11-Year-Old Opens a Lemonade Stand to Raise Money for Mom's Transplant Surgery


It's not uncommon to see lemonade stands lining suburban streets throughout the summer and spring. Usually, kids are trying to raise money for new Shopkins or something extra ambitious, like a new video game. But Nemiah Martinez opened her own lemonade stand with a much more heartbreaking goal in mind. The 11-year-old from New Mexico is desperately trying to raise enough money to pay for her mom's life-saving transplant surgery.

  • Every Saturday, Martinez sells three different flavors of lemonade for $1.50 a cup out of her garage in Las Cruces. 

    On her GoFundMe page, the little girl revealed that she started her lemonade stand because her mom, Paloma, desperately needs a double transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "She needs a kidney and pancreas transplant," she explained. "My mommy has always taken care of me and I want to take care of her. I have been able to raise $210.50 from my lemonade stand and I am so happy. I see how much my mom is struggling and all I want to do is help her, if you see me around town, I hope that you stop by."

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  • Since Martinez made her GoFundMe, her story has gone viral, and she's now raised over $3,600.

    Donations are flooding in, thanks to the above story by ABC News. Martinez told the news organization her mom struggles to get out of bed and needs help around the house, and she could die unless she gets treatment. "I try to do the best I can for her," the little girl said. 

    And of course people are floored by her efforts to raise money. But, as many online have pointed out, it's heartbreaking that this innocent child is having to work so hard just to make sure her mom is around to raise her.

  • After ABC shared the story on Twitter, hundreds of people spoke out.

  • They all wanted to help Martinez, but they were also sickened that she needed this kind of help in the first place.

  • Many pointed out that children should not be forced to work for or crowdfund medical expenses.

    Sadly, this isn't the first or the last time we'll see kids raising money for their parents, and it's certainly not the first time GoFundMe has been used to crowdsource money for medical costs. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 42 percent of Americans cite the cost and lack of access to health care as the number one health issue they face, and we see that firsthand every day on social media when people start crowdfunding cancer treatments, surgeries, and huge bills from being in the hospital.

    ABC News didn't confirm whether or not Martinez's mom is insured. She could be one of the over 12 percent of Americans who didn't have health insurance at the end of the last year. But even if she is insured, about 41 million Americans ages 19-64 also report being underinsured, meaning they still can't afford all the treatments and medications they need.

    Make no mistake, this little girl's determination and devotion to her mom is beautiful and admirable. But this shouldn't be her burden to bear. We hope desperately that she's able to raise every cent she needs and then some. But even more than that, we hope we can find a way to do better as a nation so kids don't have to raise money like this at all.

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