Local youngsters set up lemonade stand to do what they can to help cure cancer

By: Sean K. Thompson
| Published 04/23/2024


THE WOODLANDS, TX – Julie Morton, a wife, mother, realtor, and Alden Bridge resident, is one of many – too many – people who have been affected by the devastation of cancer.

While she was a student athlete at the University of Oklahoma, she played under head coach Santigo Restrepo, whose son, Javier, had been first diagnosed with leukemia when he was just one and a half years old. Though his prognosis looked good after heavy doses of chemotherapy, during the summer of 2008 Javier suffered a relapse and doctors prescribed a bone marrow transplant from his older brother, Diego. But less than four months later, the leukemia returned and there was nothing left for the doctors to do.

Julie’s thoughts for the family compelled her to do what she could to raise funds to eradicate cancer.

“This is why I ask for donations and support. I ask to keep Javi's memory alive, I ask to help other families in similar situations, and I ask because as a parent my heart aches for Santiago’s and Heidi's loss, even all these years later,” she said. “Research involves money and – as a parent myself – I am praying that a cure can be found with the donations raised from this campaign, or at the very least find better medication for children specifically. We need safer, less toxic, more effective treatments for children.”

Julie’s passion did not go unnoticed by her family, especially her two elementary school-aged daughters. The young siblings got together recently and opened up a lemonade stand outside their house near Research Forest and Branch Crossing.

“My daughters were very excited to have this event and to try and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and childhood cancer research,” she said. “When I first told my older daughter, Reese, that I was trying to raise funds for LLS, she immediately wanted to know more. We’ve never talked about cancer much but I had the opportunity to share with her about two families whose battles with cancer affected me personally and ignited my passion to try and find a cure. After hearing my story her immediate response was, ‘If someone in our family got cancer, I’d want there to be a cure for it. Let’s have a lemonade stand and give the money to cancer research.’”

In two short hours, on a street situated outside of heavy traffic routes, with only word of mouth and a Facebook post, the girls raised just over $220. Beyond the funds raised, what was particularly impressive was the community coming together, young and old alike.

“Most everyone who donated had a story about how cancer had affected their family personally,” said Julie. “It was touching to hear many people talk about their family members and share just a part of their story with us. Even the young boys who rode their bikes over opened up; one in particular talked about his grandfather fondly and even came back a second time with a different group of kids to help support the cause.”

Julie’s donation page yielded some interesting facts. Since 2000, 40 percent of all new cancer therapies approved by the Food & Drug Administration are blood cancer therapies. Breakthrough advances in blood cancer research are now helping patients with other diseases, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, as well as non-blood cancers, including breast, pancreatic, brain, bone, liver, lung, kidney, ovarian, prostate, skin, stomach, melanoma, and lupus nephritis.

The dollars donated to her campaign have already touched many lives on a myriad of different journeys.

“For every dollar donated, 81 cents are donated towards research. This campaign is one-time and all-encompassing. Our team has just ten weeks to try and raise $300,000, and we plan to do just that. Large or small, your contribution is greatly appreciated.”

The donation page can be found at The deadline for receiving tax-deductible contributions in the mail is May 3.

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