A Red Deer father taught his six-year-old son one of the most valuable lessons before he died of cancer: When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
So, Brady Campbell, did exactly that, a day after his father Brandon died: he put up a lemonade stand in front of his Denver, Colo., home.
His parents Brandon and Amanda were born and raised in Red Deer and graduated from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School in 1999.
Amanda was grieving on the bathroom floor on July 8, after Brandon’s death the day before. So Brady’s aunt and grandmother, who are also Red Deerians, helped the youngster raise some money.
A police officer saw Brady’s lemonade stand and heard what had happened to the father. The officer called other first responders, who came rolling up in their fire trucks and police cars, to show their support, and Brady was able to raise $244 that day.
The aunt asked Brady why he wanted to raise money, and the boy said he wanted to take his mom on a date, the mother explained Monday.
“He definitely got the idea from Brandon,” said Amanda.
Amanda explained Brandon was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in January. Before his death, the family had serious conversations about life after he’s gone.
“It was important to him that Brady and I took care of each other. He always instilled in Brady such good values of how to treat people, and he always has to be kind and repectful to your mother, and take care of her always.
“And when Brandon was diagnosed, it became even more important to instil in Brady the need to take care of his mom and always be there,” Amanda explained.
About a month before Brandon’s death, the father and son wanted to host a lemonade stand, but were never able to do it due to bad weather or the father’s deteriorating health, the mother explained.
But they had made signs and talked about running a business, something Brandon was passionate about.
“We call him our little hustler,” said Amanda, speaking of Brady.
“This story just shows a tiny piece of the kind of father Brandon was.”
Amanda and Brandon met in Grade 10 English, and dated briefly in Grade 12.
They reconnected later as adults and moved to the U.S., first to Virginia and later to Colorado.
Amanda describes Brandon as kind, funny, caring and as someone who lived his best life every day.
“He’s a guy who cared so much for others. I’ve been getting so many messages from people who are reaching out, and they say they’ll always remember how kind he was to everybody.
“Whether it was a janitor at the company he worked at, or the CEO, he treated everybody equally with kindness and respect,” Amanda said.
“He was fun-loving, always joking around and just a loving, loving person.”
Growing up in Red Deer, he was always the “little businessman,” said Amanda.
“Every summer, he wanted to cut everyone’s lawns. Every winter, he wanted to shovel their walks, because he just wanted to earn some money so he could go buy his Nike sneakers or anything the family couldn’t afford,” Amanda said.
A GoFundMe fundraiser is raising money for the family and care providers who have helped Brandon, Amanda and Brady on the cancer journey, with a goal of $50,000.
As of Monday morning, Brady’s Virtual Lemonade Stand had raised more than $33,000.