Nine-year-old Kai Manning of Chilliwack doesn’t want other families to feel the terrible pain of losing someone they love to cancer.
So he started a lemonade stand to raise funds for the BC Children’s Hospital on his front lawn on Henley Avenue.
It’s been vehicle after vehicle stopping by ever since the story went as close to viral as it gets in Chilliwack.
Kai’s mom, Amanda Manning, said she figured her son would make $20 or $30 tops when he first floated the idea.
But then the story exploded on local Facebook pages and the money for the Children’s has been pouring in this week by the hundreds, by hordes of people touched by the sweet story.
“I was coming back from the airport Wednesday night when I started getting text messages from people who heard about it,” said Manning.
When Kai’s dad, Bob Manning, lost his battle with cancer a few years ago, the family was devastated.
“I don’t want other kids and families to feel the same way,” Kai said.
He’s been enjoying all the excitement of the constant stream of donations.
“A lot of people haven’t even been taking any juice. They just want to give money,” he said.
Vikki Beyak called Kai’s efforts “awesome.”
“You’re going to remember this day until you’re as old as I am,” she told him.
Agassiz resident Mary Lock drove all the way to Chilliwack to make a donation to the cause at the lemonade stand on the corner of Henley Avenue and Harrison Street.
“My husband passed away from cancer when my kids were about your age,” she told Kai, adding she wanted to support him.
RCMP Const. Kevin Morris pulled over his squad car to meet the young boy, and the story immediately pulled at his heart strings.
“It’s just amazing. Lots of businesses and individuals have been coming forward. It really shows the power of social media.”
He posted a note on his own Facebook page, which prompted a lot of people to help: “It’s so refreshing to know that there is so much good out there, between my co-workers pitching in a few dollars and this young man taking time out of his summer on a bright sunny day when other kids were running through sprinklers, to do what he thought was right,” he wrote. “This is why I love what I do. You get to see so much good in people.”
Friend of the family Raina Lloyd agreed. She said she felt lucky to spend a good part of her day at the lemonade stand.
It’s pretty rare for kids to think outside the box like this, she said.
“My heart is so deeply touched by our city,” she posted on Facebook. “It has been car after car coming, each with their own story of being touched by cancer in someway. Some handing over $50 bills and groups putting in together.
“I am so blown away of how there are so many amazing people out to help a little boy wanting that no one else has to go through losing a family member.
“People have come from Agassiz just for a cup of lemonade or McDonald’s juice and a cookie.”
The lemonade stand should be open Friday, too.
*This version has been modified from the original to make a name correction.