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Lemon Smiles returning this weekend

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A yearly tradition, Lemon Smiles is returning to the community this weekend to help raise money for childhood cancer causes.

Madeline and Lillian Hudnall founded Lemon Smiles in 2008 when their friend, Charli Preister, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Each year, the lemonade stand is held to fundraise for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

It’s continuing in 2022, with the kickoff event being held for the sixth year at Northwestern Mutual – Columbus on Aug. 4.

“Northwestern Mutual, has been teaming with Alex's Lemonade Stand for 10 years, so this is our 10th anniversary,” said Northwestern Mutual Recruiter Ashley Penne. “It's just something we've committed to and actually because this is the 10th anniversary our company as a whole donated an extra million dollars to Alex's Lemonade Stand this year.”

Lillian Hudnall and her friend, Emily Mausbach, were on hand along with Northwestern Mutual representatives to help sell lemonade and lunch for the cause. Hudnall has been leading the effort since her sister left for college and has received help from Mausbach.

“I think it's very important to do for like the kids in our community, and just to keep it going,” Hudnall said. “Nebraska is one of the highest states in childhood cancer rates. And I think it's important for us to all kind of help out and try to try to find a cause.”

This weekend Lemon Smiles will be at Hy-Vee, 3010 23rd St., on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The stand will have cookies donated by Hy-Vee and lemonade donated by Dr. Pepper in Norfolk. Additionally, there will be T-shirts, tanks, caps and sweatshirts available for purchase.

“It's really amazing to see how far we've grown the past couple of years especially, and how excited the community gets to see us every year,” Hudnall said. “We've gone into places with our T shirts and like, ‘oh my gosh, we're so excited to see you guys this year!’ I think it's so cool how everyone kind of knows us or recognizes us.”

Hudnall added that this year has already been going well so far, and they are well on their way to reaching a milestone in the amount of money they’ve raised overall.

“I think this year alone we already have $3,000 without the kickoff stand and our actual stand,” she added. “Our goal this year is $12,000 which will put us over our $100,000 mark by ourselves raised. With Northwestern, I think we'll have about $150,000 - $175,000.”

There is also a new program this year called Gas for Care that people can contribute to as well.

“We'll have tickets at our stand that are $10 for to buy gas,” Hudnall said. “We will go out and purchase about $50 or $60 worth of gas cards, and we'll hand those out to local kids and families in the community who need to travel to Omaha or places for that for their care.”

Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at hannah.schrodt@lee.net.

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