Lunada Bay residents Kim Rhodes and her 10-year-old daughter, Brynne, have taken the neighborhood lemonade stand to a whole new level.
As founders of the Pink Lemonade Stand Challenge (PLSC) to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), the Rhodes are on the way to making the charity a nationwide endeavor. To date, they have inspired Pink Lemonade Stand Challenges in more than 25 states including Alaska.
Among four stands on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and another 46 nationwide, the grassroots organization has raised more than $50,000 donated entirely to the BCRF.
“Brynne had her first lemonade stand in New Jersey about four years ago,” said Kim Rhodes, who was diagnosed in 2015 with Stage 2 invasive carcinoma and underwent a double mastectomy followed by several painful reconstructive surgeries. “Brynne decided to make it a pink lemonade stand and donate the money to BCRF in honor of my mother, sister, grandmother and me who all fought breast cancer.”
The Rhodes family includes her husband Bill and three sons who moved to the Peninsula less than a year ago and have banded together to launch a national campaign.
Their next big goal is to enlist the help of Ellen DeGeneres who is known for charitable gestures on her talk show.
“We have kids as far away as Texas making a stand for us to do that, and we're trying to bring Delta Airlines on board—no pun intended,” Rhodes said.
The Pink Lemonade Stand Challenge has sponsors such as Macy's and Lilly Pulitzer stores and local TV stations such as Channel 7 News have shown up to interview kids at the stands, Rhodes said.
Last May, the Rhodes were invited onto the “Today Show” for a five minute segment. After being interviewed by Jenna Bush-Hagar and Natalie Morales, Country Time Lemonade presented them with a $10,000 check.
Brynne, who is learning the true meaning of philanthropy at a tender age, said she is also learning how maneuver through publicity channels.
“We have Instagram, Facebook and all the social media pages,” the Lunada Bay Elementary student said.
She added, 250,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,000 of those will die. Tough statistics, but even at 10, Brynne said she understands the need for research.
At a local level, Peninsula mothers and daughters have picked up Kim and Brynne’s challenge.
In October, various Girl Scout troops from Lunada Bay Elementary and Cornerstone schools rose to the task of making banners and posters for the lemonade stands.
Rene Hunton, who has been a Stage 3 triple-negative cancer survivor for five years, met Rhodes on an online neighborhood page for Lunada Bay moms. She said she wanted to do something for cancer awareness month, so she invited Kim and Brynne over to talk with her daughters, Charlie, 8, and Emerson, 6, and their Girl Scout troop.
No one knew Hunton was a survivor until she shared the information at the meeting that turned out to be an emotional eye opener for everyone.
“This was big for me,” said Hunton who at the time of her diagnosis thought she was only dealing with a blocked milk duct while nursing. “I never had that conversation because my daughters were so young at the time.”
Hunton’s stand was on the corner of Palos Verdes Drive West and Paseo Lunada. Channel 7 came out and filmed the girls in their pink outfits waving flashy pink pom-poms. They raised more than $6,000.
Kim Yank recently helped her daughter Kylie, 9, organize their Girl Scout troop from Cornerstone Elementary school to set up a PLSC at Highridge Park. Even in inclement weather, the enthusiastic group raised about $450 in honor of two teachers who are breast cancer survivors.
“We were talking about ideas how to care for people,” Yang said about awareness lessons learned from the experience. “We stressed, just because you don’t have anybody in your family with cancer, you can still do something for others.”
Palos Verdes Estates resident Jessica Hunter said she wanted to show her daughters Bailey, 9, and Sydney, 5, they could make an impact. Their PLSC collected $420 in donations for BCRF at the Harvest Festival at a park in Lunada Bay.
“The simplest gesture and expending some energy can make such an impact and difference,” said Hunter who plans to host more stands in the future. “It all starts with giving, and hopefully, we can all play a role to end breast cancer.”
Three easy steps to set up a Pink Lemonade Stand Challenge:
Make a Pink Lemonade Stand sign, stir up some pink lemonade and find a safe and busy place to setup your stand.
Give away free pink lemonade to End Breast Cancer and let people know all donations will go to BCRF. (Or charge per cup.)
Count the money you raised, keep the cash and use your credit card at pinklemondadestandchallenge.com to make a donation equal to the amount you raised.