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West Jordan sisters donate money from lemonade stand for organ donor awareness

Myleigh and Makayla Madsen pose with their family and Salt Lake County council members after they met with the council on July 13, 2021. (John Wilson, KSL TV)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Lemonade stands rarely grab the attention of government leaders, but it wasn't just any other lemonade stand that drew the spotlight Tuesday at a meeting of the Salt Lake County Council.

Myleigh Madsen, 9, and her 7-year-old sister, Makayla, started up their stand earlier this summer to honor their late sister, Makenzie.

Makenzie passed away last year at the age of 14 while awaiting a heart transplant. She had already received a new heart when she was just 17 months old after she was born with a heart defect.

"The girls decided they wanted to buy a lemonade stand with their own money, so we split the cost and they got a lemonade stand," said the girls' mother, Monica. "They wanted to honor their sister and her love of selling snow cones, but they thought lemonade was easier to distribute to a crowd so they wanted to go that route."

The mother said the girls wanted to raise money and awareness about organ donation.

They certainly received plenty of attention. Shortly after their story made local news, it went national.

It also caught the eye of government leaders, including Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove.

"What touched me most recently was the story of the Madsen family and the young Madsen daughters running a lemonade stand to raise money in honor of their sister who passed away," Snelgrove said during a meeting of the council Tuesday afternoon. "I felt it appropriate that Salt Lake County taxpayers, in a small gesture of only $1,500, donate it to DonorConnect."

DonorConnect is a federally designated nonprofit that has been dedicated to the recovery and transplantation of organs, eyes and tissues within Utah, as well as areas of neighboring states.

On Tuesday, the girls presented DonorConnect with a check for $14,525, including the county's contribution.

Monica Madsen grew teary-eyed as she spoke before the council about her late daughter and the efforts of her other daughters this summer.

"The impact that my girls have made this past month has been amazing to watch," she said. "I know Makenzie is so proud of them."

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