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Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

Go gold in September with Alex's Million Mile.

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children. Every day, there are almost 700 new cases of childhood cancer around the world—adding up to over 250,000 new cases of cancer in children under the age of 20. Cures are needed and they are needed now! 

Each September, people everywhere “Go Gold” and raise awareness of the need for more research that leads to safer treatments and cures. September is the month when most children are heading back to school and parents are breathing a sigh of relief as the chaotic summer days end. But for thousands of children battling cancer, September is another month of treatment and hospital visits. For their parents, it is a month when there is no sigh of relief, but instead, a time to rally for their children as they fight. 

At Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, we honor the month with Alex’s Million Mile—a month long awareness and fundraising challenge when we go one million miles and raise $1 million.

You can join the movement, too!  Here are eight ways you can be bold and go gold all September long: 

1. Learn about the Gold Ribbon.

In 1997, a group of parents picked gold as the official color for the childhood cancer awareness ribbon. The color gold symbolizes how precious children are and the resiliency of childhood cancer heroes. Unlike other awareness ribbons which symbolize one specific disease, the childhood cancer ribbon stands for dozens of diseases. You can learn more about the different types of childhood cancer, including brain tumors, leukemia and other solid tumors like neuroblastoma here. 

2. Be Bold and Share!

Leading up to September and all month long, share childhood cancer facts, inspirational hero stories and our blog posts on your social media pages. Tag everything with #GoGold2017 and #AlexsMillionMile. Here are some of our favorite posts to share:

  • Hero Stories—Head to our Hero Hub for stories about children fighting childhood cancer. 
  • Research Stories—Read through our blog and learn more about the innovative research that is getting us closer to cures. 
  • All About Childhood Cancer—share our infographic, read more about childhood cancer and raise awareness. 

3. Turn Your Social Media Gold!

Turning your Facebook profile gold is easy! Check out this handy video that has all the tips you need to show your support for childhood cancer research and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  

4. Make Your Miles Count

Join Alex’s Million Mile and make your miles count all September long. From the casual walker to the active cyclist, anyone can participate in this month-long, grassroots challenge by tracking miles and raising money to help kids fight cancer. You can join a team or create your own (it just takes a couple minutes!). Then in September, track your miles and raise funds! 

Bonus: Now through August 31, Volvo will donate $10 for every team member you recruit—imagine how far this amazing donation could go! 

5.  Gold Your Gear.  

Put your DIY hat on and grab a gold permanent marker, some gold ribbon stickers and gold ribbons. Then, decorate your sneakers, your bike helmet, t-shirts and other gear. When the world sees that you are going gold, they will be inspired to join the cause too! 

6. Dress The Part.

If DIY is not your style, head to Alex’s Shop for all the best Go Gold and Childhood Cancer Awareness gear. From t-shirts to car magnets to super adorable tote bags, we’ve got everything you need to Go Gold in style!  

7. Read the Book!

One great way to raise awareness is to share the story of our founder Alex Scott. Alex was just 4-years-old when she held her first lemonade stand and created a movement to cure childhood cancer. Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand tells her story and is the perfect book to share with everyone in your life! Donate a book to your school library or offer to read at story time!

8. Donate!

Want a super easy way to make an impact? Make a donation and sign up for our One Cup At A Time Club! Whether it is $5, $50 or $500, every donation adds up to a cure for childhood cancer. 

Thank you for your support all year long. Thank you for being bold and going gold with us, one cup at a time! 


Alex's Million Mile

Pictured here: Patrick, age 8 and Alex, age 7 outside their home in Wynnewood, PA in the fall of 2003.

Our founder, Alex Scott, was fortunate in her life to have her older brother Patrick, and two younger brothers, Eddie and Joey – her 3 SuperSibs. Alex’s brothers remain involved and committed to helping other childhood cancer families.

The following letter is a heartfelt tribute from Alex’s older brother Patrick who helped her set up and run her front yard lemonade stand. Patrick is now 22 and graduated from Harvard University in 2016. He currently lives and works in Arkansas.

