Open Invitation: Staff writer encourages turnout for annual charity fundraiser

Bake-Lemonade Stand Poster

Bake-Lemonade Stand Poster

Local families of Team Strassburg and Forever 21 are holding their annual lemonade stand/bake sale at the start of June.

Last year the teams made over $1,600, and the team donated $800 to the American Cancer Society and $800 to Alive&Running Suicide Prevention.

My sister Aaliyah and I started the lemonade stand/bake sale when I was in third grade. We wanted to help others and honor our grandfather, Harry Tournier, who we had never met before, because he had died of lung cancer a few months before I was born. But this annual event isn’t just about my grandpa, it’s about everyone and has expanded since.

Many of our friends and family have continued the tradition with us and add more treats each year. Everyone involved loves being able to help and support others in our community as they go through struggles.

Team Strassburg was originally created to show love and support toward the Strassburg family during Mark Strassburg’s (a teacher at Cedar Heights) diagnosis, treatments, transplant and fight to remission against cancer. The teams ask for you all to join them in order to help celebrate more birthdays and create more memories for all.

Mark’s wife, Niki Strassburg, said that their family was very surprised when Mark was first diagnosed.

“We were extremely shocked by the original diagnosis. We had just had our second child. Mark was not experiencing any symptoms, and he was young for his particular type of cancer. We were scared of the unknown yet optimistic in treatment options and grateful for the phenomenal support from our friends, families, coworkers and our community,” she said.

Niki and her family believes that faith, positivity and the support system surrounding their family is the reason they have made it so far and why Mark has been in remission for six years.

Niki’s children are also involved with the lemonade stand/bake sale as well as other family friends who wanted to bring change to the community.

“We think it’s outstanding that our team kids are being taught a life lesson that is greater to give than to receive. We feel that the kids and families that volunteer their time and efforts to bring awareness to cancer provides us with the largest donation the organization can receive.

Through the years, some members who are a part of the team have been affected by suicide numerous times, and because of this, we have added suicide prevention and awareness to the fight.”

Forever 21 is a team made up for the Alive&Running Suicide Prevention organization. It is a team full of families who  came together that have been touched by suicide and are honoring Jeremy Coonradt and Cody Kruse, as well as other who committed suicide. The two men had lost their lives to suicide and depression at age 21.

Holmes Junior High teacher Michele Keough said they got involved with the lemonade stand by knowing some good friends down the street and wanted to help.

“I became involved with the lemonade stand because of the Tournier family. We had a really good friend who was going through a tough time with cancer and we wanted to do something for him and his family.”

Keough said sometimes you can feel really helpless in these types of situations with cancer and suicide; there just isn’t a lot you can do about either.

“Knowing that something, a little part, to help the next person makes a difference, coming together with a bunch of family and friends in remembrance of the people that have been touched by cancer and suicide, it just helps us. It’s that one time we all get together and feel like we’re doing something good,” Keough said.

The lemonade stand/bake sale will be held on Thursday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday, June 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The lemonade stand/bake sale is all on donation, and there will be many treats, bracelets and headbands for sale. All the money will be going toward the two organizations.

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