When Nemiah Martinez’s mother, Paloma, was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease last year, she knew the family would need a miracle to cover the medical expenses. So, the 11-year-old took matters into her own hands.
In April, Martinez, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, opened a lemonade stand in the neighborhood, selling three different flavors to raise money to help her mother travel to the Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus where she’ll begin the process of receiving life-saving kidney and pancreas transplants, KVIA reported.
“Something just came up in my head. I just wanted to help her. ‘Why not make a lemonade stand?’ ” Martinez told the station. “It’s really hard for her anytime she gets out of bed, she’s struggling. If she needs help cleaning, I always do it for her. I just feel really bad for her, so I just try to do the best I can do for her.”
At just $1.50 a cup, Martinez never thought her lemonade stand would raise a significant amount of money when she set up shop outside of a local thrift store, according to Las Cruces Sun-News. Still, she persisted. At the end of the first day, a generous customer gave Martinez $100, encouraging the girl to set up the stand again the next day outside of her family’s home, the Sun-News said.
“I’m all like, ‘Well what are you going to do with your money?’ ” Paloma told KVIA of a conversation she had with her daughter. “She’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t want it for nothing. This is for you so you can go to the Mayo Clinic.’ I’m like, ‘No, baby. You worked for it, you keep it.’ She said, ‘No, mom. I’ve been wanting to do this so we can get you to the Mayo Clinic.’ “
Martinez has also set up a GoFundMe page to help her ailing mother. She has already far surpassed her $650 goal.
“My mommy has always taken care of me and I want to take care of her,” Martinez wrote on the fundraising page last month, noting that she had raised $210.50 from the lemonade stand.
“I am so happy. I see how much my mom is struggling and all I want to do is help her, if you see me around town, I hope that you stop by.”
As for Paloma, the doting mother said she’s proud of her daughter.
“We never expected to get to this point,” she told the Sun-News. “We want to say thank you to the community because you guys are making this possible. You helping my little girl feel, you know, empowered that she’s able to do something for other people.”
Paloma said Nemiah will shut down her lemonade stand just before her appointment in Arizona. At the clinic, she will undergo several preliminary tests to determine her eligibility for the national transplant list.”