PERU, N.Y. (WCAX) The American Cancer Society says Multiple Myeloma is a relatively rare cancer found in about 1 in 132 people. Two North Country kids are bringing awareness to the bone marrow cancer in a sweet way.
If you've traveled along Plains Road in Peru this summer, you likely saw Sadie Morse and Ava Hamborski's lemonade stand.
The inseparable duo have been friends since kindergarten and they do just about everything together. This summer was no different. But this year, instead of just playing and making lemonade, they are also trying to help Steve Estes, Sadie's stepdad.
"My my stepdad has a kind of cancer called Multiple Myeloma," Morse said.
"It made me very proud of her, I'm going to cry... I'm just so proud of her and I'm very touched," said Nikki Morse, Sadie's mom.
Estes was diagnosed with the cancer in January after complaining about back problems. He underwent a stem cell transplant in July.
"We don't have a real handle on what causes it. It's not caused by smoking or the kind of things that you think of ordinarily," said Dr. Eric Pillemer, medical director at Adirondack Health's Merrill Center for Oncology.
The family travels down to New York City for treatments, but that can get a little costly. That's where the girls got the idea for a lemonade stand.
"We can raise money for all the trips and tickets that we need to buy for New York," Morse said.
And passersby are chipping in, stopping at the stand and cooling down with a lemonade or picking up a bracelet to support Estes' fight. They've raised $1,000 so far.
Unfortunately, the battle against cancer is one this family knows all too well. "My actual dad died of cancer when I was a baby," Morse said.
There is currently no cure for the bone marrow cancer, but Pillemer says the research is promising. "Researchers are really thinking that we may be entering a phase were we can start talking about cure for Myeloma, where people will be able to get off treatment and live a normal lifespan," he said.
Estes is back home now. He returns to New York City next week. They'll find out in October if his stem cell transplant was a success. Meanwhile his stepdaughter and her best friend are reminding a community that when life hands you lemons, to make lemonade.
"There's a lot of nice people around here," Morse said.