Lemonade Stand, Crowdsourcing to Help Fund Girl's Brain Surgery

Ralph Ellis

March 05, 2021

March 5, 2021 — Liza Scott's family is raising money for her upcoming brain surgery the old-fashioned way — and the new-fashioned way.

 

Liza, 7, has raised about $15,000 selling lemonade for 25 cents a glass at the stand she set up inside her mother's bakery in Homewood, AL.

The Mighty Cause crowdsourcing page had brought in more than $350,000 from nearly 7,000 donors as of Friday morning.

"It just keeps pouring in," Liza's mother, Elizabeth Scott, told the Today show. "That's just an unbelievable amount of love and support. There aren't even words. It's hard to wrap your head around it."

Liza's problem was discovered about a month ago when she began having seizures at night.  

Today said Liza was diagnosed with a schizencephaly, a parietal arteriovenous malformation, and a dural arteriovenous fistula. The first is "a cleft in the brain likely from when the brain didn't close up properly; the second a bundle of blood vessels; and the last involves faulty connections between a vein and an artery," Today reported.

The surgery will be performed at Boston Children's Hospital. Liza's family's health insurance will pay for most of the medical costs, but Liza set up the lemonade stand because she wanted to help pay for out-of-pocket and travel costs, which will be ongoing.

Allison Sesso, executive director of RIP Medical Debt, an organization that buys people's medical debt and forgives it, told the morning show that crowdsourcing to cover health care costs is a "uniquely American" response.

"GoFundMe has said that 1 in 3 of their fundraisers — that's a huge percentage — is for medical bills," she said. "The reality is most people fail to make what they're trying to make."

The COVID-19 pandemic is making big-ticket medical bills a growing problem, Sesso said.

"It's a trend that has been increasing," she said. "Unfortunately, the friends and family are increasingly unable to make as much of a donation because everyone's financially impacted."

Liza is scheduled for surgery on Monday and is expected to spend about 2 weeks in the hospital in Boston.

Liza's mother said any extra money they raised might go to Liza's ongoing care, but they do want to help other families facing the same high medical bills.

"Liza loves to help others," Scott said. "We would love to be able to help other families in our shoes — once we're past the big hurdles."

Sources:

Today: "Girl, 7, sells lemonade to pay for brain surgery."

Mighty Cause: "Lemonade for Liza — Zest for Life w/ Brain Surgery."

RIP Medical Debt: "Allison Sesso, Executive Director."

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