7-Year-Old Selling Lemonade To Fund Her Own Brain Surgery Receives Outpouring Of Support & Donations

Photo: Getty
lemonade stand fundraiser

Last month, seven-year-old Liza Scott of Birmingham, Alabama began selling lemonade at her family’s bakery. The price was 25 cents a glass, but the stakes were much higher: Liza hopes the proceeds will save her life, as they will be used to help cover the substantial costs associated with the multiple upcoming brain surgeries she'll need.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, January 30th, Liza had begun to convulse violently. She was rushed to the Children’s of Alabama hospital in Birmingham, but following her release, the child suffered a second seizure the same day.

After a week of testing, Liza was diagnosed with three rare and severe cerebral malformations.

These conditions were causing her to experience Grand Mal seizures. Liza would need to undergo brain surgery to prevent further dangerous complications including the possibility of more seizures, hemorrhaging or stroke.

On the Mightycause page she created on her daughter's behalf, Liza’s mother, Elizabeth, describes her as a "spunky, loving, fearless, bright, happy girl.”

Speaking with reporter Malique Rankin, she said “our world has been turned upside down every quickly.”

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The family will travel to Boston Children’s Hospital this week to begin Liza’s treatment — and already, Liza's medical bills are already more than the family can afford.

Elizabeth Scott is a single mother to Liza and her three-year-old brother Finnley. She purchased extra insurance to try and cover her daughter’s care, but with the combination of travel costs and medical bills, additional expenses have reached five-figures.

“As a single mom and the financial supporter of both of my children, this is not something you can budget for,” Elizabeth said.

To help pay for her own life-saving surgery, Liza took on a role at Savage’s Bakery, a small business owned by her mother and grandfather. Besides homemade lemonade, the seven-year-old also sold candy and cookies for a dollar.

The little girl is frightened for her future.

“I can’t handle it,” Liza said in one interview. “So, I hope I make it. My mom keeps saying I’m going to, but I feel like I’m not.”

“In the moments that I feel like I can’t breathe, or I’m awake in the night and I can’t sleep, I pray,” said her mother. “I’m on my hands and knees, literally, praying.”

The public was outraged at the way the story was presented by a local news source.

“When life gave her lemons... She made lemonade,” CBS 42 reported tritely. The implication that this innocent child has any responsibility at all to earn her medical care, or to maintain a positive attitude about the situation, seems disturbingly callous.

On social media, many pointed out that there is nothing to celebrate about a child being forced to work to save her own life.

“Not a feel-good story,” wrote journalist Yashar Ali. “An absolute disgrace.”

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Aidan Smith wrote, "The fact that a seven year old has to raise money for her own brain surgery is so unfathomably evil that no words could possibly do it justice. We need Medicare for All immediately."

And author and activist Marianne Williamson tweeted that “anyone not appalled [by Liza's situation] is not looking,” echoing the calls for universal medicare in response.

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Fortunately, although the system failed Liza and her family, hundreds of individuals have shown support to the Scotts in their time of need.

Community members stepped up at Savage Bakery. During the filming of the CBS segment, one elderly man handed Liza a hundred-dollar bill.

“She’s very sweet, I can tell,” the customer said. “I want to help.”

On Sunday, Fed. 28, members of Jeep Wrangler groups across the state drove to Homewood, Alabama to rally around the little girl.

Nearly forty Jeep owners from organizations including Outlaw Wranglers and the Walker City Wranglers hoped to lift Liza’s spirits with the demonstration. Scott singer, a member of the Iron City Wranglers, said he wanted to do whatever he could to help cheer the sick child and show her she was not alone.

“As soon as I saw this, I had to get involved,” Scott said. “It just tears at your heartstrings that kids are having to go through this.”

Liza was “happy as can be” at the show of allyship. The young girl handed out cookies and lemonade to the assembled “jeepers” before ascending a car to address the crowd.

“Thank you, everyone!” Liza shouted, smiling.

As of today, the Mightycause page for Liza has raised just under $300,000, and more support has been given to the Scotts in the form of cash donations and offers to cover travel expenses and accommodations in Boston.

Liza plans to continue selling lemonade after her recovery and using the proceeds to help other children and families in need.

Seeing this brave child do the government’s work for them is certainly bittersweet.

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Allie McGlone is a writer who covers a variety of topics for YourTango, including pop culture and entertainment.