeloid malignancies. Caroline's cousin Julia got to know Benji in the hospital when they were fighting losing battles with cancer. Benji's family created the fund, which has raised more than $500,000. Caroline and her parents wanted to join the cause to honor Julia and support much needed research.
So, she gets up from the blue bench for her moment of honor, poses for the cameras and proudly holds up her oversized $11,244.50 check with a knowing smile and a big idea: Next year, she'll add a hot chocolate fundraiser.
Visit giveto.hopkinsallchildrens.org/benjamingilkeyfund to support cancer research through the Gilkey fund. Read more Moments.