Liza Scott is the young girl from Alabama who started a lemonade stand to raise money for the three brain surgeries doctors decided she needed after she suffered a grand mal seizure. Scott’s mother also started an online fundraising campaign to pay for the medical expenses and the effort has far exceeded the family’s expectations.
Scott’s story has resonated with thousands of donors nationwide. The “Lemonade for Liza – Zest for Life w/ Brain Surgery” page has raised more than $250,000. Scott’s mother, Elizabeth Scott, told WIAT-TV they plan to use the extra funds to help other families in need. The 7-year-old also intends to keep selling lemonade after her surgeries to continue to raise money for others.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Liza Scott Was Selling Lemonade for 25 Cents But Her Campaign Took off & Raised $250,000 Within Days
— Malique (@MaliqueRankin) February 25, 2021
— Malique (@MaliqueRankin) February 25, 2021
Scott launched her lemonade stand at Savage’s Bakery in Homewood, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. Her grandfather and mother own the bakery. As Scott explained to WIAT-TV reporter Malique Rankin, cups of lemonade cost 25 cents each. She also sold cookies and candy canes for $1 apiece.
Scott said she launched this entrepreneurial endeavor because she needs three brain surgeries. When explaining why she had added cookies and candy canes to her lemonade stand, Scott told Rankin, “I like to just have them extra to just make sure that I get enough money to have, you know, surgeries.”
According to the local outlet, Scott’s lemonade stand fundraiser had started to attract broader attention when Rankin interviewed her on February 25. The online campaign had raised about $6,000 at that point.
2. Doctors Discovered Multiple Abnormalities in Scott’s Brain After She Suffered a Grand Mal Seizure in Late January
Scott’s life was drastically altered on January 30 when she suffered a grand mal seizure. According to the Mayo Clinic, this type of seizure “causes a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions” and is caused by “abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain.”
Scott’s mother explained on the online fundraising page that the seizure revealed abnormalities in the little girl’s brain. Elizabeth Scott wrote on the account:
We have learned in the last few weeks that Liza’s brain is extra special — created by God, made perfect in His image, beautiful in its intricacies. Neurologists and Neurosurgeons at Children’s in Birmingham uncovered multiple cerebral malformations in Liza’s brain that require immediate attention to prevent further seizure, possible bleeding or hemorrhage, or stroke.
In most every instance of these rare malformations, doctors only see one malformation — in Liza’s case, she has 3 — the first a Schizencephaly (or cleft) — the second a Parietal Arteriovenous Malformation – or AVM (You and I know it as an aneurysm) — and lastly, a Dural Arteriovenous Fistula (DAVM) – or very rare vascular condition where abnormal connections (fistulas) are made between branches of arteries and veins.
3. Elizabeth Scott Has Descibed the Support for Her Daughter as ‘Overwhelming’
Elizabeth Scott told WIAT-TV she acquired additional health insurance to pay for her daughter’s three brain surgeries. The operations are taking place at Boston Children’s Hospital. She said the family had initially expected to pay at least $10,000 out-of-pocket for extra medical expenses, travel costs and to pay for a hotel in Boston.
Elizabeth Scott started the fundraiser to cover those costs but said she never expected it to blow up the way it did. “I live paycheck to paycheck like a lot of Americans do. I have never had that much money to consider paying a bill with,” Elizabeth Scott told WIAT-TV. “It’s been overwhelming, but amazing. It’s kind of allowed me to step away from some of the emotions… I never expected any of this. America is really, really great.”
Liza Scott’s mother further explained on the online fundraiser that the money will help the family get by as Liza recovers after the surgeries:
We will spend several weeks from home during each surgery, away from her 3-year-old brother, family and friends, embarking on a journey we never saw coming. And though the journey ahead is not paved with assurances, we find peace and comfort in knowing it is paved with the promises of God — His protection, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, and His love.
