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Anniversary celebration to 'ade' cancer research

July 11, 2005|by TONY BUDNY

HAGERSTOWN

anthonyb@herald-mail.com

Sarah Ardinger wants to celebrate the anniversary of her business and do a good deed at the same time.

Ardinger has owned The Plum restaurant in downtown Hagerstown for 15 years.

"I was looking into something to fill the time. Now, it's a more than full-time job," she said.

Ardinger will celebrate her 15th anniversary as owner and the 25th anniversary of The Plum's opening under the previous owner by donating all lemonade sale proceeds from July 18 to July 22 to the Alex's Lemonade Stand Fund.

The original lemonade stand was set up by 4-year-old Alexandra Scott in July 2000, three months after she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare childhood brain cancer, according to the Lemonade Stand Fund's Web site. Through her own efforts, Alexandra raised $2,000 in one day for Connecticut Children's Medical Care by selling cups of lemonade for 50 cents each, the Web site says.

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A fund then was set up on her behalf that included other lemonade stands and companies and, before Alex's death in August 2004, they raised more than $1.5 million for cancer research, the Web site says.

Ardinger and her daughter and co-owner, Jennifer Kane, decided to donate the money to cancer research after Ardinger's sister-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor in April 2005.

"We gave to Y-Me (National Breast Cancer Association) at our 10-year anniversary. The response was very positive. This year, we wanted to do something different," she said.

Ardinger, who lives in Williamsport, never wanted to own a business. The opportunity arose when a friend let her know The Plum was for sale, she said.

Since her purchase, The Plum has kept its local ties through support from the Washington County Convention and Vistors' Bureau, local government and patronage established before Ardinger purchased it, she said. The restaurant even has expanded its horizons on occasion."I had a couple in here once on their way to Virginia from Canada. They were driving through downtown, saw our sign on West Washington Street and came in to eat. They stopped again on their way back, too," Ardinger said.

Most of the time, however, The Plum's patrons live close by.

"I get some people who come in once or twice a week, others who come in almost every day," Kane said.

Even though Ardinger does not have a goal in mind for the week's fundraising efforts, she said she expects a good response because of The Plum's and her sister-in-law's local ties. All proceeds will go to Alex's Lemonade Stand in honor of Ardinger's sister-in-law.

For more information about Alex's Lemonade Stand Fund, go to: www.alexslemonade.com.

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