Boy recovering from brain surgery creates lemonade stand as part of his recovery

An 8-year-old boy recovering from brain surgery wanted to run his own lemonade stand, so his occupational therapist made that dream part of his treatment to learn how to walk again.

Ulises Ornelas was diagnosed in late February with a cavernous hemangioma tumor in his brain the size of an eyeball, his mother said. After undergoing surgery on July 19, he was admitted to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals-Lincoln Campus 12 days later to begin his recovery.

“When he first got here, he couldn’t even sit up on his own, or even stand up,” Karina Ornelas, 28, told ABC News. “Now he’s walking on his own.”

His family said the progress he has made is a testament to the treatment he’s receiving that incorporates his passions.

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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital-Lincoln CampusUlises Ornelas, 8, who is recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor, had an idea to create a lemonade stand. Occupational therapist Liz Pohlen then made it part of his treatment, Aug. 24, 2017.

After Ornelas’ 6-year-old sister, Genesis, told him about lemonade stands, he became passionate about opening one, his mother said.

His occupational therapist, Liz Pohlen, who works with Ulises Ornelas for an hour a day, was also on board.

“When I heard the idea, I decided it was more therapeutic for him if we were walking about the hospital rather than sitting on a bench,” Pohlen told ABC News.

After securing a cart, Pohlen and her young patient made a sign and decorated it.

Each step of crafting the lemonade stand was beneficial for the boy, who normally gets about three hours a day of physical, speech and occupational therapy, Pohlen said.

When the pair were done creating the cart, it was time to take it for a spin around the hospital.

“He was in charge of pushing the cart with both hands. He had no function of his left arm and left leg [after surgery], so the fact that he was able to use it at all for an hour was amazing,” Pohlen said.

Ulises Ornelas said he had a good time not only selling his lemonade but also interacting with the doctors and other patients. He even reported making a total of $85 after two rounds of selling in the hospital.

“It was really good,” Ulises Ornelas told ABC News of the experience.