To my sister Alex,

Today marks 13 years since your death on August 1, 2004. At the time, you were 8 and I was 9. Had you lived, you would be 21 now. It’s difficult to imagine, because you will always be fixed in my memory, and in the memories of Mom, Dad, Eddie and Joey, as an 8-year-old girl. It’s even more difficult to think of all the things you’ve missed in the 13 years since you died; our family has had 65 birthdays, nine graduations and two new dogs.

I think that, if you were alive, even you would be surprised to see what your lemonade stand has become (or, maybe not, you always had a way of knowing things). Tens of thousands of events each year and over $140 million raised - quite a far cry from the table you set up in our front yard not too many years ago.

When I think of you on this day, the word that comes to mind is “bittersweet.” It is impossible to recollect the joy of your life without also bringing to mind the tragedy of your death and the tragedy of pediatric cancer. Should I feel happy to have known you or sad to have lost you? Should I think of the thousands of lives that your dream saved or your life that ended too soon? Should I remember the fullness of your years or the shortness of your life? Do I remember days sitting in our backyard, you drawing and me reading, or your final days, when your illness had progressed beyond the point of no return?

I could remember you as a lot of things: the lemonade girl, a childhood cancer victim, my close friend, my little sister. But none of them do you justice; you would not be you if they were not all true.

More than anything else, I remember you for what you taught me. When asked about your cancer, you once said, “I am grateful for what I have, not ungrateful for what I don’t have.” You, as a terminally ill child, were still appreciative of the blessings that you had. To me, that describes you better than any label, encapsulates your image better than any picture--it reminds me that even though you were never old in age, in some ways, you were old in wisdom. For the lessons that you taught me, I will always remember you and I will always be grateful.

With love, your brother,


Patrick Scott, far right, with Eddie, Joey, Liz and Jay Scott at The 2017 Lemon Ball

Alex Scott
Teachers, here are six great ways to make community service part of your lesson planning!

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

The first day of school is almost here! And while summer days are winding down, the fall is the perfect time to join Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) in the fight against childhood cancer. We know firsthand how amazing kids are at helping kids. Our founder, Alex Scott, was just a young girl when she held her first lemonade stand. Kids everywhere joined her call-to-action and now, ALSF is more than an organization, it’s a global movement to cure childhood cancer! 

Here are some great ways you can bring some lemonade back to school with you this fall!

1. Be Bold and Go Gold! During September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, join ALSF for Alex’s Million Mile, a month long fundraising and awareness-raising challenge! Students, teachers and their families log miles that they run, walk and ride throughout the month of September helping ALSF get to 1 million miles. Schools can also host lemonade stands and fundraise to help ALSF raise $1 million! Alex’s Million Mile is a great way to boost your school’s physical education program while helping other kids!  

2. Kick-It! New this year, Kick-It is a program that helps kick cancer out of children's lives! Your school district or school can plan a kickball tournament to benefit ALSF. Or encourage your student athletes to become Kick-It Champions and dedicate their season's stats to finding cures for childhood cancer. Learn more about Kick-It here.

3. Sweeten Your Lesson Plans. ALSF has several lesson plans for students of all ages. Plans include lessons in math, literacy and science. One of our favorites—the Lemon Juice Properties Lab—is a fun lesson plan for art or science classes! Check out all of our lesson plans here

4. Plan a Lemonade Stand. There is never a bad time of year to plan a lemonade stand! Parent-Teacher organizations can plan lemonade stands for Back-to-School night. Students can host a lemonade stand at your high school’s football games! Now is a great time to plan lemonade stands for later in the year and get your big event on the school calendar! 

5. Declare a Lemonade War. This contest, inspired by the book The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies, challenges schools to compete against each other to determine who can raise the most money through a lemonade stand project or another type of event. Sign up now for the start of the spring 2018 lemonade war!

