When Ole Miss punter Mac Brown was in seventh grade, he decided to join the fight against ALS when his friend’s father Michael Brandt was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a debilitating neurodegenerative disease that ultimately claimed his life.
“He made a difference in my life,” Brown said. “Seeing the struggle that his family went through—that was one of the first losses in my life that I experienced firsthand. Seeing his family watch him go through the pain of him fighting for life made me want to get off my couch and do something as well.”
Brown and his friends started selling lemonade with a goal of raising $500, but finished the day having raised nearly $2,000. After the success in year one, the group continued to host the ‘Awesome Lemonade Stand’ fundraiser in Brandt’s honor each year in their hometown of Eden Prairie, Minnesota and in Oxford last fall. Selling homemade lemonade for just 25 cents a glass, donations have raised more than $75,000 in eight years.
Because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the 2020 lemonade stand comes with a twist. Unable to hand out lemonade or form large crowds of people without practicing proper social distancing, the Awesome Lemonade Stand will be “throwing shade” at ALS instead.
The “Throwing Shade at ALS Challenge” will take place on Saturday, June 13.
Similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge that swept the nation and raised money for the disease in 2014, ‘throwing shade at ALS’ will take place on Saturday, June 13 and involves nominating someone on social media to post a picture with a pair of sunglasses, using the hashtag #EndALS and donating on The Awesome Lemonade Stand website.
Brown is still flying home to Minnesota, where instead of doing a physical lemonade stand, the group will have a drop box outside of his house where people can leave donations and take photos with sunglasses.
The group knew it had to do something different this year and hopes that the social media challenge will receive donations to help in the effort to find a cure for ALS.