Saratogian News
August 19, 2018

By: Maureen Werther, For Digital First Media

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. >> Seven-year-old lemonade stand owner Brendan Mulvaney of Ballston Spa just had the opportunity to put into action a favorite dictum: when life hands you lemons, just make lemonade.

The young entrepreneur and his family live on Fairgrounds Avenue, adjacent to the Saratoga County Fairgrounds. For the last three years, Brendan has been honing his business skills by selling lemonade, water and sno-cones on the side lawn of his family’s home. His goal has been to save up money for a family trip to Disney World.

When a representative from the NYS Board of Health closed down Brendan’s stand for operating without a permit during the recent Saratoga County Fair, the incident made both local and national news. Since then, the Mulvaney family have received the support of their community, as well as from local and regional politicians, including State Senator Jim Tedisco, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Governor Cuomo.

Rather than turn the situation into a political brouhaha, however, Sean and Jodi Mulvaney decided to use the situation as an opportunity to teach Brendan an important lesson about helping others.

When Brendan’s Lemonade Stand re-opened this Saturday, it was to support a good cause. The Moore family also live in Ballston Spa and have known the Mulvaney’s for several years. They will be taking their 12-year old daughter Madison to Shriners Hospital on Wednesday for her second – and, most likely not her last – surgery. Maddy, as she is known to everyone, suffers from Blount’s Disease, an affliction that causes the bones of the lower legs to bow outward, which can lead to arthritis, shortening of one leg, and increased difficulty walking over time.

Maddy’s underwent her first surgery at age two. Doctors performed an operation that entailed breaking the legs in several places and re-aligning the bones using screws and a large brace, according to her father. Tim Moore said he hopes she will not have to undergo the same type of surgery this time around, but he said his daughter is doing well and “holding her own.”

The Mulvaney’s know full well how hard it is when a child needs serious medical attention. When Brendan was an infant, he also underwent treatment at Shriner’s Hospital for a hip problem. Fortunately, he is doing fine and is a normal, happy and active seven-year old who says he wants to be a builder when he grows up.

The “Stand for Lemonade” kicked off with Senator Tedisco presenting a proclamation to Brendan that introduced “Brendan’s Lemon-aid Law,” protecting the rights of young children to “take part in something that is as American as apple pie,” said Tedisco.

Other dignitaries at the event included Elise Stefanik, who said she reached out to the Mulvaney family soon after she read about Brendan’s stand being shut down.

“This is an example of the heavy-handedness and the burdensome regulations in New York State,” said Stefanik, adding that having a lemonade stand is “a quintessential part of the fabric of this country,” and that asking a child to apply for a permit to open a lemonade stand “is just ridiculous.”

Mayor John Romano was also on hand to present Brendan with a key to the village. And Town of Milton Councilwoman Barbara Kerr was also present to show her support for the Mulvaney family. “I think teaching your children these kinds of lessons, doing it for a great charity, is wonderful and I wanted to come to lend my support,” said Kerr. Kerr was the sole representative from the Milton Town Board on hand to lend her support.

Amid all the hubbub and political showmanship, the real message was not lost on young Brendan, who said they were doing this “because Maddy doesn’t want other people to get sick.” The Disney fund can wait until next summer.