GLEN ELLYN – Soon after having surgery to remove a brain tumor at age 7, Reid Colliander and his family decided they wanted to give back to the hospital that helped save his life.
Reid’s Lemon-AID Foundation started with a lemonade stand at a Fourth of July parade 10 years ago. The Glenbard West High School basketball player has gone on to raise nearly $100,000 for the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (formerly Children’s Memorial Hospital), according to the foundation’s website.
But it’s not just him. Colliander estimates close to 150 kids have volunteered for the fundraising efforts throughout the years, including a Christmas Walk, bike rides and chili cook-offs.
“I wanted to give back to the hospital that pretty much saved my life,” Colliander said. “It started with the lemonade stand and after that, the community chipped in and it grew legs of its own.”
Colliander, who will be a senior at Glenbard West next school year, is a member of the foundation’s Junior Board of Directors that was established in 2007. Other members are Tommy Berland, Drew Vogg, Brad Fawcett and Faith Bischoff, all of whom are classmates and fellow athletes at Glenbard West.
On Saturday, the group staged its first 3-on-3 basketball fundraiser at the Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center.
Close to 40 teams and 140 people participated in the event, which was open to players from fourth grade through college. There also were two girls divisions. Colliander acknowledged the help of Joe Cardona and the Glen Ellyn Titans travel basketball program and said the Glen Ellyn Park District donated gym time at Ackerman.
The event raised $9,000, Colliander said.
“Being that it was our first year doing a basketball tournament, we had really no idea what to expect,” Colliander said. “But it turned out great. Everyone had fun and it was a really good experience. And we did raise a good amount of money.”
As a special bonus, six players from the 2008 Glenbard West boys basketball team that advanced to the supersectionals were in attendance and competed in an exhibition game. Included in that group was Northwestern University all-time leading scorer John Shurna, who arrived after a flight from France where he currently is playing overseas.
Others participating were Kevin Watt, who played football at Northwestern, Duncan Lawson, Pat McDermott, Steve Tillman and Ben Garland.
“They are outstanding ball players, and it was fun to watch,” Colliander said. “When Shurna came, I was on his team, and it was a ton of fun. It was a dream come true. He was throwing down dunks and everything. And he is a super nice guy.”
Glenbard West varsity basketball coach Tim Hoder passed out brochures for the 3-on-3 tournament at his youth camps last week. He described what Colliander and his classmates have done as a “very cool thing.”
“We were laughing about it the other day,” Hoder said of his coaching staff. “Kids do things at school, like joining a club, as a resume builder. This is something that Reid had done for years and years and years, and it was not as a resume builder. It’s something he wanted to do to give back. But it ends up being the ultimate resume builder. Who can say that they started a charity and raised over $100,000?”
The impact of Reid’s Lemon-AID was on display when Colliander recently went back to Children’s Hospital for his 10-year MRI, which came back clean.
“I saw our name on the donor wall,” he said. “It was exciting.”