by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Spark Photography

Lemonade From Lemons

On the surface, Nancie Helders is a typical Marshall Middle School student. She is a Girl Scout, is on the Quantum swim team, and likes the library. But scratch a little beneath the surface, and you’ll find a manga-loving artist and poet who’s trying to help cure cancer – by selling lemonade.

Nancie’s grandmother, Nancy Bradford, is a breast cancer survivor. Nancie’s mother took up the cause by walking the Susan G. Komen three day walk in 2011, and Nancie wanted to help as well. She thought selling pink lemonade was the way to raise the funds, and her donation amounts have crept steadily skyward since she started fundraising in 2011 (she was just 10 years old). She has donated to several different organizations, including Susan G. Komen, the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, and Relay for Life.

Thanks to her mother’s introduction, Nancie has a love (she calls it an obsession) for manga and anime. For the uninitiated, manga are Japanese comics and anime are Japanese productions usually featuring hand-drawn or computer animation. She’d like to major in art in college and become a manga artist for CLAMP or another famous manga art studio. “I’ve submitted some of my artwork to different venues,” Nancie explained, “like the San Diego Fair and Ramona Art Gallery, where I won first and second place ribbons for my art.” Her artistic temperament extends to poetry as well, and her poem “Free in the Water” was published in Fall of 2012 in a book called A Celebration of Poets. “I wrote the poem in 5th grade,” Nancie recalled, “and it is about the way swimming makes me feel.” The way she feels about her surroundings are often her themes for poems, like seeing a maze of umbrellas on a very rainy day.

In addition to raising money for cancer research, Nancie volunteers through her church – First Unitarian Universalist – and through her Girl Scout troop, helping animals and cleaning up beaches. “I also help my mom when she does fundraisers like the shoe drive at Jerabek Elementary.” But her first and most successful volunteer campaign is through her lemonade sales. “As long as they are looking for a cure for cancer,” Nancie revealed, “I would like to continue donating lemonade funds to cancer research.”



Name: Nancie Anne Helders
Community: Old Scripps Ranch since 2005
Volunteer Affiliation: Raising money for cancer research
Occupation: Student
Family: Parents – Mark and Lesleigh; Sibling – Hana (11)

Groups Donated To: In 2011 ($27) and 2012 ($50) to Susan G Komen; in 2013 ($91.50) to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; in 2014 ($131.65) to Relay for Life.
Mission: Cancer research and helping cancer survivors
Contact: |