A Carthage third grader has her mind and heart set on an upcoming event.

A Carthage third grader has her mind and heart set on an upcoming event.

Saturday, Sept. 14 is going to be a big day for the Palmer family. At least 300 participants are expected to compete in the Just Breathe 5K Run/Walk that day at the Carthage High School. The event, which will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, will have a bounce house, a petting zoo, face painting, and Anderson’s ice cream. But there’s one young vendor everyone should visit.
“I’m going to be the only lemonade stand there,” said Arya Palmer, 8.

A colorful, little lemonade stand will be selling regular and pink lemonade, cookies and pretzels. The stand is under the care of eight-year-old Arya Palmer, the eldest sister to Aven, 16 months, who lives with Cystic Fibrosis. And completing the team of “Sisters for Cystic” as the stand is proudly labeled, is Tara, who helps as much as any four-year-old can.

“When a child has a chronic disease, the other siblings can be forgotten,” said the girls’ mother, Autumn Palmer. “And being eight, there’s not a lot you can do but just sit there. But (Arya) started brainstorming one day about what she could do, and came up with this. I’m so proud of her.”

Arya just put on a smile.

“I always wanted to have a lemonade stand on the road, and this was my chance to do that,” she said. “We want to help … I hope that they will find a cure and not go buy toys with it.”

Arya knows quite a lot about her family.

“Aven is a year old and takes 30 enzymes a day and breathing treatments and has to take Zantac,” Arya said of her little sister.

On top of travels to Kansas City every two to three months, where she is looked after by a team of 11 doctors, Aven must take 24-30 pills every day. Cystic Fibrosis is a rare disease that impacts the lungs and digestive system. Autumn said the medical advances over the past 20 years are impressive, but there is still no federal funding for research on this disease. Therefore, hope is found in the generosity and love shown by communities affected like Carthage.

And Carthage has certainly shown a compassion for little Aven and her family.

The Sisters for Cystic lemonade stand made its debut Aug. 24-25 during a family garage sale with the proceeds benefiting Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. By just word-of-mouth and Facebook, the community all of a sudden started craving lemonade.

“They raised $477,” Autumn said.

“And 78 cents,” Arya added.

“It was so hot, and we tried to get her to go inside for a while, but she said ‘can’t - the stand needs me,’” Autumn said.

Some members of the Carthage community choose to help with the cause. Rachel Barnett has helped the stand by contributing other goodies to sell.

“Mrs. Palmer was my high school chemistry teacher,” Barnett said. “She was a fabulous teacher and went above and beyond for each of her students. When I found out that Aven had Cystic Fibrosis, I wanted to help however I could. Helping prepare treats for the lemonade stand is just a tiny way I can help repay Mrs. Palmer for all she did for me. She is an amazing teacher and mom who deserves all of our help. We hope that this walk will provide more funding for research to help cure the disease.”

Anyone wishing to compete in the Just Breathe 5K Run/Walk, may register online or simply show up the day of the race. The race will begin at 9 a.m. For more information, there is a Facebook event “Just Breathe 5K Run/Walk for Cystic Fibrosis.”

For those who miss the Sisters for Cystic stand on Sept. 14, Arya plans to have her stand set up at Maple Leaf Festival.