3rd-Grader’s Lemonade Stand Raises $5K for Cancer Research

Santino and Michael Beach 2016

They say when life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade — and that’s exactly what Santino Carnevale, age 9 of West Jefferson, Ohio, did with the goal of supporting cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

The young man is no stranger to the word “cancer” — he has watched numerous family members battle the disease, including his late grandfather, Franklin County Sheriff Jim Karnes, who lost a battle with pancreatic cancer in 2011, and his dad, Michael Carnevale, who is currently living with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of head and neck cancer that occurs in just 1,200 people each year.

“For kids not used to cancer, it’s frightening. I have had too many family members who have fought cancer. Some have lost their fight, but that doesn’t stop me. I want to help find a cure so one day the world will be cancer-free,” Santino said.

And so the young man decided to take action. Every year, the community of West Jefferson holds an Ox Roast – a celebration of fellowship and fun that nearly everyone in the close-knit community attends. Santino had the idea to host a lemonade stand during the Ox Roast parade to raise money for cancer research. People heard about his goal of raising money and supported him by donating water and baked goods.

Santino lemonade stand

During his fundraising campaign, he raised $5,000 for head and neck cancer research at the OSUCCC – James. Ted Teknos, MD, chair of the department of otolaryngology, plans to put the money to good use to study the biology of adenoid cystic carcinoma so scientists can develop new treatment regimens for the disease.

Santino is planning to hit the parade route again this year to raise more funds for cancer research. He will once again be serving up lemonade and other donated items at the West Jefferson Ox Roast Parade (in front of the Huntington Bank, corner of Main and Center Street) on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, beginning at 11 a.m. (The parade starts at noon). Following the parade, he will continue serving lemonade in front of 92 S. Center Street until 4 p.m.

“My husband learned he had this awful disease 10 days after learning he would soon be a father. From that day forward, every day of his cancer journey has been a battle to be sure Santino would know his dad,” says Brooke Carnevale, Santino’s mother, Michael’s wife and daughter of the late Sheriff Karnes. “One of the reasons this disease is so deadly is that there is so little research being done. To say we are proud of Santino for having emotional maturity to channel this experience into doing something good for others in an understatement, and we are so thankful for the community support in finding a cure.”

To make a gift in support of Santino and his family, visit go.osu.edu/Santino. Donations can also be made to the Sheriff Jim Karnes Cancer Fund at any Huntington Bank.