He's battled multiple inoperable brain tumors for more than half of his life, but this inspiring 10-year-old from New Jersey has refused to let his own struggles with cancer overshadow his desire to help others overcome the disease.
Mario Carpino, whose cancerous tumors were first discovered when he was just 4 years old, has been hosting lemonade stands to raise funds for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer for years. According to Yahoo! Shine, he's raised some $150,000 for the charity thus far -- and he's showing no signs of slowing down.
Mario (center) posing at his lemonade stand event last year.
“He doesn’t look at it as...raising money for him and his disease,” a family friend told NJ.com in 2012. “Every time we get together, he has a million ideas. He thinks of it as raising money for his friends at the [Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia]. This is his way of contributing.”
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where Mario has reportedly received multiple chemotherapy treatments, is one of the many beneficiaries of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. The foundation, which raises awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research, was launched in 2005 in memory of 8-year-old cancer patient Alex Scott, who had hosted lemonade stands of her own to raise money for charity.
To support the foundation and honor Alex's memory, Mario has been hosting annual lemonade stand events since 2011 -- and he always goes big.
The young man, who also accepts online donations, reportedly exceeds his fundraising goals every year. In 2011, for instance, he wanted to raise $5,000 at his lemonade stand event but ended up raising more than $25,000, per Yahoo! Shine. Last year, he raised almost $70,000, surpassing his goal of $50,000.
"He is always making others smile. He is truly a hero," his mother wrote in a 2012 blog post for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.
This year, Mario's lemonade stand event will be held on Saturday, June 7, at the Woolwich Fire Department in Swedesboro, N.J. There will reportedly be face painting, clowns and a raffle for prizes.
Mario has also expressed hope that his favorite band might show up to his lemonade stand this year.
“Two years ago, he decided that he wanted his favorite singer, Bon Jovi, to come to his lemonade stand,” the boy's mom told Yahoo! “I told him it’s unlikely because Bon Jovi is famous. He said, ‘But Mom, he's so nice.'"
A Facebook page has been set up to attract the singer's attention. Thus far, however, it seems he has yet to respond to Mario's plea.
Still, Mario and his family have a lot to celebrate. The boy's family said in a Facebook post Tuesday that his tumors were found to be stable following an MRI.
To find out more about Mario's lemonade stand event and to support his efforts, visit his fundraising page. At press time, Mario had raised more than $4,200.