On Saturday, February 4th 2017, One At A Time hoped to make a little girl’s day. Taylor Lee, just 6 years old, had already made a difference in so many lives. Today, it was our turn to make a difference in hers.
At the beginning of the day, Taylor was interviewed by Good Day Sacramento. She flashed her spunky personality and little laugh as she explained why she started the lemonade stand.
Her reason was, “to make the kids happy.”
How amazing to see a little girl have such a humble and giving heart, a little girl who was fighting leukemia herself, and still took time and energy to give back to other children going through the same battle.
Taylor had no idea what we had up our sleeve, and was expecting the same lemonade stand she had before which was an amazing lemonade stand and from the heart, but being able to give a little bit more to Taylor and seeing her reaction was priceless.
Even the smallest gift, a stuffed animal from her favorite movie Moana, made her jump up and down, letting out a squeal of excitement.
It was like Christmas for everyone; for Taylor because she was so surprised and for all of us around because her smile filled us with joy!
Little by little Taylor went around and looked at every detail. The decorated lemon shaped cookies, the flowers, and the banners. Then was propped on top of her life size lemonade stand for everyone to see. She sat there tall and proud ready to serve the best 6 year old stirred lemonade in town. You could see the joy and pride pouring out as she asked “would you like pink or yellow lemonade?”
It was amazing to see how much the community came together to add to the joy of one little girl. We had One At A Time members and volunteers from near and far come together to add to the event.
Along with the media, the local fire department and police department also came by to have a taste of Taylor’s lemonade. Seeing the fire trucks and police cars added to her excitement. It was a heart warming sight to watch as the local branches came together to support Taylor and her family.
Everyone had a task, but we all had the same purpose. Our purpose was to make Taylor’s day! And we were able to witness this as her smile grew bigger with every customer and every cup she poured.
As adults, we grow up knowing it’s our job to inspire and set a positive example for those of younger people following in our footsteps. However, every so often, a youngster comes along and flips the script. Taylor, did just that! Just having a conversation with her gives you such a humbling feeling.
She looks at everyone the same way. Taylor will look you in the eye with a wide smile, and just have a simple, yet touching conversation. She has already done so much more to help others than a lot of us can claim to have ever done. She’s the epitome of a strong and courageous fighter. You can see just by watching the way she talks and addresses others that she has a genuine, kind heart.
Through the entire event, she greeted everyone with a big smile, poured lemonade with pure happiness, and watched everyone with a grateful glare. Taylor has a wonderful way of looking at life. She lives in the moment; loving life, laughing, squealing, and making lemonade with whatever lemons life throws her way!
As a cancer survivor, I was a bit nervous to be a part of the event. It was a lot easier to be back stage, so to speak; but at the same time, I was so excited to finally meet the famous Taylor Lee. That Saturday morning I got out of bed, hardly slept through the night, and drove up from Modesto. Just seeing her prance around with her brother, laughing and watching the “Moana” movie, I already knew she was going to change my perspective on things.
I went through 6 months of chemo, and two weeks of radiation. And after I was declared cancer free, a lot of people would say, “Great! So you’re fine now, rite?” Wrong. Even after you’re declared cancer free, your body struggles to go back to “normal.” It takes up to about 2 years before you’ve gotten all your strength completely back, your immune system to catch back up and fight off even a cold like it did before, and for you to have the energy level you did before.
A lot of times, going through the post-chemo challenges can be discouraging. I was left to wonder; “Why do we go through treatment, to be left feeling this way?”
Taylor, showed me why.
My first conversation I had with Taylor was right after she was informed I too, had fought cancer. We talked about our ports, how they felt funny, and what they looked like. Our conversation started with, “Ohhhh, I know what that is!!” She pointed to my scar on my chest where my port was surgically inserted. Taylor continued to tell me about the big party she was going to have after being cancer free and how she loved having lemonade stands.
That day being with Taylor, listening to her story, and seeing her big smile changed the way I look at life.
People always ask if my fight with cancer changed my outlook on life. And yes, it did. It taught me to be grateful for what I have, the people around me, and not to take anything for granted.
But Taylor taught me to stay humble and to no matter what, always think about others and not my situation.
Taylor could have used the money she raised for herself after her diagnosis, and she didn’t. She had so many stories about so many other kids fighting cancer, but Taylor never stopped to talk solemnly about herself. That is something we all lack quite often.
Taylor taught me that no matter how hard my cancer battle was, and no matter how discouraged I still get, I made it through my battle. Now it’s my turn to help others and hold their hand through the battle.
That day, everyone left Taylor’s lemonade stand knowing they had served a purpose. We had all worked so hard, lost hours of sleep, and hoped we’d make the best of the best for miss Taylor Lee. And we did.
We all left with the image of her smile, the sound of her giggle, and the feeling of warmth and joy. We felt warmth because Taylor warmed everyone’s heart that day, seeing her so happy to have a line of people waiting to get some lemonade and all the community members that came to support her. And we felt joy because she was more than deserving of her own lemonade stand. She had gone above and beyond to help people fighting a battle she herself was in the midst of.
She is the true definition of a warrior and lived up to the saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”