12-year-old with brain cancer sells lemonade to help other kids

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A 12-year-old girl battling brain cancer raised nearly $4,000 to help children with cancer in Central Virginia on Friday.

The annual Anthem LemonAid event has been raising money to help children with cancer at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU since 2001.

Click here for a complete list of Anthem LemonAid stand locations!

Maya Smith told WTVR CBS 6 reporter Laura French that she has always wanted to be famous. And as the face of this year’s LemonAid, she greeted her adoring public that lined up by the dozens to meet her at her family’s stand.

Maya Smith

Maya Smith

"It’s exciting, a lot of people I didn't expect would be here,” Maya said.

The rising eighth-grader did not expect she would be one of hundreds of sick children benefiting from lemonade.

"I said, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ while we were at the hospital and she said, ‘Cancer,’" she remembered.

Maya and her family got the devastating diagnosis last April.

Melissa Smith

Melissa Smith

Melissa Smith, Maya’s mother, said learning her daughter’s headaches were the result of medulloblastoma -- a malignant brain tumor – was “an out of body experience.”

Her treatments included surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

“The children who have these illnesses go through so much,” Maya said. “I feel they should deserve the world. In my own experiences, what I have gone through, I can’t see why you shouldn’t support.”

Maya Smith

Maya Smith

The Smiths are volunteering at one of 800 Anthem LemonAid stands this weekend that are raising a glass to help area kids like Maya battling cancer at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

“They are dealing with life-threatening illnesses,” Smith said. “And to have a comfortable environment a caring environment when they are going to get treatment for the most difficult thing in their lives, that is so important. To buy just one glass of lemonade can go so far.”

Anthem LemonAid continues Saturday and Sunday. Click here for more information.