2012-07-27 / Front Page

Lemonade stand lifts Angel Flight

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer


The annual lemonade stand organized by five young Woodfield Drive residents not only offered customers with a sweet summer treat, but also raised nearly $2,000 for Angel Flight Northeast, a Massachusetts-based organization that provides free plane ride for patients with chronic disease. (Michael Kelley photo) The annual lemonade stand organized by five young Woodfield Drive residents not only offered customers with a sweet summer treat, but also raised nearly $2,000 for Angel Flight Northeast, a Massachusetts-based organization that provides free plane ride for patients with chronic disease. (Michael Kelley photo) When patrons lined up at a lemonade stand at 26 Woodfield Drive in Scarborough, they knew their purchases wouldn’t just be a sweet summer treat, but a way to help countless children and adults all across New England.

On the afternoon of Thursday, July 19, five young residents of Woodfield Drive – Ashley O’Brien, 10, her sister Olivia O’Brien, 7, and their neighbors, Charlotte Spies, 10, Emma Spies, 13 and Emily Taggart, 14 – held their third annual lemonade stand to benefit Angel Flight Northeast.

Angel Flight Northeast is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that provides free plane rides to children and adults suffering from cancer and other chronic debilitating diseases and conditions.


Sarah Stearns, Shawn Hebert and Tom Schneller, of Scarborough’s Fire and Rescue Squad, were three of the several dozen customers who stopped by a charity lemonade stand on Woodfield Drive that was organized by, from left, Olivia O’Brien, Emma Spies, Emily Taggart, Ashley O’Brien and Charlotte Spies. (Michael Kelley photo) Sarah Stearns, Shawn Hebert and Tom Schneller, of Scarborough’s Fire and Rescue Squad, were three of the several dozen customers who stopped by a charity lemonade stand on Woodfield Drive that was organized by, from left, Olivia O’Brien, Emma Spies, Emily Taggart, Ashley O’Brien and Charlotte Spies. (Michael Kelley photo) The volunteer-powered organization has scheduled more than 60,000 missions since 1996 and traveled more than 12 million miles.

One such child that has benefited from Angel Flight Northeast is Kyle St. Clair, a 7-year-old Woodfield Drive resident who suffers from lung disease and dysmotility, a gastrointestinal disease in which the muscles in the digestive tract don’t work properly.

“We started this because we wanted to save up for something, but then we decided to make this a benefit in honor of our neighbor who has used the Angel Flight program,” said Emma Spies, a student at Scarborough Middle School.


Charlotte Spies, Olivia O’Brien, Emma Spies, Emily Taggart and Ashley O’Brien organized a lemonade stand last week in honor of Kyle St. Clair, center, a friend and neighbor who has chronic lung and digestive diseases. (Michael Kelley photo) Charlotte Spies, Olivia O’Brien, Emma Spies, Emily Taggart and Ashley O’Brien organized a lemonade stand last week in honor of Kyle St. Clair, center, a friend and neighbor who has chronic lung and digestive diseases. (Michael Kelley photo) Ashley O’Brien, who is returning to Wentworth Intermediate School for another year this fall, said this is the third year the lemonade stand has benefited the Angel Flight Northeast program. Every year, she said, the event has become more and more successful. O’Brien said the event raised $400 in 2010. Last year that number increased to more than $1,000. Hope Taggart, Emily’s mother, said this week that this year’s effort raised more than $1,800. Donations are still coming in.

“It makes us feel good that the money is going to a good cause. Everyone who comes here wants to help us out,” Spies said.

“It is nice to know this is going to benefit people who are sick or in the hospital, but this is also a lot of fun,” Ashley O’Brien added.

Taggart, who is going to be a freshman at Scarborough High School in September, said the group began preparing for the event as soon as school let out for the summer. The group offered more than just lemonade at their stand. Aside from the popular summertime beverage, iced tea, whoopie pies, candy, cookies and other sweets were also for sale.

“We are very proud of them,” said Ashley and Olivia’s mother, Kara O’Brien. “Each one of them has reached out to their friends and members of the community for their support. They all have a lot of compassion for Kyle and his family.”

“Kids love to help out,” added Allison Spies, Emma and Charlotte’s mother. “If you foster that attitude at an early age, they continue it. It is a nice way to help bring awareness about Kyle and let him and him family know we are thinking of them because we don’t see him too often.”

Although he is currently in hospice fighting to live another day, Kyle and his mother, Kate St. Clair, were able to make an appearance at the lemonade stand.

St. Clair said the lemonade stand, which attracted dozens of customers over the three-hour period, was just another example of how much support the Scarborough community has given her and her family.

“It shows what Scarborough is like as a whole,” she said. “This is an example of how the Scarborough community has treated us since Kyle’s been sick.”

The lemonade stand is far from the only event that has been held recently to benefit the St. Clair family. Earlier this month members of the Portland Phoenix, a team in the United Soccer League’s Premier Development League, donated a portion of the proceeds from their July 14 game in Scarborough to the family. The day after the lemonade sale, on Friday, June 20, the Scarborough football program held a 20- mile walk-a-thon to raise money for the program and the St. Clair family.

These events are but three of the many charity events that have been held with Kyle in mind.

“It hasn’t just been one event. It has been numerous events. Every time there is something that benefits Kyle, there are so many people that come out to show their support. I am always surprised when people who don’t even know Kyle come,” St. Clair said.

St. Clair said right now she and her family are trying to keep Kyle as happy as possible.

“He has been home on hospice for the last few months. We are just trying to keep him comfortable and happy for the time that he has left,” St. Clair said.

St. Clair said it is difficult to put into words what the community support has meant to her, her family and Kyle during these difficult years.

“I can’t explain how grateful and thankful we are for all the support. Kyle is a pretty remarkable kid,” she said.

One group that has continued to show support for all the St. Clairs have gone through is the Scarborough Fire and Rescue Department.

“Fire and rescue went to Kyle’s home a lot his first few years. It was not uncommon to see them at the top of our street over the years. They have been very connected to him,” Hope Taggart said.

In fact, a few of the on-duty fire and rescue personnel, including Sarah Stearns, Shawn Hebert and Tom Schneller, stopped by the lemonade stand to show their support and get a quick cup of lemonade.

“We’re familiar with what they are dealing with,” Stearns said. “We heard about this last year and we’ll continue to come down and show our support every year it continues.”

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 237.

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