This weekend, rain or shine, 3-year-old Nolan Howard will bring the fight against cancer to his parents' Cuba Street driveway.

Raising money and awareness one cup at a time, Nolan and his mother Ivy Krull are registered participants in Lemonade Days.

It's a nationwide event that will have them manning a lemonade stand from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, outside their 3 Cuba St. home.

Founded by the nonprofit Alex's Lemonade Stand | named after a 4-year-old Pennsylvania girl who died from the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma | Lemonade Days is an opportunity for residents to head outdoors and drink a summer favorite, while raising funds for cancer research.

"He's so excited," said Krull of Nolan, who will turn 4 in July. "He puts on his Lemonade Days T-shirt and his bandanna and goes around the house pretending to serve lemonade to everyone. He's practicing."

Krull and Nolan are registered as the only Lemonade Days stand in the Merrimack Valley, and one of just 14 in the state.

Their efforts this weekend will be made in the memory of family friend Cian Crowley, who passed away at just 7 months, after a two-month battle with neuroblastoma.

"I think that everything we do to remember Cian is important," said Krull, who used to work with Cian's mother, Jenn Crowley, of Quincy. "Even if it raises awareness for three people that stop by our lemonade stand, I think that makes an enormous difference."

Krull said that while the need for early cancer detection in adults is well understood, that isn't always the case when it comes to parents and their young children. Pediatric cancer isn't even thought of as a possibility by many parents, she said.

"If we can raise awareness we can help kids get diagnosed earlier," said Krull. "This is a really important way that people can help raise awareness and raise money."

After their infant son developed what appeared to be a black eye that the Crowleys thought was the sign of an ear infection, it took just one visit to the doctor before Cian was diagnosed, according to Krull.

"We went to visit Cian shortly after he was born," she said. "(Nolan) held Cian on his lap and it was a big deal for him.

"Trying to explain that Cian died was really hard," Krull said. "He's all right because he thinks he can make it better. He still feels that it's something he can fix."

Those who stop by for a glass of lemonade this weekend are asked to make a donation to the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. Potato chips will also be provided.

Krull said that many fundraising efforts for cancer don't go specifically for pediatric research.

"This is 100 percent. Alex's Lemonade Stand funds research specifically for pediatric cancer," she said.

Cian's father, John Crowley, planned to help Nolan build the lemonade stand before the weekend, according to Krull. Cian was the Crowley's first child, and died on Oct. 13, 2006.

"It's going to be a traditional lemonade stand, an old-fashioned one," said Krull. "Nolan's really excited to paint it."

Krull said having a tragedy happen to family friends has changed the way she looks at everyday life. She also cited a North Andover family who recently lost a child to neuroblastoma as another reminder to feel thankful.

"It really makes you look at life and think of the things you have that are amazing," said Krull. "It's hard to think you can do anything that can help. I really feel that this is something that can."

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