Photo by Anjie Baumgartner: Ariana Scoggins and Abbygail Freeman.

A lemonade stand will be open for business on Sunday, May 3, at 1:00 p.m. in the parking lot of Bensman Automotive, located at 2418 State St. in Alton.

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“Lemonade Stand for Ariana” was thought of by a young girl with a big heart, in support of a local family fighting a cancerous battle.

Eight-year-old Abbygail Freeman came home from school one day and asked her mother, Lacey Freeman, if she could raise money for one of her classmates, nine-year-old Ariana Scoggins. When Lacey asked why, her response was simply, “because she has cancer.

“I just wanted to help and be nice,” said Abbygail. “Because she is my friend and she is nice to people and she is pretty. She is as sweet as a cupcake.”

Just over a year ago, Ariana Scoggins was diagnosed with Grade Four Medulloblastoma, which is an aggressive form of brain cancer. Beginning with a successful tumor resection surgery on April 9, 2014, her hospital visits became ritual. She endured 30 rounds of radiation with 13 of them being spinal-cranial and 17 using proton therapy, which is specific to the tumor site. Her maintenance protocol called for nine inpatient rounds of chemotherapy, in which she has two left. Ariana has had multiple blood and platelet transfusions.

“This has not been a road that I would want anyone to travel down, but I do know that we are loved,” said Angela Scoggins, Ariana’s mother. “This battle is being defeated because of the heart of my daughter and a loving, praying community. ”

Ariana has touched the hearts of many and for Abbygail it is an opportunity to give. Lacey agreed to do something for Ariana’s family and brought up the idea of a lemonade stand.

“Abbygail got really excited and asked almost every day when we were going to have it,” said Lacey.

Lacey planned to host the lemonade stand later in the summer when the weather was warmer, but a recent gofundme.com page caught her attention on social media. It was then that she learned Ariana's mother, Angela Scoggins, was having car issues, making it difficult to get Ariana to her doctor appointments.

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“We decided that now was the perfect time for the lemonade stand,” said Lacey. “It started as something small and within just a few days, it has grown larger than we could have imagined.”

“Lemonade for Ariana” will open at 1:00 p.m. at Bensman Automotive. Abbygail will serve lemonade and baked treats for donations to help Ariana and her family.

“Words cannot express how proud I am of Abbygail,” said Lacey. “She does not understand cancer, but she knows it makes you sick and just wanted to help. Most 8-year-olds are worried about chasing the ice cream man and she is worried about helping others."

After deciding to coordinate the lemonade stand, Lacey knew she would need a little help from the community and created an event on Facebook to invite people out to the occasion. CLICK HERE to see event.

Abbygail Freeman proudly shows off the supplies collected for “Within minutes, we had an outpouring of people offering cups and lemonade,” said Lacey. “Then we had to find a location. Luckily we were given a great location without any hesitation. Now we just need to spread the word and get people to come out and donate to Ariana and her family.”

“I thought that Abbygail having this idea was amazing,” said Angela Scoggins. “She truly has a heart of gold. I was very happy, I cried.”

Lacey says Abbygail has been very helpful with giving ideas, picking up donations, organizing, and will be handing out drinks at the lemonade stand.

“I hope that people can see that one small idea by one person can make a difference,” said Lacey. “Ariana is battling cancer and any time you see her, she is smiling. Abbygail is the girl that is friends with everyone and wants to help. They are coming together to make a difference for a special little girl. I think we could all learn something from them.”

“Its just such an outpouring of love,” said Angela. “I cannot wait until we are able to fully pay forward all of the many blessings bestowed on us. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

To donate, visit Ariana's Unique Army of Angels on GoFundMe.com.

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