Moorhead girl serves lemonade to care for newborn brother in NICU

Phoenix Gilmore and Montaque read a story to their baby brother Zephyr.
Phoenix Gilmore (top right) and brother Montaque Atchison read to their baby brother Zephyr.
Courtesy of Christine Atchison

Big sisters just know how to love their siblings.

Take 10-year-old Phoenix Gilmore of Moorhead, Minn., who hosted a lemonade stand Saturday and raised almost $1,300 to ease the burden a bit on her parents as they care for baby brother, 3-month-old Zephyr.

He was born with a host of serious health problems, including a heart defect, trouble breathing and missing and fused ribs, said Zephyr and Phoenix's mother Christine Atchison. He also suffers from a condition that results in a poorly functioning immune system.

"I wanted to do something for him, and I wanted to do something for my parents because they've been doing a lot for me, so I wanted to do something back for him," Phoenix told KVRR on Saturday.

Within four days, Phoenix organized a full booth at the La Unica Mexican Market in Moorhead. Valley News Live reported that residents even showed up just to pitch in a few dollars.

Zephyr is currently at the University of Minnesota's neonatal intensive care unit in Minneapolis. The family said that a majority of Zephyr's medical expenses are covered by their health insurance.

But Atchison said it's possible Phoenix overheard her parents talking about the hotel stays and other potential expenses.

"She just decided to do this," Atchison said. "When we go down to visit Zephyr, we have to stay at hotels and she heard us talking. And she wanted to do something because she can't be here with Zephyr, it's just her way of trying to show him that she loves him."

Zephyr's parents hope that he'll be selected for a thymus transplant, a procedure that could help improve his immune system. But it's only available at Duke Children's Hospital in North Carolina.

If they're selected, the family may host another fundraiser. A GoFundMe page for the family is also available. Atchison also said she hopes to hear from other parents with children who've faced similar conditions and treatments.

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