GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- A local boy who captured the hearts and attention of people in Northeast Ohio with his 'Kool-Aid for a Cause' stand learned Sunday that he reached his goal.
Michael Diamond, 8, was attempting to raise enough money to cover his grandmother’s funeral expenses.
Bobbie Diamond-Anderson, 52, passed away on Father's Day from a long battle with cancer.
The family was unsure how they could properly bury her while also covering the medical bills.
“We were thinking of all kinds of things,” said Teresa Diamond, Michael’s mother.
Once Michael overheard his parents talking about how much the funeral would cost, he immediately wanted to help.
His mother, Teresa Diamond, said the family had some money, but they still needed about $5,000 more.
“He just came up and said 'can I have a Kool-Aid stand, I want to help out with the funeral,' and I told him 'yeah' because that’s what she would have said. Just let him do it. Even if he makes 20 cents, let him do it,” said Teresa.
Michael began selling several flavors of Kool-Aid and other beverages on his street in Garfield Heights Monday from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; but he had to extend the hours as word spread of his efforts, with people coming from all over Northeast Ohio to donate.
Even Garfield Heights Mayor Vic Collova stopped by Sunday.
“People talk about the bad youths all the time,” said Mayor Collova, “But, this is something just phenomenal and we wanted to be a part of it.”
Michael’s mother, Teresa, said that Michael and his grandmother had a very close relationship, and that the loss has been hard on him. But the kindness shown by strangers at the Kool-Aid stand has helped.
“It’s been really tough and overwhelming. We’ve had tears; we’ve had hugs,” said Teresa Diamond.
But did they raise enough money?
By Sunday afternoon, the family had their answer when they counted $5,000.
“It felt good,” said Michael, “It felt like I wanted to scream.”
The family could’ve shut down the stand, but Michael wanted to keep it open until 8:00 p.m. and said the extra money could go to another family facing the same situation.
One woman hugged Michael and said, “Your grandma would be so proud of you; you know that? You keep being the strong young man you are.”
His grandmother may be gone, but it was clear to everyone who stopped by the stand that her generous spirit lives on in Michael.
Finally, as the last cup was poured, the sweet boy with the brilliant smile thanked everyone for donating money and purchasing beverages.
He said he knows his grandma is smiling down on him from heaven.
“She was real special; she was a real special lady.”