3 for Faith: Shelton children raise money for a cause

Alex and Emma D’Amico and their friend Megan Loiacano

Alex and Emma D’Amico and their friend Megan Loiacano

3 for Faith

Two years ago, Shelton residents and twin sisters Alex and Emma D’Amico had an idea. Like many children their age, they wanted to run a lemonade stand but with a twist. All of the money they earned would be directly donated to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, specifically Smilow Cancer Hospital.

“They said they wanted to do a lemonade stand and I’m thinking, ‘How much money could they possibly raise?’” said mother Amy D’Amico, a teacher at Perry Hill School. “I couldn’t believe it when they ended the day with over $500.”

The grand total raised back in 2013 was $545 and the D’Amico family handed a check to Closer to Free, a fund at Yale that assists specifically with cancer research and patient care.

Donating to help children with cancer is an issue near and dear to the D’Amico family’s heart. Alex and Emma’s young cousin, who recently turned three years old, had battled cancer twice already in his short life. In Illinois, the staff at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has taken care of him as he continues to improve and beat the odds.

Earlier this year, the D’Amicos were out to dinner at Carmine’s Ristorante on River Road with their good friends, the Loiacano family. The twins began filling in Megan, who is a year younger, on their lemonade stand. The three decided to team up to run the stand once again, and form a group called 3 For Faith.

The trio came together to find different ways to raise money and donate to those in need, and their first endeavor together would be a joint lemonade stand.

“We called ourselves 3 For Faith because there’s three of us and because we’re faithful. We want to help other people,” explained Alex.

This past Saturday, Aug. 15, they set up at the end of Bristol Drive in Shelton. Amy and Michael D’Amico, along with Dom and Susan Loiacano, took to Facebook to spread the word in the days leading up to the event. The girls set a goal of raising $750 to donate, which would far surpass their previous total, but what ended up happening shocked them all.

“People were driving up and handing us $20 bills and didn’t want anything in return,” said Alex. “I thought only half the amount of people would come,” chimed in Emma.

At one point, Dom Loiacano estimated there were more than 40 people at the stand. Some purchased lemonade and baked goods, while others simply wanted to make a donation and go on their way. There was a stream of friends, family, and neighbors for several hours. The stand was only meant to be open from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. but the girls stayed outside longer, as more showed up to contribute.

When the girls finally sat down to total up their donations, they had nearly tripled what they had earned two years prior, taking in more than $1500.

“I was surprised so many people came to our lemonade stand and it was great how generous everyone was,” said Megan.

To learn more about Closer To Free, which will hold their next biking event to raise money for Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven on Saturday Sept. 12, visit rideclosertofree.org.

 

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