ASHBY -- Jessica Demeo of Ashby has been involved in raising awareness about cystic fibrosis since her brother, Jim Landi, was diagnosed with the debilitating disease at birth.
She has participated in various walks and fundraisers to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Now her two daughters, 8-year-old Brynn and 6-year-old Molly, want to do something to support their uncle. They've seen firsthand how it has affected Landi, Demeo said.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects the lungs and pancreas. People with the disease produce an abnormally thick mucus that clogs their airway. They also lack an enzyme necessary to digest food properly.
Landi must take medicine at every meal that helps absorb the food's nutrients. Also, he has to take nebulizer treatments at home and has a vest that plugs into a machine that vibrates with air to loosen the mucus in his body.
After brainstorming on what they could do to help, the girls decided to open a lemonade stand outside McNabb's Pharmacy on Route 119 in Townsend.
Last year was the first year they did the stand, and Demeo said the girls raised $700. They'll also have homemade chocolate-chip cookies. The girls will not charge for either item but will accept donations, she said.
"It was amazing," she said of last year's stand. "We had people last year driving more than an hour to come, mostly because they saw the article in the paper. We had a ton of people who came from the Fitchburg-Leominster area that we had never met and somehow had a CF connection somehow."
The girls will set up outside McNabb's on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
All money raised will go directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
"It's huge to see the support we got from local friends and families," Demeo said. "It's really great to see people not only support the cause but the girls in something they really wanted to do."
Their uncle means so much to them, she said, and they feel this is the least they can do to help him.
"They wanted to do something to make a difference," she said. "They care so much about his uncle and see his struggles. The principal at their school put this in the weekly newsletter, so for about the last month, the date has been out there."
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