Children across Ottawa are looking to add a bit of sweetness to the fight against cancer as dozens of lemonade stands across town are expected to raise nearly $60,000 for the cause.

The annual Lemonade Standemonium, an Ottawa-wide fundraiser supported by children-run lemonade stands across town, is poised to hit the $250,000 mark for total funds raised over the past four years. Proceeds from those sales are being donated to the Ottawa Regional Cancer foundation to support cancer research and treatment in the local community.

For seven-year-old Mackie Smith, who is one of the event’s top fundraisers, her lemonade stand has personal importance.

When Mackie was 6, her mom, Anne McMillan, was diagnosed with breast cancer. After getting the news, she worried about telling her kids.

“At first I sheltered them,” McMillan told CTV Ottawa. “I didn’t even let them know what was going on until I saw my surgeon and I had the clear path of what’s going to happen so I could say to them, ‘I’ve got cancer. Here’s what’s going to happen. Everything is going to be OK.”

Mackie admitted that she was afraid at first.

“I was scared because you were bald and I was scared that something was going to happen,” she said.

Her concern has since been channeled into generosity. Mackie’s stand serves up pink lemonade, a reference to the pink ribbon used to mark breast cancer awareness. She’s dubbed her stand the “Pretty in Pink Lemon-aiders,” and so far she’s raised more than $900 of her $1,500 goal.

Asked why she pitched in to fight cancer, Mackie said, “Because my mom had it and I felt like it was a good thing to do.”

The fundraiser is supported by home developer Cardel Homes and insurance company Palladium Insurance. Sylvie Forget Swim, a partner with Palladium Insurance, says the Lemonade Standemonium is the perfect way for kids to give back.

“A lemonade stand is like a rite of passage. Who hasn’t thought of having a lemonade stand when they were growing up? So to join the two together and have kids become more socially active and have them helping people in their own community, it’s kind of a really neat idea,” Forget Swim said.

For Mackie’s mom, watching her daughter canvass the neighbourhood has been an emotional experience.

“When she was going around putting up all her little posters on each of the light posts, you know, it brought tears to my eyes,” she said.

Mackie says the reason behind her hard work is simple.

“Because I love her and she loves me,” she said.

The fundraiser will have its big day on June 4, but participants are invited to set up their lemonade stands before then, to get a head start on fundraising. Click here for a map of the registered stands currently selling lemonade.

With a report from CTV Ottawa