7-year-old Alabama girl helps to fund her own brain surgery

HOMEWOOD, ALABAMA (AP) — Liza Scott, seven, started a lemonade stand at her mom’s bakery last summer so she could buy some frills like toys and sequined high-heel shoes. The bouncy little girl is still in business months later, yet the money is going toward something entirely different: surgery on her brain.

Last month, doctors determined a series of seizures that Liza began suffering were caused by cerebral malformations that needed repair, said her mother, Elizabeth Scott. Always eager to help out and with an eye toward entrepreneurship after a childhood spent around a small business, the little girl volunteered to help raise money for her upcoming operation.

Located near the cash register of Savage’s Bakery in suburban Birmingham, her stand of bright pink and yellow wooden crates offers lemonade for a quarter, plus other treats. But people are putting in a lot more as word spreads of her medical condition and her attitude.

“I’ve got a USD20 bill, and a USD50 bill and a USD10 bill and a USD5 bill and a USD100 bill,” Liza said on Tuesday as she counted donations from the morning.

Liza was still in the hospital after suffering two major seizures when she came up with the idea to help out with the stand, said her mom, who also has a preschool-age boy.

Elizabeth Scott and her seven-year-old daughter Liza Scott, who is running a lemonade stand to help fund her own brain surgery. PHOTO: AP

“I told her, ‘You don’t have to do that’,” Elizabeth Scott said. “There’s no expectation of her doing anything to help pay the bills. I’m a single mom, I take care of my kids on my own.”

Yet Liza wanted to help, and she has. Her little stand has made more than USD12,000 in a few days — nearly all through donations.

“She likes being part of the team. This is something she can really take ownership of,” Scott said.

While Liza’s story has warmed plenty of hearts, some are outraged over the idea that a child facing brain surgery would feel a need to raise funds for her own care. The story is yet another sign that the US health system is broken beyond repair and driving families into bankruptcy, critics said.

Despite having good insurance through the popular bakery she runs with her father, Elizabeth Scott could quickly see that she was still going to be responsible for some “pretty exorbitant” expenses. So, she also set up an online fundraiser.

“Just one week in the hospital and the ambulance rides is more than my monthly salary, and that’s without the surgery and travel expenses,” she said. “I can’t fund that by myself, and we have a business to support.”

Friends, family and others who have been touched by Liza’s story have already donated more than USD300,000.