6. Ask-a-Researcher. Plan a school-wide lemonade stand and use it as an opportunity to have your students explore careers as scientists and researchers. Schools who host lemonade stands have the opportunity to submit questions to a childhood cancer researcher and have a special video chat or recording made with a researcher!

Want more fun ideas to get your school engaged in kid-driven community service? Head over to our Schools section of the website for more great printable activities, lesson plans and ideas for students of all ages. Have specific questions, contact Ellie Paparone.

Held each September, Alex’s Million Mile is a month long fundraising challenge to benefit childhood cancer research. Whether you are a casual walker or jogger, an avid cyclist or a marathoner, YOU can make a difference in the lives of children fighting cancer.

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

Held each September, Alex’s Million Mile is a month long fundraising challenge to benefit childhood cancer research. Whether you are a casual walker or jogger, an avid cyclist or a marathoner, YOU can make a difference in the lives of children fighting cancer. 

This year, you can help raise $1 million and fund thousands of hours of innovative research and give hope to children waiting on cures. One million dollars is a huge goal, but together we can do it! To help you out, we’ve assembled some of our favorite ways to fundraise! 

1. Join Alex’s Million Mile 2017! It all starts here with your registration. You can join a team, start a team or sign up as an individual.  

2. Make the first donation. When you sign up, set your fundraising goal and make the very first donation. Your donation will inspire others to give. 

3. Set a goal and make a plan for how to achieve it. Our accountant Rob Schuster shared his tips for reaching his AMM financial and mileage goals here.

4. Be Bold! Go Gold! Wear your favorite Childhood Cancer Awareness t-shirt (available in our gift shop!) and when people comment on your attire, tell them all about your team and your fundraising goals. 

5. Ask friends to sponsor you for every mile you go. Set your mileage goal at registration and ask friends to donate 50 cents or $1 per mile!

6. Maximize company matching programs. Several companies match employee donations to their charity of choice. Check if your company matches donations and ask other supporters to do the same. 

7. Motivate yourself to raise more by looking at our leaderboard. A little friendly competition between teams is a great motivator! Check the leaderboard to see where you stand!

8. Host a Lemonade support and gear (SAG) stop. The hot summer is the perfect time for a lemonade stand SAG stop! Host a stop in the middle or end of your running group’s weekly run and ask for donations for your team. This is also a great way to grab some more team members. 

9. Set up a competition within your team to do the most fundraising before September 1. Make the prize a home cooked meal for the winner or lawn mowing services or simply bragging rights.

10. Share on your social media. Set your goal and share on your social media pages with your entire network. Be sure to include the link to your Alex’s Million Mile donation page. 

11. Host a restaurant fundraiser. Ask local restaurants to host a fundraising night and donate a portion of the day’s sales to your team. 

12. Have a direct sales party! Everyone knows someone who sells makeup or jewelry or leggings or candles! Ask your direct sales friends to host a fundraiser and donate the host rewards to your team. 

13. Get baking! Host a bake sale at work or at your children’s daycare, day camp or school. 

14. Ask and inspire your friends, colleagues and family. Send out an email about your goal and ask for donations. Tell your network the story of Alex Scott, inspire them with other childhood cancer hero stories and share why childhood cancer research is important to you. 

15. Host a neighborhood lemonade stand! Plan and schedule a lemonade stand in your front yard, at a park or at a community event! Lemonade stands are a great way to raise awareness, funds and recruit more teammates.. 

Want more great ideas? Check out our Alex’s Million Mile hub on the website. We can't wait to see how far we will go together! 

Alex's Million Mile
Ewing's Sarcoma is the result of a single oncogene called EWS-FLI1

by Trish Adkins

It all starts with what seems to be normal pain and a bump. 

