Scott Simmons learned a valuable lesson last year when his young son Brecken wanted to set up a lemonade stand in the family’s Blue Springs neighborhood front yard.
The lemonade stand, manned by the James Lewis Elementary School fourth grader and his family and friends, became a viral sensation and hundreds of cars were parked along Duncan Road and 18th Street, causing a bit of a traffic jam.
“It just got too big to have at our home,” Scott said as Brecken nodded in agreement, “so the folks at Blue Springs 8 Miller Theatre let us set up our stand in their parking lot.”
The turnout exceeded everyone’s expectations.
Last year Brecken raised $4,000, which he donated to his “good friend,” Blue Springs Police Chief Bob Muenz.
This year, with the expanded parking area, the stand topped $5,400, with the money going to Answering the Call, a non-profit organization that supports first responders and their families.
Brecken became friends with members of the Blue Springs Police Department after he manned his lemonade stand last year, and they were in full force at this year’s event.
And now the youngster is making a new group of friends with Answering the Call.
“Oh my gosh, I wish I could put into words what this means to us,” Answering the Call’s Ronnie Doumitt said. “I know Brecken and his family very well, and that is the type of giving people they are – they care about everyone and want to help in anyway they can.”
“This helps families with their medical bills and other expenses so they don’t get in a financial situation they can’t get out of.”
Brecken and his family never go into an event with a dollar goal in mind.
“Last year, I wanted to raise like $15 and we raised over $4,000,” Brecken said, as his dog Finley hopped onto his lap. “And this year, we wanted to raise more, and we did. And we had so much fun.”
Scott nodded in agreement.
“We did have a lot of fun,” Simmons said, “and we sold a lot of lemonade. We were open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a Saturday, a few weeks back, and we sold a lot of lemonade.
“And people were lined up, up and down the sidewalk and in the parking lot. There were a few moments where we weren’t real busy, but not many. We all had fun – but no one had more fun than Brecken.”
Brecken, who undergoes weekly chemotherapy treatments to stop the growth of a brain tumor discovered when he was just 5 years old, makes the most out of every minute. Whether he is visiting with the construction crew adding a new deck to the Simmons’ home, chatting with more of his best friends, the neighborhood trash collection crew, or aggravating his older brother Grant, he is the eternal optimist.
“Remember the last time you saw me, and I had my hair?” Brecken asked, rubbing the top of his head. “I still have it! I still have all my hair.”
While his hair is important, it doesn’t compare to his love of the men and women in blue.
Brecken wants to grow up to be a policeman so he can help people.
“I just love helping people,” he said. “Oh, can I get you a drink? Would you like some lemonade? We make really good lemonade.”
And he has made a world of friends, one glass of lemonade at a time.