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Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

In Minnesota, there is a Vikings fan who really loves his team. A week before the division championship game, he won two Super Bowl tickets in a charity raffle, sponsored by Spare Key, a St. Paul, Minnesota charity that provides assistance to families with critically ill children.  He was sure his team would make it to the Super Bowl. If they did not, well, he’d give away his Super Bowl tickets to a fan who would love to see their team play. 

As everyone knows by now, the Vikings did not make it to the Super Bowl. 

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, childhood cancer hero Cole Fitzgerald has had the same wish every year for as long as anyone can remember: for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl.

He shares this wish every year at the ALSF Lemon Ball. Here it is nestled among other Hero and SuperSibs wishes around the Fountain of Wishes. 


This year Cole got his wish when the Eagles won the Super Bowl. What is amazing is how Cole got to see his wish come true. 

That fan in Minnesota stopped watching the NFC division championship game after the first half, unable to watch the carnage and feeling resigned to a certain loss. He began searching online for an Eagles fan who might appreciate the Super Bowl ticket. Somehow, he landed on AlexsLemonade.org and found Cole—this kid—who 11 years ago fought high-risk neuroblastoma and survived. Cole survived with football dreams—not just for his beloved team to win the big game--but for someday to be a part of professional football. Childhood cancer treatment and other health issues made it impossible for Cole to be a football player. So, Cole was already pursuing his dream to be part of the staff that makes football happen. The Eagles invited Cole to work with the support staff during one regular season game—it was that accomplishment that made the Minnesota fan’s choice easy. 

That fan in Minnesota, who so loved his team and had his own Super Bowl dreams, passed the dream on to Cole. And Cole took his father, Bill, along for the ride. 

And well, the rest is history. Cole not only got his wish; but he got to see it happen, all thanks to the random act of kindness by a man he never met. 

Unfortunately, his sisters, Maggie and Maeve, did not get their wish. 

It doesn't seem like Cole will stop talking about the Eagles' win anytime soon. 

Cole and his family are no strangers to random acts of kindness, but he is usually on the giving side. The Fitzgerald family is constantly bestowing their random acts of kindness upon ALSF—from fundraising and hosting lemonade stands to securing donations for our annual Hero Holiday party—this fabulous family of five some knows how to pay it forward.

February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day. Looking for some ways to celebrate with your family? Check out our ideas, inspired by all the RAKs we’ve seen and by our founder Alex Scott. 

A few years ago, I learned about an amazing cause called Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). As an educator of young children, I was instantly inspired by this organization and its founder Alex Scott.  I thought—if one 4 year old could make a difference, imagine what I could do with an entire class? I did some more research and learned that every year children across the U.S. still hold lemonade stands to raise money for pediatric cancer research, and I began to lesson plan!


Guest post by Danielle Harrison, preschool teacher 

A few years ago, I learned about an amazing cause called Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). As an educator of young children, I was instantly inspired by this organization and its founder Alex Scott. I thought—if one 4-year-old could make a difference, imagine what I could do with an entire class? I did some more research and learned that every year children across the U.S. still hold lemonade stands to raise money for pediatric cancer research, and I began to lesson plan!

For teachers, kindness is a buzz word. But many teachers struggle with how to effectively implement this into their curriculum without it falling flat. We teach our students to share, say hello, use “kind words.” Yet after young children are drilled with these expectations daily, it begins to lose its effect. The question constantly gnawing on our teacher brains is, “What do we do next to keep it fresh, effective and meaningful?” 

ALSF is a natural fit for school curriculums. Teaching children at a young age about giving back is so important. So, four years ago we had a trial run of our first lemonade stand, and boy it was successful!

The children learned all about giving back to their communities. They discussed why to give back, how to give back and shared what causes were important to them. I had students go door-to-door to raise money, and asked one child who held a small lemonade stand to bring that money into our fund and reach our goal. Our goal was $800. We raised $4,000 (5 times our goal!). 

After our initial success, we decided to take on this challenge again. This time, our ambition and ideas grew. We made shirts, signs and of course, lemonade! Most important, we raised over $5,000. This past year, we held another Alex’s Lemonade Stand. I sat in front of the 17 4-year-olds in my class and talked about giving back. We talked about donations and why it is important to stand up and let your voice be heard about something. We explored the idea that even though we may not be sick, there are other kids that can’t go to ballet or karate or school, and we can help them! By holding a lemonade stand and standing up for something, we can make a difference. How cool is that?!

As a teacher, we must still hit teaching goals. Implementing this theme provides a wealth of opportunities to do just that. We were able to use math (charts, graphs, numbers), literacy (sign making, inventive spelling, drawing), and science (making lemonade). The well-rounded curriculum ALSF provides is unique. Aside from the cognitive benefits, the social/emotional growth is immeasurable. Watching my students begin to develop empathy is an experience I cherish every single year.

Building a generation of strong, smart, thoughtful people is important and inspiring. Teaching our students to stand up and fight for something, even if life doesn’t seem all that fair. It’s our job as educators to not only teach, but motivate our students to do more, and hopefully, one day change the world. But most importantly, and rather simply, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation teaches us a pretty valuable lesson… when life gives you lemons -- just make lemonade!


Danielle Harrison is a preschool teacher in New York City. She has Masters Degrees in early childhood education and clinical social work. Last year, Danielle was honored with the ALSF “Kids Helping Kids” Award at the Foundation’s New York City culinary event for raising over $15,000 over the past four years to help other kids. When she is not encouraging young minds and hearts, you might find her reading on the beach. In fact, her favorite way to drink lemonade is on a beach with a book in her hand. 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 
Schools
Love was in the air and lemonade was in the glasses when these three couples said “I Do” while supporting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). From substituting traditional wedding favors for donations to having a lemonade stand at their receptions, these supporters used their big days to give back and support childhood cancer research.

Love was in the air and lemonade was in the glasses when these three couples said “I Do” while supporting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). From substituting traditional wedding favors for donations to having a lemonade stand at their receptions, these supporters used their big days to give back and support childhood cancer research.

Ira and Andrea, Destined to Help
Ira and Andrea Tauber were planning a destination wedding. Since guests were traveling from far away, the couple decided to request donations to ALSF in lieu of gifts.

Ira, who is the President of Triose, a healthcare solutions company that is also a corporate partner of ALSF, believes that you get what you give—so trading wedding gifts for donations would give the couple a sense they were helping their favorite charity. 

The couple set up a fundraising page on the ALSF website, shared it with their wedding guests and raised close to $1,500. 

“Childhood cancer research is such an important cause because we believe no child should suffer or be afflicted with this terrible illness. If we find a cure for this, it will benefit generations to come who will then make a difference in the lives of others,“ said Ira.

Danielle and Michael, Taking a Stand 

Danielle and Michael Harrison are no strangers to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. For the past several years, Danielle worked with her preschool students to host school lemonade stands to benefit ALSF. When it came time to discuss a party favor for guests at their wedding, they both instantly knew that they would make a donation to the Foundation on behalf of their guests.

To make the donation an obvious part of their reception, the Harrisons set up a lemonade stand for guests to grab a cup of lemonade as they left the reception. Guests enjoyed the lemonade and were so moved that several began making donations of their own, adding to what the Harrisons already donated. 


Molly and Garrett: Skipping the Gifts

Both Molly and Garrett did not like making people feel obliged to shower them with gifts at each of their wedding events. Their engagement party was scheduled for June—right in the middle of Alex’s Lemonade Days. Molly’s best friend works for the Foundation and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to skip the gifts and give back. 

At their engagement party, Molly and Garrett asked their guests to wear something yellow and come prepared to make a donation. The party honored three childhood cancer heroes who had touched Molly and Garrett’s lives—Liam Kane and Molly Cavera, two family friends who had died of neuroblastoma and Austin Cohen, another friend who recently lost his battle against osteosarcoma. Party decorations included lemons (of course!), yellow accents and a donation table. 

Guests loved the party and helped the engaged couple raise over $5,000 in one day! 

“Unfortunately it seems that almost every person’s life has been touched by cancer in some way. Because of that, everyone could appreciate and support the cause and they were all more than happy to donate rather than buy us gifts,” said Molly. 


Want to bring a little love and lemonade to your wedding reception? Whether you make a donation in lieu of favors or ask your guests to make donations on your behalf, ALSF has tools to help you share your wedding wishes. For couples that make donations on behalf of your guests, ALSF has complimentary place cards that you can use to inform your guests of the donation. Learn more here. 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 
Fundraising Ideas

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