To a parent, their child is just complaining about something painful on their arm, leg or pelvis. The pain worsens. The bump lingers. And after many visits to the doctor, a diagnosis is finally made—Ewing’s sarcoma, the second most common type of childhood bone cancer

What appears on an MRI as a large tumor in the bone and growing into the adjoining tissue of the body, is really the result of one of the tiniest parts of the human genome—a single abnormal oncogene, known as EWS-FLI1. It is this oncogene that orchestrates a single cell’s conversion into an Ewing’s sarcoma tumor.

Turning off this oncogene may lead to a cure for Ewing’s sarcoma. The only trouble is that scientists continue to struggle with how to turn it off.

Trading Places: Chromosomal Translocation
Prior to the discovery of EWS-FLI1 in 1992, misdiagnosis was common because the cells of Ewing’s sarcoma and other cancers looked similar under the microscope. Now, doctors know that a tumor is Ewing’s sarcoma if EWS-FLI1 is present in the patient’s cells.

EWS-FLI1 is the result of a complicated and fascinating process called chromosomal translocation, which happens when a portion of one gene trades places with a portion of another gene and causes an abnormal chromosome fusion within a single cell in the body. Once created, EWS-FLI1 begins a very precise process of turning other genes on and off in a specific pattern to drive the growth of Ewing’s sarcoma. Tumors typically occur in the bones, but they can also arise in the connective tissue or even sometimes within the organs in the body. 

For the majority of children diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, the disease is localized and has a 70% chance of being cured. For the other children with metastatic disease that has spread from the original site, a cure can be elusive and only 20% of these children will survive their cancer.

Removing EWS-FLI1 from the cells of the body seems to be the logical cure. In the lab, researchers are able to remove it, causing the tumor cells to die. So, why can’t doctors simply turn off this oncogene in children battling Ewing’s sarcoma?

That, says Dr. Stephen Lessnick, a member of the ALSF Scientific Advisory Board and physician-scientist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, is the million dollar question.

“We need to unlock the puzzle by using research to find the critical pieces of information that show how this oncogene causes Ewing’s sarcoma,” said Dr. Lessnick. “Once we know more about how EWS-FLI1 works, then we will be able to figure out exactly how to block its function.”

Finding Drugs That Stick
There are several important discoveries, powered by ALSF-funded researchers, that are moving them closer to unlocking this puzzle. Dr. Lessnick points to two approaches that are working to end the reign of EWS-FLI1. 

One approach is to target the oncogene itself (or more properly, the protein that is made by that oncogene). For years, this has been challenging. For a medication to work, it has to stick to something useful inside the cells, according to Dr. Lessnick.  “Molecularly-targeted” childhood cancer drugs that work find a tiny pocket in the protein, settle into that spot and prevent that protein from working properly thereby ending its ability to cause cancer cell growth. 

Unfortunately, EWS-FLI1 is not thought to contain any pockets for a drug to be effective. However, Dr. Jeffrey Toretsky, a researcher at Georgetown University and recipient of an ALSF Innovation Grant is currently in a Phase 1 trial of a drug that appears to block some of the function of EWS-FLI1 by sticking to it via a yet-to-be-discovered mechanism.

Another approach, which Dr. Lessnick is studying, is to target the other enzymes that EWS-FLI1 itself sticks to and uses to drive the growth of Ewing’s sarcoma. One of these enzymes, LSD1, works in concert with several different oncogenes, including EWS-FLI1. Using a drug that was created to target LSD1 in breast and prostate cancers, Dr. Lessnick and colleagues have demonstrated that the drug kills Ewing’s sarcoma cells in the laboratory setting.  He believes this could be an important breakthrough in the treatment of metastatic and relapsed Ewing’s sarcoma. Working in collaboration with other scientists, Dr. Lessnick is close to bringing this therapy to clinical trial.

“Continued research and collaboration are so critical to advance our search for cures,” said Dr. Lessnick. “No one lab has the full complement of expertise to deliver a cure singlehandedly. It’s only by working together that we will find answers and cures.”

Read more about Ewing's sarcoma and ALSF funded projects here