Giving back is something we’re incredibly passionate about, which is why we’re honored to partner with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). As a non-profit that’s dedicated to supporting research for childhood cancer, we know that every dollar we donate — as a direct result of your purchases — makes an impact. But that’s not all — another reason we love ALSF is that they teach children about the importance of giving back.
We sat down with co-Executive Director Liz Scott to learn firsthand about how ALSF got started, the great work they’re doing, and how you (and your kids) can help! Read on for our interview with Liz:
Can you tell us about how ALSF got started?
My daughter Alex was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer, just before her 1st birthday. She began treatment right away. She seemed to be beating the odds—but her tumors started growing again. We began to explore experimental options because all of the known cures had failed her. We found an innovative treatment that offered promise for her type of cancer and decided to give it a try. We told her it was a “brand new treatment” to get her excited about the idea of going through yet another treatment. Within days of receiving it, she told us it had worked and that she felt better; her pain was gone.
Alex was determined to help other kids. She kept insisting that we hold a lemonade stand—for months, she asked me about setting it up. Finally, when I asked her what she wanted to buy with the money from her stand, she said, “I’m not keeping it. I am giving it to the hospital so they can help kids the way they helped me.” I was proud of her but also doubted that she could have much of an impact with lemonade stands.
Alex’s first stand was on July 1, 2000. Alex brought her sunny smile and lemonade stand to her family’s front yard and raised $2,000. The following year, she held another stand. The next year, another. Word spread, and other people started having lemonade stands, too.
Alex died in August 2004 when she was eight years old. She had raised more than $1 million to help find cures for other children. We knew we had to continue our daughter’s mission, and we’ve been doing it for 21 years with the help of supporters everywhere.
What are your biggest goals?
Our mission is to fund cutting-edge research that searches for safer treatments and cures for children with all types of cancer. We work with our Scientific Advisory Board to identify the most promising research so that we can be a catalyst to accelerate the pace of discovery—taking science from the lab to the clinic.
We also know firsthand the toll that childhood cancer can take on families. The moment a child is diagnosed, everything changes. Families can experience financial insecurity, along with emotional and psychological impacts. Through our Travel for Care program, we help families with the cost of traveling to treatment. Our Clinical Trials Navigation program is another free resource we offer to help families search for open trials. And the SuperSibs program provides comfort, support, and encouragement to siblings as they navigate childhood cancer, too.
How can kids and families help find a cure for childhood cancer?
Kids and families can get involved by hosting a front yard lemonade stand! Anyone anywhere can host a lemonade stand to help kids with cancer. A great time to host is during Lemonade Days, held June 5-13 this year. During Lemonade Days, supporters everywhere host stands—raising money and awareness of the need for childhood cancer research. Kids and families can also participate in Virtual Runs and sign up for The Million Mile. The Million Mile is held every September during Childhood Cancer Awareness month. All ages can participate and log the miles they walk, run, or bike (or get pushed in their strollers!).
Any advice for children starting a lemonade stand?
Have fun! Hosting a lemonade stand is so much fun. It is a great way to connect with your neighbors and your community. All you need is some lemonade, cups, a table, and something to collect donations. When families register their stand with ALSF, they receive lots of great resources in the stand kits we send, plus we have some great downloads on our website! Kids can have fun making signs and decorations, making and serving lemonade, and then feeling good about the wonderful way they helped other kids!
What advice would you give to families dealing with childhood cancer?
Every family’s childhood cancer experience will be different. In the beginning, you may feel alone—but there is a community of families going through a similar journey—and that community is beautiful, strong support. You have to take the journey one day at a time and know that there are other families there to support you when you are ready.
Can you tell us about something that’s giving you hope or making you smile today?
Every day I think of the families we have heard from whose children are growing up, celebrating birthdays, graduating from high school, making memories. Many of them are kids like Alex, that the known cures had failed. Thanks to research funded by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, they received a new innovative therapy that led to their cure. This is a gift to me as a mom as I know that Alex lives on through these other children.
Childhood cancer is a problem with complex solutions. But thanks to ALSF’s work and support from families like yours, change is happening. We’re so proud of the work that ALSF is doing and are inspired by Alex every single day. We encourage you to host a Lemonade Stand with your family to show your support for the organization and teach your littles how the small things can create big change. We’d love to see your lemonade stands, so be sure to register with ALSF and share them with us on social media and in our VIP Facebook Community.