Cameron Moore, a boy from Topeka, Kansas, realized he could give back to children with disabilities and their families at a young age. His brother, Easton, was born with DiGeorge syndrome, a rare genetic disorder associated with poor development of several systems in the body. Growing up, Moore saw the organization TARC Children’s Services giving Easton in-home support.
Easton died before his second birthday, but two years later, Moore started a lemonade stand fundraiser for TARC. Now 9 years old, Moore hosted his fifth annual “Easton Moore Memorial Lemonade Stand” this weekend with his family. To date, he’s raised more than $14,000 for the organization. As a result, the Moore family plans to start their own nonprofit organization this summer in Easton’s name with the first $1,000 raised at the sale.
“Our hope is to provide a small financial ease for families who are facing the challenge of caring for a sweet babe with different abilities,” Easton and Cameron’s mother, Jessica, told the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Easton was enrolled in TARC’s program for infants to 3-years-olds who have developmental, intellectual, and related disabilities. Moore had the idea to donate to TARC all on his own, Sherry Lundry, development director at TARC Children’s Services, told Global Citizen.
Moore opened his first lemonade stand when he was four because he wanted a new scooter. Once he raised more than enough money to buy the toy, he chose to give the rest to TARC. The fundraising event has grown so much that they’ve moved it from their house to the parking lot at a local school. This time, his mother baked 380 cupcakes and dozens of cookies to prepare.
Lundry hasn’t heard how much money the Moores collected at this year’s event, but they've donated $3,000 to $4,000 of the proceeds at a time to TARC in the past. The donations go a long way for the children whose parents struggle to cover expensive costs of medical attention.
“We were started by a group of families who had children [with disabilities] and were told they’d need to put them in an institution,” Lundry explained. “They said, ‘No, we’re not going to, they’re going to be part of our family.’”
Disability rights advocates say that institutionalizing children with disabilities, cuts millions of children off from society, disrupts brain development, and violates children’s rights. Initiatives like Moore’s fundraiser help ensure children who need extra resources can continue to live with their parents in safe environments.
“He’s an amazing young man,” Lundry told Global Citizen. “We’re very fortunate for what he brings to our organization. We can’t thank him enough.”