It was a hot summer, but for three Shelton girls on a mission, it didn’t matter. They had a goal to sell lemonade to fight pediatric cancer and raised over $6,000 in the process.
Twins Emma and Alex D’Amico, 12, and their friend Megan Loiacano, 11, sold nearly 12 gallons of lemonade, cookies, and knitted crafts on Aug. 20. They presented a check to Smilow Cancer Center on Aug. 26. The check will be given to Closer to Free Pediatric Oncology.
Emma said she and Alex came up with the idea for the fundraiser because their cousin Connor had cancer. Also, she said family members of them and Megan have cancer, so they wanted to do something to help. The two started in 2014 and Megan, who met the girls at dance class, started helping in 2015.
The girls call themselves and their fundraiser “Three for Faith.” They came up with the name over dinner, Alex said. She said they had wanted to something with the word three in its title to represent all the girls.
“We were out to dinner one night and one of us thought of faith, and so “Three for Faith” kind of came along,” Alex said. “We feel like there’s three of us, and we have faith we can make a difference.”
Alex designed a website called www.3forfaith.weebly.com, the girls designed brochures and flyers, and this year t-shirts were made with their logo on front and a penny on back. The penny design had the year 2016 inside and under it read, “Penny by Penny, We make a difference.”
The girls have been making a difference for three years.
They begin preparing for the event three months in advance by knitting items and working with their parents to get the word out. Over the past three events, they have seen their efforts pour in from the community. Michael D’Amico, Emma and Alexandra’s father, said over 100 people attended the events, which was held on the family’s lawn. Neighbors and Shelton residents purchased lemonade, cookies, knitted items and t-shirts, which sold for $20 each.
The twins raised $500 the first year, Megan (who joined the second year) and the twins raised $1,750 the second year, and this year, they raised $3,300. An additional $3,000 was donated this year by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union #488.
The girls have all said they enjoy the event and like helping others. They would like to either pursue careers fundraising or helping people when they get older. However, they are proud of their accomplishments now.
“Overall, I think it’s such a fun thing to do and it’s a great cause to give to, and I’m so glad that we started this,” Alexandra said. “It certainly brought us closer together as friends and brought other people closer. It’s just an amazing thing to do.”
“For me I feel happy about it because I know it’s going to go for a good cause,” Megan said. “I’m proud of myself; I’m proud of Alex and Emma, and I’m proud of everyone’s ability.”
“I’m thankful we have great parents, and we all met and thankful to everyone who donated to us,” Emma said.
The parents of the girls are very proud too.
“We’re just proud of the girls. It’s a fun afternoon, and they work really hard and once the day comes, they really enjoy it,” Dominic Loiacano said. “Whether we are making ten dollars or six thousand dollars, I think they have fun with it. I think the idea that they work so hard, and they see it come to fruition makes me proud. I just enjoy seeing the smiles on their face, and they are bursting that day.”
“We’re extremely proud of them; they do a great job,” D’Amico said. “What they’re doing not only raises money but they have succeeded in bringing our neighborhood and community together.”
The fathers have said the girls will most likely continue the fundraiser next year, but if anyone would like to make a donation now, they can go to the website Closertofree.org and specify they would like to donate to Closer to Free Pediatric Oncology. Closer to Free can also be reached at 203-200-2837.