ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) – 12-year-old Fiona Duncan has been the operator of a popular lemonade stand in Elyria for the past three years.
Each year, Fiona uses the proceeds from her lemonade and cookie sales to support charities that she has grown to admire through careful research.
“It really inspired me because I want to help kids like me,” she said.
Life has not been easy for Fiona. She was born with a condition called Craniosynostosis, which causes the bones in a baby’s skull to fuse together prematurely, leaving no room for the brain to grow.
Fiona’s parents say over the years, she has endured reconstructive surgeries and long hospital stays.
“I always call her my little trooper. She is such a good kid. She gets so nervous and gets so worried, but then she worries about everybody else,” said her mother, Caitlin Valley.
Her stepfather, Brandon Valley, added, “You look at her, you would never know she’s had all these surgeries. She’s been through everything that she has been, and she just always has a positive outlook.”
Fiona’s charity this year is called Mercy Ships, an organization that operates floating hospitals and provides medical care in disadvantaged parts of the world.
Fiona says her inspiration is knowing that children on the other side of the globe can get the help they need.
“It makes me feel really good inside, knowing that I successfully helped someone, that I saved a life that day,” she said.
At the same time, it’s Fiona who serves as the inspiration for her loyal customers.
“I used to do lemonade stands when I was younger, so I was like, ‘okay, they’re out here working, so come out and support them,’” said Olivia Garcia. “To find out that it’s for other people who need help, that’s something great and at such a young age, just amazing really.”
Fiona‘s parents post the days and hours of operation for her lemonade stand each week on the community Facebook page, Elyria’s Front Porch.