Boy opens lemonade stand to support newborn brother with a rare and life-threatening disease

“I’m gonna spend it on doctor’s bills and stuff, and buy him a teddy bear too"
June 28, 2018 11:51 am Last Updated: June 28, 2018 11:51 am

The old saying says “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”—when life throws misfortune your way, keep your chin up and make the best of things.

That’s never been truer than for one Greenwood, South Carolina family. When they were struck by tragic news, their young son took the initiative to make things better.


When Matt Emery and his wife Melissa gave birth to their son Dylan earlier this year, they were thrilled—but no one was more excited than their 9-year-old son, Andrew, who couldn’t wait to have a little brother.

“I wanted her to have a boy,” Andrew told the Index-Journal. “There’s too many girls at home.”

But recently, the family got some upsetting news about six-month-old Dylan:

He was diagnosed with Krabbe disease, a rare and often fatal condition with no cure.

Krabbe disease is a neurological disorder that destroys the protective coating of the brain’s nerve cells, resulting in progressive damage to the nervous system.

With their baby’s future uncertain, Matt & Melissa have taken him to see a specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

(Facebook/Team DYLAN) 

Back at home, Andrew frequently checks in on his brother on Facetime.

And all on his own, he came up with a great idea to help Dylan as he fights for his life.

He started a lemonade stand!

It’s a classic way for kids to make some money—but in Andrew’s case, he wanted to put it all towards his brother’s medical expenses.

“I’m gonna spend it on doctor’s bills and stuff, and buy him a teddy bear too,” Andrew said.

“I just want to help Dylan. He’s my baby brother.”

(Facebook/Team DYLAN)

When his parents got word of the plan, they were incredibly proud of their son.

“We were all very proud of Andrew and the courageous love he has for his brother,” Michelle Emery told ABC News.

“As his Daddy, I was very proud, he’s got a heart of gold, he’s such a good kid to set a fundraiser up at just 9 years old. It’s just impressive,” Matt said.

“I told him, ‘I didn’t care if you raised $5 or $500.’ I was extremely proud.”

(Facebook/Team DYLAN)

But Andrew made far more than $5. Thanks to social media, word spread—and the community came out to show their support.

Since Matt Emery is a Greenwood County deputy, local law enforcement officers showed up to support the stand, as did teachers from Andrew’s school, Woodfields Elementary.

“We’re praying for that baby, and I’d do anything in the world to help Andrew,” instructional assistant Jeannie Davis told the Index-Journal.

“This is a small community where most have grown up together, but the outpouring of love and support for this family was truly amazing,” Michelle told ABC News.

(Facebook/Team DYLAN)

Selling just $1 lemonade and $5 stickers, the kids brought in an astounding amount of money.

They raised nearly $6,000!

“He raised $5,860 in just two hours,” Matt said. “You wouldn’t think a lemonade stand could do that much in such a short amount of time.”

(Facebook/Team DYLAN)

The family will continue their fight for Dylan’s life. They have a Facebook page set up for updates, as well as a GoFundMe fundraising page.

With an uncertain future, they’re also just spending as much time with Dylan as possible. He is scheduled to return home from the hospital soon, and Andrew already has plans:

“I’m going to hug him,” he told the Index-Journal.