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Saco siblings host lemonade stand to honor neighbor who died of cancer

After losing their neighbor and friend Bill Collins to cancer, siblings Nate & Grace wanted to honor him by raising money for the Maine Cancer Foundation

SACO, Maine — When siblings Grace and Nate Bassett moved to Maine from Massachusetts during the pandemic, they quickly formed a bond with their next door neighbors, Bill and Jacqueline Collins.

"The kids just loved Bill. They came running to Bill all the time, ringing the doorbell, and Bill would be out there, giving them popsicles," said Jacqueline Collins.

When the Bassett's moved into their Saco home, the pandemic was at its peak, with little opportunity to connect with new kids in the neighborhood. That lead to a quick and strong bond being formed between the two retirees and the four and six year old kids.

"These guys were our second family and were so welcoming and loving and the kids just connected with the right away," said Jen Bassett, Grace and Nate's mom. 

"He was a nice man," said 4-year-old Nate Bassett. 

Nate and his sister Grace would go over their neighbors home as often as they could. Sometimes looking for sweets, other times just to sit and watch TV, or even help with yard work.

"We did help him in the yard, remember with the cousins, we picked up the apples, and we played who could pick up the most apples," said Grace to her brother. 

"They'd do anything for him," said Jacqueline. 

Earlier this summer, the kids new neighbor Bill started to have more serious health problems. After a months-long battle with cancer and heart disease, Bill lost his battle, and died on August 24.

Since then, the kids have wanted to honor their friend any way they could. That led them to asking their parents if they could hold a lemonade stand in honor of Bill. All of the money they would raise, would go the Maine Cancer Foundation. 

"It will be fun... it really will. Because I can sell lemonade for bill," said Nate.

On Sunday, the two siblings did just that. Setup at a table outside their home, the two were busy selling cookies and lemonade to neighbors and those passing by for several hours. 

"We already have a lot of money," shouted Nate, showing off a green pencil case filled with cash. The kids parents also accepted donations through Venmo too. 

After taking donations and selling lemonade and cookies for several hours Sunday, the kids raised nearly $800. 

"I just couldn't believe it, it touched my heart. And I'm sure that he's up there watching over there. It really touched my heart what they wanted to do for him," said Jacqueline. 

There are no plans yet for another lemonade stand for the cause, but Nick & Grace's parents say they will still accept Venmo donations to go towards the Maine Cancer Foundation. Those can be sent to @jenbassett.