More than $20,000 has been raised in last seven years

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FARMINGTON — An afternoon of laughter and tears unfolded today as a Farmington teenager began a three-day run for her locally famous lemonade stand, an enterprise that has helped her raise more than $20,000 for cancer research over the years.

Farmington High School senior Keely Stockham has raised $20,259 over the last seven years through her stand, with all but $500 of that total going to the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of San Juan County. This will be her final year to operate the stand, as she plans to pass the reins to someone else.

Keely's Lemonade Stand will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday in the 900 block of North Orchard Avenue and on Thursday at the Taco Bell at 4601 E. Main St. adjacent to the Animas Valley Mall. A coupon for a free taco will be given with every lemonade purchase on Thursday.

Stockham began operating the stand in 2010, selling 50-cent cups of lemonade outside her home after her aunt Jenny Lee Jones was diagnosed with leukemia. The entertprise has led to her receiving several awards, including the Outstanding Teen in Philanthropy Award from the New Mexico chapter of the Association of Fundraising in 2016.

She said she hopes to raise $5,000 this year, beating her record of nearly $4,600 in 2014.

Keely's mother Liz Stockham said she invited people to the lemonade stand this afternoon for a presentation by Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett and Tim Tokarski, a senior manager of community development for the south region of the American Cancer Society.

Duckett presented Keely with the Mayor's Citizenship Award and Tokarski gave Keely a plaque to recognize all the fundraising she has done for the organization.

The FHS senior briefly cried while Duckett spoke about her dedication to the community.

"It's really, really nice. It makes me feel good," Keely said about the recognition.

Liz noted Keely is not the "crying type" of teenager, but she said the two have had a couple of emotional moments this week.

"I'm really excited about this week, but I'm really sad. I don't want it to be the last time," Keely said. "It's something I get to do and something everyone in the community gets to enjoy, and now that I won't be able to do that, it makes me kind of sad."

Keely is preparing for 12-year-old Lauren Anderson to take over the lemonade stand next year. Anderson has been volunteering alongside Keely for six years.

"It's been amazing helping Keely just do amazing things," Anderson said. "I will miss her a lot. She's been such a big part of my life."

Anderson has decided to raise money for a nonprofit organization that supports research into Alzheimer's disease. Her grandfather has been diagnosed with the ailment, and his symptoms include difficulty remembering Anderson's name.

"It's sad seeing my grandpa like that," Anderson said.

As Keely prepares for her senior year of high school, she is already thinking about the future. She has been thinking about other ideas to further support cancer research, including starting a foundation, possibly in her aunt's name.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

More: Farmington teen wins state philanthropy award

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