DRACUT -- On the morning of July 28, Julia Degnan set up her second annual lemonade stand at her aunt's home in Dracut to benefit Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
With the help of her family, the 10-year-old Dracut resident draped a yellow-and-white striped tablecloth on a long table and taped signs on its edge. She arranged chairs and bracelets she planned on giving to anyone who donated or bought cup of lemonade. By the time she was ready to close her stand at 3 p.m., Julia had raised $1,000.
That's not all.
According to Julia's mother, Bethany Degnan, additional donations have also poured in to a PayPal account she set up. And the owner of Brodie Toyota-Lift, a Lawrence-based forklift dealer where Julia's father, Brian Degnan, works as its vice president of operations, also matched donations from employees, adding another $1,800 that would be given directly to the hospital. In total, $4,580 was raised.
"I was really happy 'cause we raised a lot more money than last year and can get a lot more stuff than last year," Julia said Tuesday of her stand's success.
Julia's interest in purchasing toys for the hospital's Neely Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit is fueled by her stay there. Early last year, she stayed overnight at Floating Hospital for Children for surgery to have an atrium septal defect closure on her heart, and had to be readmitted later after developing a blood clot on her atrium.
Due to the vulnerability of the child patients' immune systems, they are not permitted to leave the unit to go to Ace's Place Playroom, another play area at the hospital with toys, arcade games, and more.
Through her first lemonade stand Julia raised $1,200 to purchase Kindles for the child patients' use and also gave donated toys. With the funds from her latest stand, Julia said she would like to purchase a Nintendo Switch for each room in the unit. Julia said she hopes to continue hosting her lemonade stand every year to make other children "happy when they're feeling sad."
"I'm really, really proud of her, and she's blessing other children," Bethany said of her daughter's efforts. "We're so thankful for that."
Julia's father, Brian, said he is "incredibly proud" to see Julia already doing charitable work. Bethany said she hopes to talk soon with Andrea Colliton, director of Child Life Services at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, about what the current needs are.
"I think it was so amazing when she (Julia) did it the first time and really felt moved to want to do something for others, but to really want to continue doing that is really special," Colliton said. "I think she was able to see that everything she worked hard for really was worth it, and she was able to see the direct benefit of fundraising and doing something, and improving the day-to-day care of children that are in the hospital."
Bethany said the community's outpouring of support surpassed what she and the family expected.
"The crazy thing to me, it's mostly people who I've never met. It's more those people than people we know. They all had a story," Bethany said. "I got messages from people on Facebook telling me their story on family members that were sick, telling me to be proud of Julia, that she's doing a great thing. It makes me really proud."
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.