Selling Lemon-Aid: Big Sister Starts Fundraising Campaign To Help Others Afford Hearing Aids


Approximately 15% of American adults have some level of hearing loss. That means 36 million Americans experience hearing loss. While not all of these people require (or are even able to benefit from) hearing aids, the cost of the vital devices can be extreme. When big sister Carly Waters of Syracuse discovered that her two younger siblings, Emma and Molly, fell into that category, she was desperate to help.

“I wanted to help Emma and Molly and other kids because I thought it was very sad that other kids can’t hear at all,” Carly said.

With a goal to get her baby sisters hearing aids of their own — an expense that can range between $1,000 and $4,000 for each device — , she set up her own unique fundraiser: selling Lemon-Aids. The stuffed lemons were handmade by Carly, who was exchanging them for donations.

Once her original goal was met, the Syracusian native showed no signs of stopping. Carly has hand-stitched over 600 lemons, and has currently met $7,500 of her new $10,000 goal; she is now interested in reaching out to as many other kids around the world as possible.

“It helps as many kids as I can and go all over the world and everybody can have hearing aids if they need them,” she said.

Her passion and dedication have not gone unnoticed. In fact, her efforts have gained the attention of HearStrong, a nonprofit dedicated to providing aid and funding for those who cannot afford to treat their hearing loss. The Foundation has pledged to match Carly’s $10,000 goal once it is reached. To say her mother is proud is an understatement.

“She was so excited that so many people supported her and her cause and supported her sisters on their hearing loss journey,” said Marissa Waters, the girls’ mother. “And it was just humbling and empowering and we’re just so grateful for all the support.”

Although approximately 900 million people throughout the world are expected to be hearing impaired by 2025, the efforts of Carly and others like her may go a long way in lessening the financial strain associated with the condition. With more support from various companies, foundations, and nonprofits, there is no telling how much good work can be done if we all were to think a little bit more like Carly Waters: Syracuse today — tomorrow, the world.