Kelsey here. I wanted to start a journal as a way to share my thoughts and stay connected with you. I think a good place to start would be how Make Lemonade Project came to be.
Over the last 6 years, my husband Michael and I have battled stage 4 cancer. I am the caregiver and he is the patient.
While sometimes it feels like our journey has brought us bushels of lemons in the form of very hard days we have also embraced all the good. We feel gratitude for the time we have and try to take everything one step at a time-we make lemonade.
I am a calligrapher and I own a small business called Hawaii Calligraphy. I thought I could expand on the idea of making lemonade by using it as a metaphor for sharing hope and strength in the form of meaningful gifts for patients and providers fighting cancer. I calligraphed quotes like “trying my best” and “you got this” on key-chains, ornaments and cards. I also wanted to create a special “lemonade stand” for patients and providers to freely pick these lemonade gifts. I made a small wood box and painted free lemonade in bright yellow letters on top and filled it with my offerings.
I posted a photo of me holding my free lemonade stand full of gifts on my Hawaii Calligraphy Instagram and to my astonishment, other businesses started reaching out to donate gifts of their own. Fast forward 3 months and we’ve done 12 rounds of lemonade from over 100 incredibly generous individuals and businesses throughout our community and from around the world.
This tiny lemonade stand is now overflowing with gifts and we had to expand to two whole shelves to hold all the donations. Things like hand crocheted lemon stress balls and port pillows. Journals and tiny handmade lions with tags that say have courage. Once I was refilling the lemonade stand when I heard someone giggle, "Goodie! The lemon girl is here!"
Most of us who give lemonade have been touched by cancer. Those dark, terrifying moments have left wounds that we soothe by offering gifts of hope to others fighting the same terrible disease. Wherever you are in your journey, we can remind each other of the sunshine and squeeze the day together. Giving and receiving lemonade is love that we can pass round and round.
So let's build Make Lemonade Project little by little, day by day together. Thank you so much for embarking on this journey with me. I know we will accomplish beautiful things!