When nine-year-old Andrew Emery of South Carolina learned that his baby brother Dylan was sick, he offered to help his parents cover mounting health care costs by starting a lemonade stand. He set up shop at a local truck dealership and, in just two hours, raised nearly $6,000.
"I'm gonna spend it on doctor's bills and stuff, and buy him a teddy bear too," Andrew tells his local Greenwood, South Carolina, paper, The Index-Journal. "I just want to help Dylan. He's my baby brother."
Andrew's six-month-old brother Dylan has Krabbe disease, a rare and potentially terminal neurological condition, so his parents have had to take off from work and travel with Dylan to see specialists at the Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Two weeks ago, joined by his family and friends, Andrew sold dollar-cups of lemonade, as well as cupcakes, stickers, wristbands and t-shirts.
The Emery family also raised $1,300 through a local benefit concert and over $33,000 of their $40,000 goal via a GoFundme campaign. Other community organizations have launched fundraisers to chip in, too.
"You wouldn't think a lemonade stand could do that much in such a short amount of time," Andrew's father Matt Emery tells ABC News. "But with social media and different fundraisers, that's what he wanted to do, and it happened so quickly."
The Emery family was not available to respond to CNBC Make It's request for comment.
Andrew Emery, age nine, at the fundraiser he recently held for his brother Dylan. Family photo, used with permission.
The Emery family's struggle to pay their medical bills is part of a larger issue with the out-of-control cost of health care in the U.S. Americans paid $3.4 trillion a year for medical care as of 2016, with each person spending an average of $10,348, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Even after adjusting for inflation, per person health care spending is eight times higher than it was in 1960.
Meanwhile, more than half of Americans, 57 percent, have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts.
One of the trucks parked at Andrew Emery's lemonade stand fundraiser. Family photo, used with permission.
While Andrew's parents are at the hospital, family, friends and strangers from around the world have tried to ease their money worries so that they can focus on their son.
"It's a quick disease and it moves so fast once you realize what's going on — there's no cure," Matt Emery says. "That's the main reason we went to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we wanted them to do all the tests because maybe it will help cure someone down the road for another parent that has to face this."
As for Andrew, he says he wants to do one thing when his brother returns home: "I'm going to hug him."
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