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After 3-Year Cancer Battle, Age 5 Boy Raises $640 at Lemonade Stand To Help Other Cancer Patients

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People who have been through incredible trials often have the sweetest dispositions. They may have suffered greatly, but many times they come away with a better understanding of themselves and the world.

You’d expect an adult who survived cancer to have some sort of wisdom to share, but a 5-year-old having a life-changing takeaway is even more impressive.

Meet Gabe Rodriguez, who beat cancer after a 3-year battle and has a heart of gold.

At just under two years of age, Gabe was diagnosed with bone marrow and blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His mother, Katie Rodriguez, quickly learned what was in store.

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“The doctor told us, ‘This is the best situation of a s—— situation,'” Katie said, according to KXXV. “I knew it was going to be a long haul.

“He was going to lose his hair, he was going to lose teeth early and he did, the chemo would be very hard on him, but I knew at the end that we’d be able to win — and we did.”

Being so young, Gabe didn’t really know what that meant, and it didn’t seem to get him too down.

“Gabe didn’t know that he was sick with cancer,” Katie said. “Gabe would have chemo all day, have a spinal tap, then come home and want to run around outside.”

Katie stood by as her son went through blood transfusions, chemotherapy and spinal taps. It took more than three years to beat the leukemia, but beat it they did.

While he may have seemed resilient during treatment, Gabe clearly understood the toll cancer takes on families, even at his young age. And knowing what he did, he wanted to make a difference for others.

“A month ago Gabe said, ‘Mom, I need to sell my toys, I want to donate my toys to the kids who don’t have anything,'” Katie said.

After a bit of negotiating, the two decided to sell lemonade to raise money “for the kids at the hospital to get their medicine.”

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“If you are heading out to watch softball at Harris this weekend, my son Gabe will be selling lemonade on Saturday morning under the Pavilion,” Katie, who is a softball coach, posted on Facebook on July 23. “All proceeds will go towards the Pediatric Hematology Oncology unit at Memorial Hospital….the same wonderful place filled with amazing Doctor’s and nurses who helped Gabe beat leukemia last year.

“To quote Gabe, ‘I want to help kids get their medicine and some new toys!’ We hope to see a lot of softball family out there! Thank you!!!”

Whether it was the post or the story of Gabe’s kindness that reached people, the turnout was impressive. Even Katie was surprised at the generosity of the customers that showed up.

Gabe managed the lemonade stand entirely on his own, and Katie reported that people were handing over $20 and $50 bills. They ended up raising $640, which they will use to take toys to kids at the hospital where Gabe was treated.

“For people to just give like that is such a huge feel-good story,” Katie said according to KXXV.

“I’m so proud of him,” she continued. “Knowing how sick he was and knowing how far he’s come and knowing that this is what he likes to do is just awesome. Anything we can do to give back to the hospital, that’s what we’re going to do.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking