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Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

In 2013, I shared some words of wisdom from my daughter. Now, four years later, these words are even truer and more powerful. Keep reading to see why we all believe in miracles at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and how you can help this Giving Tuesday.

by Jay Scott, Alex’s Dad

In 2013, I shared some words of wisdom from my daughter. Now, four years later, these words are even truer and more powerful. Keep reading to see why we all believe in miracles at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and how you can help this Giving Tuesday

When Alex was 6 or 7, my wife, Liz, overheard a discussion between her and her older brother Patrick. Alex asked Patrick if he believed in miracles. 

Patrick, always the thinker, took pause, and instead of awaiting his reply, Alex simply piped in and said — “I do, I mean I could wake up one day and my cancer could be gone, that would be a miracle.”

Alex was right: she had battled cancer since before the age of one, and at the time of her death in 2004, she hadn’t been cancer-free since diagnosis. Had her cancer disappeared, it certainly would have been a miracle. But I’m not here to tell you about a miracle that saved my daughter’s life; instead, I’m here to tell you about the miracle that was her life, and how her 8 ½ years of life have left an enduring impact on the lives of other children battling cancer.

Many of you have heard the story about Alex’s first surgery on her first birthday that left her without feeling in her legs and how she willed herself to walk despite it all. Some would call that a miracle. You may have also heard that after receiving a treatment that made her feel better, 4-year-old Alex became determined to help doctors find cures through a front-yard lemonade stand. Alex would raise more than $1 million in her lifetime; that could be considered a miracle too. 

For me, the true miracle is that what Alex started in our front yard continues to make a difference today, 13 years after she lost her own life to the disease. Through Alex’s determination to help others, she got her miracle, in the form of being a part of the cures for others.

You may recall the story of Edie Gilger. Like Alex, Edie was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma before she was a year old. Despite aggressive treatment, Edie’s cancer persisted. She was quickly running out of options for a cure. 

However, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia were enrolling children in a clinical trial designed to treat children with a specific abnormal gene called “anaplastic lymphoma kinase” (ALK). ALK drives the development of cancer. Edie was ALK-positive and she was enrolled in the trial. 

Doctors used a drug called crizotinib, which was already FDA-approved to treat lung cancer in adults. Crizotinib turns off the ALK gene and in turn, stops cancerous cells from multiplying. When crizotinib is effective, cancer disappears. 

For Edie, that is exactly what happened. Edie is now 8 years old. Instead of spending her days in the hospital, Edie is in second grade and loves dancing, gymnastics and playing the ukulele. Edie does not have lingering side effects from her treatment. 

Edie is cancer-free. 

For Edie, through research that was funded by the Foundation my daughter started, her miracle happened: she woke up one day and her cancer was gone.

This is just one story of one child with one specific type of cancer. But this breakthrough continues to make the difference for other children who are ALK-positive. And it continues to spur researchers forward as they look for custom, precision treatments driven by the genetic makeup of the cancers that children are battling. 

As we get ready to turn the page on yet another year, the words of my daughter reverberate in my mind; miracles are possible through hard work and determination. We are making progress finding better treatments and cures for all kids with cancer, but we have such a long way to go. Alex knew how powerful hope was. We shouldn’t stand in its way. She believed that she would get her miracle, and although it wasn’t the cure she had dreamed of for herself, her vision of helping others has been fulfilled.

I hope wherever you are and however you helped in the fight against childhood cancer, you will continue to do so for years to come, day in and day out. After all, as Albert Einstein said:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

How you can help this Giving Tuesday
As Alex's supporters, you exemplify the spirit of giving miracles throughout the year. Whether it's during Alex's Lemonade Days, Alex's Million Mile or any ALSF event, your compassion is bringing us closer to a cure every day. Now, we have something big planned for the most generous day of the year, Giving Tuesday, and you can be a part of it!

We're asking dedicated members of Team Alex to set up a Facebook fundraising page to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation this Giving Tuesday. Even if you have not created a Facebook fundraiser before, we have all the resources you need to get started. 

Watch this video for an easy tutorial on how to set up your page. 

