LAUREL — Thursday night at Laurel High School, the 6-2 Locomotives football team faced Lockwood. Beyond the game, a special fundraiser took place, put on by one of the team’s players, Owen Adams
“For senior night, me and my family are looking at raising a lot of money for childhood cancer. For Alex’s Lemonade Stand's ‘Kick it for Cancer’. When I was younger, I went to a kicking camp. The Kohl’s Kicking Camps. At the end of the camp, they introduced Alex’s Lemonade Stand," said Adams, Laurel's kicker. "At that point, I just thought it would be a really good thing to do just to give back to the community, and just do what’s best for raising money for kids with cancer."
Adams is a senior at the school. Thursday night was senior night — but for Adams, the night was about a lot more than football.
“It just, it warms my heart. I mean just to be able to give back to the community and just make people’s days," Adams said. "It feels good, feels really good.”
The Adams family started the fundraiser last year, raising $5,000 for the childhood cancer charity.
“Last year we raised $2,500 on the spot, and then my dad’s company was able to match that and make it $5,000," Adams said. "So we raised a lot of money last year, it was pretty good."
Samantha Adams, Owen’s mom, worked the stand as she did the previous year. Owen’s dad works for Sibanye Stillwater, which agreed to match donations from the night up to $500.
"I think when he has a dream of playing his favorite sport and at the same time raising money for families with cancer, as a parent, you just go all in," Samantha said on Wednesday. "You know, you do whatever you can to support them. This is just awesome to be a part of and we’re happy to do it.”
It was at last year’s fundraiser that the Adams family met the Vollers, who joined forces for this year’s stand.
"I introduced us, and (explained) how what they’re doing affected just the whole industry of pediatric cancer, and how much it meant on what they were doing and what they’re raising funds for,” said Ashlee Voller, the mother of a 4-year-old leukemia fighter. "I mean, 4% of the federal cancer budget goes to pediatric cancers. So there’s a large portion of research and development that depends on nonprofits and private funding to keep pushing forward on research that’s absolutely critical for our kids."
Four-year-old Tristan Voller was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2022. After countless doctor visits, he’s now getting ready to ring the bell that signifies the end of his treatment.
"So Tristan has one more lumbar puncture left in December and then he gets to ring the bell in January," Voller said.
Tristan is Owen’s childhood cancer advocate and was honored Thursday night. Ashlee, her mother, and her grandmother baked 30 dozen cookies to sell alongside the lemonade.
“The more research that can be done and more money that can be raised from a private sector can hopefully give those kids a higher chance of getting to adulthood,” Voller said. “I’m excited to see our community come together and hopefully a lot of people buying a lot of lemonade."
“I’ve had kids around the school talking to me about it and they just, they thank me so much for it and they really appreciate it,” Adams said. “I’m super excited to see where the season goes."
To learn more about Owen's Lemonade Stand or to donate, click here.