In Sept. of 2009, at only 20 months old, Liam Schulze, son of 1996 Pittston Area graduate Michelle Slezak Schulze and Christopher Schulze, passed away.
Liam suffered from hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) which is an immunodeficiency characterized by an overabundance of white blood cells that makes the body attack itself.
Since Liam’s passing, liamslighthousefoundation.org, started by Michelle, began to organize events and rallies to help raise awareness for HLH.
Now, a local boy is taking matters into his own hands to help the cause.
Zach Valeski, 10, a Hughestown resident and fourth grade student at Pittston Area, has set up a lemonade stand with his younger brother Chase to help raise money for Liam’s Lighthouse.
“I just thought it’d be something easier to do and something I can just donate from,” Zach said. “I can just take the profit and just donate it.”
Cyndi Valeski, Zach’s mom, went to school with Michelle and said that she could not be more proud of her thoughtful son.
Zach was hoping to do his stand on Saturday’s, Cyndi said, but due to her’s and her husband’s work schedule on Saturdays, Zach switched to Sundays.
“Zach started his lemonade stand on May 17 and wants to do it every Sunday in the summer, minus one or two for vacation,” said Cyndi.
She said usually around this time of the year Zach is saving his money for when the family goes on vacation, but this year he’s donating all of his earnings.
Folks from all over the neighborhood have either purchased his lemonade or helped Zach with something, Cundi said.
“My husband and I buy all the lemonade and ice,” said Cyndi. “ A neighbor dropped by once and gave cups. We didn’t know who she was.”
In September Zach and his dad plan to participate in the annual Liam’s Lighthouse golf tournament.
The tournament will take place at the Wilkes-Barre Municipal Golf Course in on Sept. 20 and it is there that Zach will give Michelle the profits from his lemonade stand.
“I don’t know what I’ll say, but I’ll be happy to see her,” said Zach.
Zach runs his lemonade stand every Sunday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in his driveway on Lynn Drive and charges 50 cents per cup.
To learn more about how Liam’s lighthouse and HLH visit www.liamslighthousefoundation.org.