Aug 30, 2022
AUSTINTOWN — Eight-year-old Annalise Kenyon couldn’t think of a better way to honor the memory of her Aunt Mimi than caring for the rescue animals that Mimi loved.
Annalise told her mom that she wanted to give her birthday money to the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County.
“She doesn’t spend her birthday money. She’s 8. I don’t think she’s spent a penny of her birthday money in eight years,” Melissa Kenyon said.
Amy Kenyon-Bowman — Aunt Mimi — had that kind of effect on her young niece and on others.
But the Austintown Intermediate School third-grader had bigger plans than birthday money alone. She’s got her family working on Aunt Mimi’s Lemonade Stand, which will be open noon to 5 p.m. Saturday outside the Kenyon home, 2039 Elm Trace St., Austintown.
“Every penny will go to the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County,” where Aunt Mimi and other family members got their rescue dogs, Melissa said.
“Always be kind to others,” Annalise said, quoting her aunt.
Amy Kenyon-Bowman was a newlywed when she died July 16.
A 1993 graduate of Girard High School, she earned her bachelor’s degree in social work in 2011. She worked at Mercy Health for more than 20 years, where she was a safety companion for patients.
Over the years, she adopted several dogs from the Animal Welfare League, 812 Youngstown Kingsville Road SE, Vienna, including current canines Max and Molly.
“She also adopted a dog named Louie from AWL for her grandpa, Robert Harcarik, after her grandma passed away, to keep him company,” Melissa said. “He was such a good boy to Grandpa and when he (Harcarik) passed, Amy and her family took Louie in to live out the rest of his life.
Melissa and her husband, Gregory — Amy’s brother — adopted a dog named Piglet from the AWL when Piglet was 6 weeks old.
“She’s now 11. She has some arthritis starting but is such a joy, we can’t imagine not having her with us,” Melissa said.
An accumulation of medical problems built up over time, starting with a diagnosis of diabetes in 2013, Melissa said. Her planned September wedding to James Bowman was postponed when the family contracted COVID-19. Amy underwent open-heart surgery in October. Her health issues also included dialysis.
By the time of her April 30 rescheduled wedding, “she was starting to get better,” Melissa said.
Less than three months later, on July 16, she passed away.
The family isn’t sure what happened. Amy asked her husband for her inhaler and by the time he got it, she had passed out. She didn’t regain consciousness. An hour later, she passed. She was 47.
Annalise once saw a lemonade stand set up to benefit animals. She thought that would be a great idea.
“When we were talking about the lemonade stand idea one night, my husband said the Kidney Foundation would’ve been a good idea, also, but Annalise said AWL was ‘more fun’ and that Aunt Mimi loved animals,” Melissa said.
“Annalise has done a lot of the planning,” Melissa said. “I had her try to find an address for the rescue and help with communicating with them. I had her research them so if people asked questions about them, she could answer.
“We just wanted to call it Amy’s Lemonade but she came up with Aunt Mimi’s Lemonade Stand, and we thought it had a cute sound to it. She is really enjoying the planning aspects of it.”
Annalise also is researching price points.
“My son, who’s 5, said we should do $100 for a cup of lemonade,” Melissa said. “Annalise said we can do $1.50 a cup.”
Annalise is weighing her options but leaning toward “suggested donations.”
Little brother Jordan is coloring in flyers that Annalise draws, and he takes trips to the store with his mom for lemonade and baking supplies.
Annalise said the menu includes whoopie pies, and lemon, strawberry and chocolate chip cookies.
There’s something else she hopes her customers pick up: “I hope they understand how to be kind to others and to always help others,” Annalise said.
Melissa said they checked with Austintown Township trustees and the health department to ensure they stay within regulations.
“They said it was OK for us to do this as long as it was done on a private residence and run by people under 12,” Melissa said.
The Makers Design in Austintown donated 10 custom T-shirts for the kids and their adult helpers to wear on Saturday.
Jim Bowman, Amy’s husband, said he hasn’t been as heavily involved in the lemonade stand because he’s still mourning the loss of his wife. But he likes the plan.
“I think it is a great idea and something she really cared about,” he said. “It is a great way to honor her.
“This has been incredibly difficult for me. I’ve lost the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’m relying on my faith to get me through this,” Jim said. “I think what her family is doing is a great way to honor her.”
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