New Jersey: He’s battled multiple inoperable brain tumours for more than half of his life, but this inspiring 10-year-old from New Jersey has refused to let his own struggles with cancer overshadow his desire to help others overcome the disease.
Mario at one of his lemonade stalls
Mario Carpino, whose cancerous tumours were first discovered when he was just 4 years old, has been hosting lemonade stands to raise funds for an organisation called Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer for years.
According to Yahoo! Shine, he has raised some $150,000 for the charity thus far — and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. A married couple from Connecticut launched the organisation in 2005, one year after their eight-year-old daughter, Alex Scott, passed away from neuroblastoma, a common infant cancer that accounts for seven per cent of all cancers in children.
During her short life, Alex hosted an annual lemonade stand (she raised $2,000 in one day for her first one) and donated the funds to cancer research. After Alex’s death, her parents created a foundation to continue her efforts, and kids like Mario hold yearly lemonade stands in her honour.
Mario has exceeded his fundraising goals each year, a portion of which he earns at his annual lemonade stand, and the rest through online donations. He wanted to raise $5,000 when he held his first stand in 2011.
He ending up raising $25,134. In 2012, he raised $48,517, exceeding his goal of $25,000. In 2013, Mario set his goal at $50,000 and got $68,542. People can also donate to Mario’s cause on his event page.
“He doesn’t look at it as... raising money for him and his disease,” a family friend said. “Every time we get together, he has a million ideas. He thinks of it as raising money for his friends at the [Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia]. This is his way of contributing.”
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where Mario has reportedly received multiple chemotherapy, is one of the many beneficiaries of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. “He is always making others smile. He is truly a hero,” his mother wrote in a 2012 blog post for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
This year, Mario’s lemonade stand event will be held on Saturday, June 7, at the Woolwich Fire Department in Swedesboro, NJ. There will reportedly be face painting, clowns and a raffle for prizes. Mario has also expressed hope that his favourite band might show up to his lemonade stand this year.
“Two years ago, he decided that he wanted his favourite singer, Jon Bon Jovi, to come to his lemonade stand,” the boy’s mom said. “I told him it’s unlikely because Bon Jovi is famous. He said, ‘But Mom, he’s so nice.’”
A Facebook page has been set up to attract the singer’s attention. The family has a lot to be thankful for. They announced in a Facebook post on Tuesday that his tumours were found to be stable, following an MRI.