Once your Facebook fundraising page is set to support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, all you have to do is share the page on November 28th on Facebook and encourage everyone to give! Think of it as a virtual lemonade stand and you will be amazed how impactful your fundraiser can be. 

And if you want to simply donate, just head to our Facebook page and make a Giving Tuesday donation there! 

Together, we can make a huge difference by providing more funds and awareness for kids fighting cancer everywhere.

Categories: 
Alex Scott
This holiday season gift your loved ones with some amazing presents from Alex’s Shop! We have something for everyone on your list. The best part—every purchase supports childhood cancer research. Here are ten of our favorites (and you can pursue the entire collection here, in Alex's Shop.):

This holiday season gift your loved ones with some amazing presents from Alex’s Shop! We have something for everyone on your list. The best part—every purchase supports childhood cancer research. Here are ten of our favorites:

1. Hero Puppy Holiday Gift


If you are like us and believe everyone deserves a puppy this Christmas, then Hero, the ALSF plush puppy, is the perfect item for you to gift. Ideal for little kids, big kids and grown kids, Hero comes in a special limited edition lemon gift box and includes a custom handwritten gift card (making Hero perfect for sending to a loved one far away). 
 

2. Donate Research

Have a loved one who literally has everything? This year, give them the gift of research! With research options to fit every budget (from $25 for 30 minutes to $800 for 2 days), you can sponsor cutting-edge childhood cancer research on behalf of a friend or family member. Plus, ALSF will send them a handwritten acknowledgment card and you can rest easy with the knowledge that your 30 minutes of research could be the 30 minutes that leads to a breakthrough. 
 

3. Embroidered Beanie

Pull your cold-weather look together with the ALSF embroidered beanie—available in blue, black or gray and with or without the pom-pom. The neutral colors coordinate with most winter coats and, of course, supporting childhood cancer research is always in style! 
 

4. Vintage Alex’s Long Sleeve Tee

Distressed in all the right places, the all-new long sleeve vintage t-shirt is perfect for every guy and gal on your list. Available in unisex sizes S-XXL, this t-shirt is just right for layering, snuggling and sharing your love for ALSF wherever you go!
 

5. 2017 Ornament

Destined to be a classic, the 2017 ALSF Holiday Ornament honors the 13-year commitment of Applebee’s restaurants to ALSF. The ornament design is based on a lemonade stand at the State Street Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar in Idaho. This July, over 1,000 Applebee's restaurants joined us in the fight against childhood cancer by raising over $1.3 million during their campaign, bringing their total to over $8 million for childhood cancer research. Perfect for your tree or your kitchen window, the 2017 ornament is a beautiful way to brighten any holiday decor! 
 

6. Slice of Hope necklace

When it comes to finding cures for childhood cancer, every slice makes a difference! Our beautiful Slice of Hope necklace is the perfect gift for the jewelry lovers on your list. Available in gold or silver plating, the Slice of Hope necklace is a constant reminder that lemons can turn into lemonade! 
 

7. Alex’s Table Cookbook

Featuring over 55 recipes from world-renown chefs, Alex’s Table is the perfect cookbook for the foodies on your list! The cookbook contains inspirational stories, a variety of recipes for everything from cocktails to entrees to decadent desserts. Beautifully illustrated, this cookbook is everything your kitchen is waiting for! 
 

8. Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand

Whether shopping for a teacher gift or a gift for a special child in your life, Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand shares the story of Alex Scott and the founding of ALSF. Illustrated by Alex’s aunt, Pam Howard, the book is filled with hope and insight on how one amazing little girl inspired a worldwide movement to cure childhood cancer. 
 

9. Alex and Ani Zest for Life Bangle

This charm from our partners at Alex and Ani is a reminder that when life hands you lemons, you have the power to take positive action, sweeten the situation and make lemonade.The power to create a desirable outcome is always within reach. The bracelet is available in gold or silver (and pairs perfectly with our Slice of Hope necklace!). ALEX AND ANI will donate 20% of the purchase price* from each Zest for Life Charm sold to ALSF.  

10. Ugly Christmas Sweater

We all know Cancer is Ugly and who doesn’t love a whimsical ugly Christmas sweater! Thanks to UglyChristmasSweater.com, this holiday season you can own the best ugly sweater adorned with lemon slices and gold ribbons! The sweater is available in unisex sizes S-3XL. Ugly Christmas Sweater is donating 50% from each order to ALSF—which is a beautiful thing! 
 

Are you ready to get your shopping on? You can check out our full range of ALSF products at Alex's Shop and also shop with our Partners, here. Check back at Alex’s Shop on Cyber Monday (November 27) for 30% off site wide! (Excludes research gifts and print on demand cycling jerseys, running singlets, and long sleeve REC tees.)

Categories: 
Gift Shop
Lessons in gratitude from a childhood cancer mom

by Megan Roberts, Hero Mom

For some of us, gratitude is as true and as easy as the color of our eyes; for others, like me, gratitude takes work. Daily, sometimes hourly, often moment-to-moment work. And it starts by being present.

My oldest son Declan was diagnosed with cancer when he was just 3 years and 7 months old. I was also mother to Brendan, a toddler, and I was seven months pregnant with my third son, Tommy. A childhood cancer diagnosis could not have been a bigger surprise--or shock. I was prepared for having my hands full with three busy, healthy boys. But my oldest with cancer? A diagnosis I could hardly pronounce and needed Google to help me spell? How was I going to handle this?

At first, my husband, Bill, and I chose to keep the specific diagnosis, primary CNS rhabdomyosarcoma, from our family and friends because we knew from our own internet searches that the news was not often hopeful.  We wanted to direct the way people responded to Declan’s diagnosis because he needed only focused, positive, hopeful thoughts reflected back on him. So we chose to limit the information we shared about the diagnosis itself, and instead shared information about how GOOD Declan was feeling and how GOOD it was when we were all home together. We remained present in Declan’s goodness.

Then, Declan took over and he showed us how to be both present and grateful.

The name Declan is of Irish origin and it means ‘full of goodness.’ I learned quickly that Declan and his infinite goodness would direct us through his cancer journey. His curiosity about everything kept him engaged with his oncology nurses, even when the regular needle pokes made him cry. His playful spirit got him up and out of bed quickly after each brain surgery and kept him active and busy throughout his chemo treatments. His joy and his grace were boundless. 

Make no mistake: childhood cancer brings its burdens. If we hadn’t followed Declan’s lead, we would have seen his diagnosis as only a burden. But when we focused on Declan’s curiosity, spirit and joy, it became our own. It fueled our family. Being together was the best medicine for Declan, and when we were together, there was no burden. We rejoiced in each new day together. We graciously accepted each prayer, gift and meal delivered to our hearts and our doorstep. We remained present and we were grateful.

Declan died one year after he was diagnosed. And I will tell you, it felt like the light and the spirit of our family died with him. For a long time, it was really hard to find, feel and express gratitude. It was harder still to be present. 

This past October, I attended my first bereavement retreat. It was so wonderful; I didn’t want the weekend to end. Six and half years after Declan’s diagnosis and five and half years after his passing, I found my community of deepest comfort. I could be myself, in both grief and joy.  

No one stared, no one wondered, no one whispered. Not when I cried and not when I laughed. And that was the freedom that I was most grateful for: to share laughter--tears rolling down the cheeks laughter with the same people I grieved with just moments earlier. No judgment. Pure freedom to just be. My heart felt so good.

Cancer can bring profound hardships and burdens onto a family. No two families receive or carry their child’s diagnosis in the same way. And each family has their own experiences with gratitude. For our family, I am grateful for the grace that came to us with cancer. And it is grace that continues to bring peace to our hearts.

Sometimes gratitude whispers, and you have to push hard against the fear just to touch it. And sometimes gratitude swells so big and so deep inside that it lights up your face and falls out in a mass of tears. However gratitude comes to you today, know that you have the grace in your heart to feel it. 

A peaceful, happy Thanksgiving to you.

Megan Roberts is the mom to Declan, Brendan and Tommy and wife to Bill. The Roberts Family are active Hero Ambassadors for ALSF. Megan uses her unique experience to connect with other families, trying to bring grace during hard times. Read more about Declan's goodness here.

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