What started as a routine reading lesson in Kelli Armstrong’s classroom led to a lemonade stand which benefits Corsicana students fighting cancer.
The Sam Houston Elementary School teacher’s fourth grade class is setting up the lemonade stand from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at Fannin Elementary and Wednesday at Sam Houston to raise funds for classmates Avery and Yaretzi, both fighting brain tumors. Lemonade is 50 cents and cookies will be $1.
Avery is a second grade student at Fannin Elementary. She had surgery last September for a brain tumor and started chemotherapy in January and will continue treatment once a week for 60 weeks. She is loved and adored by all who know her and Fannin fights alongside Avery.
Yaretzi was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017 and had three brain surgeries within nine days. With routine MRIs it was discovered the tumor was growing back. This school year she has had surgery and completed proton radiation treatments. Yaretzi and her family continue to rely on their faith for a complete recovery.
Armstrong said the inspiration behind the stand began in 2018 when her class read a biography of a girl named Alex Scott who fought cancer from the age of four until it took her life at eight. During that time, Alex started her own lemonade stand to raise funds to search for a cure.
“After listening to the story, the kids were all silent,” Armstrong said. “It was truly a profound moment.”
She said students asked if they could set up a lemonade stand to help the cause and they raised $1,400 that year to donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.
Armstrong said, through the stand, she met Corsicana High School student Brenden Cofer, who had a brain tumor. The next year the lemonade stand would be for him.
“In that moment, my life was immediately impacted by meeting Brenden,” she said. “It takes an amazing mother and child to show up for others during their own fight. I used to think the start of the lemonade stand was all by coincidence. I don’t think that anymore.”
Armstrong said Brenden gave her insight into teaching her students.
“Instruction is important. Relationships are important,” she said. “Showing the importance of helping others in the community is now a part of my mission as well.”
Cofer passed away in February at the age of 20.
“Last March I attended a celebration of life for Brenden,” Armstrong said. “It was exactly two years to the date after we had a lemonade stand as a district to raise money for him. All campuses combined raised over $5,000.”
She said she wondered if she had made a difference in his life, until she recalled the moment two years ago when students cheered when Cofer showed up with a grin to the lemonade stand.
“It was then I remembered my purpose in this was to teach my students to support others in need,” she said. “We did that with Brenden. He was our celebrity. The Corsicana Tigers 2022 Lemonade Stand supports Yaretzi and Avery, but we will never forget and will always honor our Tiger Brenden Cofer.”