EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

August 9, 2013

Lemonade for love

Methuen girl, 8, opens stand to help young cousin recovering from heart transplant

SALEM, N.H. — Makayla Mahoney vowed to do something special to show her love and support for her young cousin who was gravely ill before having a heart transplant last Sunday.

So, the 8-year-old Methuen girl will run a lemonade stand tomorrow in front of her aunt’s house at 4 Ackerman St. to benefit Max Johnson, who is recovering at Boston Children’s Hospital.

“I got the idea because I do lemonade stands a lot and I make lots of money, and I wanted to do something to help Max,” said Makayla, who will be a third-grader at the Comprehensive Grammar School in Methuen this fall.

“He’s two and a half years old. I heard he had a really bad heart and was dying. So if he didn’t get a new heart, he would die. I love him so much, and I care, and I want to do as many things as I can to help him,” she said.

In a gesture of being “heart strong” — part of the slogan on the “Mighty Max” poster she made for the front of the lemonade stand — Makayla has a can of red hair spray she intends to use on herself for tomorrow’s fund-raiser, which will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Makayla said she will also sell “Mighty Max Heart Strong” T-shirts she designed and red wrist bands. All of the proceeds will go to the Mighty Max Johnson Family Fund. Check donations can also be made to the fund at PO Box 1701, Westfield, MA 01086.

Max, who turns 3 in October, is the son of Matt and Nicole Johnson, of Holyoke. The young boy’s story has won the heart of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Boston Red Sox star pitcher Jon Lester, the New England Revolution soccer team players, the DropKick Murphy’s and others who have made contributions and visited Max. Photos and letters of their support have been posted on a special web site, www.mightymaxheart.com.

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