Canton brothers hosting lemonade stand Saturday with proceeds going to children with cancer

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Go on social media nowadays and you probably will turn away from your phone or computer screen in disgust, weeping for the future. From Nyquil chicken recipes to promoting Gorilla Glue as a hair gel to the milk crate challenge, you may believe that our youngest generations have hit TikTok bottom.

Have no fear, however, as Canton’s own CJ and Cree McAfee are here to restore your faith in humanity while sweetening your taste buds in the process.

The two young brothers will be hosting their fourth annual Lemonade Stand this Saturday, June 15 between 12 and 3 p.m. Located in the parking lot at 1910 Whipple Ave NW (in front of The Uniform Guy), all proceeds from the stand will go to The Little Pink Ribbon Girl Foundation, a local charitable organization dedicated to assisting Stark County families battling cancer.

How exactly did these two kids come up with the idea for a charitable venture that in three years, has already raised an impressive $13,600? Well, it did not come from the parents.

“My husband and I have never pushed them to do this or came up with any of the ideas,” said mother Megan. “They do this all on their own and we’re just the adults that have to help do the social media work and reach out to local businesses. But it is really cool to have a 10- and 12-year-old that want to give money to other kids.”

And the boys have gained so much from their venture as well, to hear it from their proud father.

“I feel like they learned a lot from this; they learned that sometimes it’s better to give than to receive and I’m so proud of them for that,” Chris said.

So, what was the genesis for this endeavor?

“At first, I wanted to buy a hoverboard, so we had a lemonade stand but I felt bad for the kids with cancer because they needed help instead,” CJ said.

CJ then took the idea to his partner in charity, and little brother Cree wholeheartedly endorsed the plan.

“I thought it was good because we needed to help kids with cancer instead of getting a hoverboard because they needed the money more than us,” said Cree.

But how did they arrive at assisting children battling cancer?

“I think me and Cree are lucky enough to be healthy and the kids with cancer are not healthy and they’re sick and they’re not getting better,” Cree said. “And the money will help them by giving them what they need.”

The boys then selected the Little Pink Ribbon Girl Foundation, but specifically requested that all proceeds from their lemonade stand go to families with children afflicted by cancer, which the

foundation agreed to. Cancer, by the way, is the second-leading cause of death among children aged 5-9 and the third-leading cause among children aged 10-14.

So no hoverboard for the brothers McAfee. Instead, they received a much more precious gift—the knowledge that they are helping kids whose very lives are in peril. CJ recalls one such meeting, saying “we met this little boy named Spencer around Christmastime and we were able to give him money around then,” while Cree cherishes meeting a local family, saying “we got to learn about the family that we helped right before Christmas.”

As heroes, these siblings have remarkably ordinary childhood dreams—Cree would like one day to play in either the NBA or the NFL and CJ plans to become a professional dancer. Well, maybe not ordinary, as both brothers are committed to continuing their charitable ways into adulthood.

By the way, if lemonade doesn’t tickle your fancy, have no fear as the stand will also offer grilled hot dogs, bags of chips, and delicious cookies. Delicious food and drink that comes with a complimentary side of knowing you are helping others.

So, while most kids are out playing this weekend, the brothers will be manning their stand, doing their part to brighten this corner of our world. And in three short years, their efforts have become a Stark County institution of sorts.

“They have no signs of stopping soon,” says Megan. “This is something that they want to continue to do year after year. So this is the fourth annual lemonade stand and we hope one day there’s going to be a twentieth annual lemonade stand.”

And that would be, for lack of a better word, sweet.