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Calgary youth slings lemonade to raise money for Autism Asperger’s Friendship Society

Inflation does not appear to exist at Dane’s Lemonade Stand.

“No, it does not,” Dane Benesh said.

Monday, in Copperfield, a tall glass of his lemonade cost the same $1 it did when he started in 2018.

He was eight years old then.

He’s 13 now.

In that time, Benesh has raised $7,575.30 for the Autism Asperger’s Friendship Society (AAFS) — about $88 that first year, and just over $3,000 last year.

Originally, he’d intended to use the lemonade stand to buy his mom a house.

But, you know, inflation. Helping out AAFS is just a more attainable goal.

“He chose the Autism Asperger’s Friendship Society here in Calgary,” said mom Maria Petersen.

“The programming they do for our youth in the community with autism is amazing.

“What better way to give back than a place that we utilize? We love them.”

Petersen noted AAFS’s garage, earn-a-bike, LEGO, lacrosse and crafts programming as some that her son’s been involved in and benefitted from.

“I have autism and ADHD, so I want to support them. … I give them the money every year,” Benesh said.

Despite cooler weather and rain on Monday, he was true to his word.

He always is.

He said it does not matter what the weather does, he will still be out there, slinging refreshments.

“Sometimes, we’re in the cold. Sometimes, we’re in the rain. Muddy. It doesn’t matter for us — we’re always going to be out,” he said.

It’s enough to make a mother beam.

“I’m just a proud mom,” Petersen said.

“He comes out and he gives it his all each time that we’re at events.”

Petersen noted the lemonade stand has also helped her son grow.

Through the endeavour, she said, Benesh has learned how to count, and now, how to budget, as well as social and organizational skills.

“This opportunity has given him priceless life skills that he was strongly struggling with,” she said.

Benesh received the 2021 Youth Philanthropist Award in Calgary.

His goal is to run the lemonade stand until he’s 16.

He also accepts e-transfer donations online, at daneslemonadestand@hotmail.com.

With files from Tyler Barrow

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