When 10-year-old Olivia Ohlson was informed that her mother, Gini, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she immediately knew she wanted to do anything to help.
The Illinois native recalled “I always wanted to have a lemonade sale and when my mom got cancer I wanted to raise funds for women like her, I thought that since I wanted to raise money, I could have a lemonade stand.”
The fifth-grader enlisted the help of her grandmother to make the stand outside her home and then had the idea to contact local bakeries, asking for donations.
One of the people that she called was Gretchen Vetter of Tag’s Bakery in Evanston, who said that upon receiving the phone call, “It was very touching, I was very moved by it so I was more than willing to help.” Olivia’s intention was to sell cookies in the shape of pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness.
Incredibly, Olivia raised a huge $4,500 in one bake sale, in addition to online donations from family, friends and people who heard about the touching story.
While putting on the bake sale, Olivia particularly enjoyed interacting with her customers and donated the proceeds to Northshore Kellogg Cancer Center, where her mother, Gini Olson was being treated.
She said “I know my mom has lots of family and friends who take care of her but other people don’t so they need more support, by giving Kellogg money they can use it for patients.”
Gina Ohlson has been going through a tough cancer battle, after doctors finding cancer in both of her breasts. Following her double mastectomy, she has undergone 8 rounds of chemo, just half of her required 16.
However, Gina’s cancer was detected early and she said, “My doctor told me that if I hadn’t had my mammogram, we wouldn’t have felt anything for a year to three years and I would have had a very different diagnosis, that’s really given me a positive attitude.”
Gina said she was incredibly proud of her daughter, explaining, “She didn’t just go with the fun part, she brought everything out, made the signs, did the display and had friends who came and helped her during the sale as well.”
Finally, Dr. Bruce Brockstein of the NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center, added, “My colleagues and I here at the NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center are so appreciative of Olivia’s efforts to help our breast cancer patients. I hope that her efforts inspire others of all ages to support those who are going through cancer treatment.”