As with any medical journey, the overwhelming additional expenses, time away from work, and additional resources needed to keep up with things at home is already piling up. The next year will require a tremendous commitment of our family, our business, and anyone who is willing to join in this journey with us. As a single mom to two amazing gifts from God, it is taking a village to care for Liza, my 3 year old little boy, Finnley, our puppy Millie, and our home. I find comfort in knowing that God always provides, and He is already moving mountains and showing me that He has us in the palm of His hand.
I'm getting a JEEP !! Ok, maybe not now of course, but when I can drive !! So many Jeeps came to see me today and it was the most fun ever!! Thank you everyone!! #lemonadeforliza #lizaslemonade https://t.co/Do1BEdy5ZV
— Liza's Lemonade (liza scott) (@lizaslemonade) March 1, 2021
In addition to the online donations, the family has also received in-person support at the lemonade stand in Homewood. On February 28, dozens of people from Jeep Wrangler organizations in Alabama came to Homewood to buy Liza’s lemonade and wish her well, as WIAT-TV reported. Elizabeth Scott posted a photo of her daughter with all of the people that gathered at the bakery that day.
Liza Scott shared her excitement on a Twitter account set up in her name, writing, “I’m getting a JEEP !! Ok, maybe not now of course, but when I can drive !! So many Jeeps came to see me today and it was the most fun ever!! Thank you everyone!!”
4. The Family Is Headed to Boston on March 4 & Liza Scott’s Mother Has Opened up About How Her Daughter Is Scared
Liza Scott, her mother and grandfather Van Scott will travel to Boston on March 4, according to a Twitter account set up in Liza’s name. Her first brain surgery is scheduled for the week of March 8, according to the online fundraiser.
Elizabeth Scott set up a Facebook blog to keep family and friends updated on her daughter’s journey. She has been open about how Liza has been struggling with this new reality. Elizabeth Scott has written about how as a mother, it breaks her heart to see her daughter scared and upset about needing to go to Boston and undergo the three surgeries.
She wrote in part on February 28, “As we near our departure date to Boston, Liza has become more expressive in her feelings towards all that she faces. She is the strongest little girl I know and has wisdom and maturity beyond her years. Though in the quiet moments, at home, behind the scenes at the bakery, outside playing, she at times falls apart. She is scared, doesn’t want surgery, doesn’t want to struggle, says she is not getting on an airplane to Boston, and tries adamantly to take back control of her life. As a mom I want to be able to tell her — ‘okay honey, we don’t have to go’ — though instead I sit quietly and listen. I let her vent, cry, scream, throw a toy across the room, and storm out, slamming the door behind her. And then I pray. She quickly goes back to playing, watching a show on Netflix, drawing, and being herself. And I thank God as I embrace my sweet little girl with a hug and tell her that we are in this together, that God is protecting her, loving her, and has paved the way for her to be cared for by the best surgeons in the world.”
Liza Scott also expressed fears about the journey ahead when she spoke to WIAT-TV on February 25. “I hope I make it,” Liza told the reporter. “My mom keeps saying I’m going to, but I feel like I’m not.”
5. Liza Scott’s Mom Has Been Helping Run the Family-Owned Bakery Since 2018
The bakery where Liza Scott set up her lemonade stand is a family business. Her grandfather and mother are the co-owners of Savage’s Bakery in Homewood. Elizabeth Scott shared on the company’s Facebook page that she and her father, Van Scott, were “entrusting the bakery operations to our amazing team” while they traveled to Boston for Liza’s surgeries.
According to her LinkedIn account, Elizabeth Scott has been running the bakery with her father since 2018. Prior to going into business with her father, Elizabeth Scott co-founded an organization called Cohn’s Culinary & Hospitality Management Academy in Washington, D.C. The group’s website explained that the academy served to “educate, empower and develop the youth and young adults in the District of Columbia as the next generation of culinary and restaurant professionals and entrepreneurs.” The organization shut down in September 2018, according to Open Corporates.
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