A little girl's plea to support her mother in getting a kidney and pancreas transplant is going viral. Eleven-year-old Nemiah Martinez of Las Cruces, New Mexico, has raised over $1,000 for her mom's care by selling lemonade (cucumber, strawberry, and original!) out of her family's garage for $1.50 per cup. She's also taken to GoFundMe and made nearly $4K, surpassing her original goal of $650.
On the fundraising site, she writes, "Hi my name is Nemiah Martinez and I am 11yrs old. I have a lemonade stand that I started to help my mommy raise money so we can go to the Mayo Clinic in AZ, cause she needs a double transplant. She needs a kidney and Pancreas transplant. My mommy has always taken care of me and I want to take care of her. ... I see how much my mom is struggling, and all I want to do is help her."
ABC News also recently covered the story, interviewing Nemiah and her mother Paloma, who said that when she first asked her daughter what she was going to do with her earnings, the tween explained that it was for Paloma "to go to the Mayo Clinic."
"It's really hard for her every time she tries to get out of bed, she's really struggling," Nemiah shared with ABC. "I just feel really bad for her, so I'm just trying to do the best I can for her."
As endearing as it is to see a girl supporting her mother's health challenges in such a generous, loving way, this story is also a disheartening reminder of how the U.S. health care system falls short.
Twitter users weighed in, noting that Nemiah shouldn't have to sell lemonade for her mom to be getting proper, affordable care.
Even Senator Bernie Sanders got in on the conversation earlier this week, tweeting, "What Nemiah is doing is admirable, but an 11-year-old should not have to raise money to keep her mother alive in the wealthiest country in the world. Healthcare must be a right.”
According a 2015 Gallup poll, 42% of Americans say the cost and lack of access to health care as the number one health issue they face, so we know that her story is one of far too many like it. As CafeMom points out, Martinez may be included in the more than 12% of Americans who didn't have health insurance at the end of the last year. Or she could be insured but one of about 41 million Americans aged 19-64 who report being underinsured and therefore unable to cover all treatments and medications they may need.
With hope, Paloma Martinez gets the care she needs—and Nemiah's heartwarming efforts inspire us to do better.