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Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

Brain tumor cells use the process of autophagy to survive. Childhood cancer researcher Dr. Levy is working to stop the process and kill cancer cells.

An ALSF-funded researcher is working to combat the process of autophagy and destroy brain tumor cells. Above, brain tumor cells under stress show a high level of autophagy, as exhibited by the brown spots. 

by Trish Adkins

In order to survive, the cells of the body are constantly recycling within themselves, taking proteins inside the cell, scooping them up, breaking the proteins down and releasing the energy back into the cell as new building blocks. Every cell in the body performs this process, called autophagy. The word literally means “self-eating,” and in addition to giving cells an internal source of energy, autophagy also helps cells remain healthy by keeping invaders like bacteria, viruses or chemotherapy out. Cells that live in harsh environments—environments like the brain where cells have limited blood supply—are skilled at using autophagy to survive. 

Brain tumor cells are experts at autophagy and use the process to survive chemotherapy, becoming resistant to treatment, leaving doctors without effective tools to stop cell growth and leaving children and their families without hope for a cure.

Until now. 

Jean Mulcahy Levy, MD, an ALSF Young Investigator grant recipient, is studying how stopping autophagy can be an effective treatment for some types of brain tumors.

Autophagy: Key to Cell Survival 
Dr. Levy's research on autophagy is based on the discovery of the 2016 Nobel Prize winning scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi. Ohsumi first detected the process of autophagy in yeast. The process helps explain how human beings can survive in extreme situations, like starvation, and also how cancer cells can survive treatments that should work, but simply do not. 

Anytime cells become stressed out—whether by treatment or cell environment—they ramp up their recycling process to survive.  

Autophagy and the BRAF Mutation
Dr. Levy’s research discovered that brain tumors with a BRAF mutation inhibiting autophagy can stop the tumors from becoming treatment resistant, allowing chemotherapy to work and eliminate disease. 

The BRAF mutation is the most common genetic mutation found in human cancers and is found across a variety of low grade and some of the harder to treat high-grade brain tumors, such as high-grade glioblastoma.

Dr. Levy used chloroquine, a medicine originally created to treat malaria in the 1950s, to inhibit autophagy. Since it is already approved for patient use, the drug is safe and readily available.  In the treatment of malaria, chloroquine stopped the malaria parasite from living in the blood cells. In the treatment of brain cancer, Dr. Levy’s hope was that chloroquine would stop autophagy and overcome the resistance to chemotherapy, killing the brain cancer cells and bringing children closer to a cure. 

And it worked. 

In Dr. Levy’s lab tests and with three patients battling relapsed brain tumors with the BRAF mutation, chloroquine used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation resulted in positive clinical outcomes. The brain tumor cells became susceptible to chemotherapy protocols.

The next step for Dr. Levy’s research is a clinical trial, which will expand the number of patients treated and continue to prove the safety and efficacy of chloroquine for autophagy inhibition in patients with the BRAF mutation. 

“Identifying new treatment options like autophagy inhibition, allows us to treat patients who have exhausted treatment options,” says Dr. Levy. “It also provides another option for patients for whom newer immunotherapies have failed.”

Dr. Levy’s work, “Autophagy inhibition overcomes multiple mechanisms of resistance to BRAF inhibition in brain tumors,” was published in the January 17, 2017 issue of eLife.

Read more about Dr. Levy’s work here. 

Categories: 
Autophagy
How to get the most out of your online lemonade stand page.

by Ernie DiLullo, Digital Content Specialist ALSF

When you register your lemonade stand, you automatically get an event page. Your event page is a great way for you to communicate with your network and collect online donations. There are a wide variety of features that you can use to help promote your event, inspire donors and meet your fundraising goals! 

1. Customize Your Page
When creating an event page, always make sure that you have the correct date, time and location so people who are searching for events near them can find you. You can also customize your message with event details and anything special you have planned at your event. We have default banner images that you can use, but users are able to upload their own images.

2. Post Stand Photos to Your Wall
One of the core features on our event pages is the ability to post messages and photos to your wall. It’s very easy for page owners to create posts that can be shared with your family and friends. This is a great way to let people know why you are hosting a lemonade stand -- to fight childhood cancer

3. Use Our RSVP System
A newer feature on our event pages is the ability to invite friends and family to attend your event. On your stand page, you can scroll down to the “RSVP” tab and click on “Invite friends and family to come to your stand.” After clicking on the RSVP tab, a pop-up menu will allow you to choose a template for your email invitation. You can then fill out the emails of all the people you want to invite to your stand. You can customize the email and include an image.

4. Share Your Page
We allow users to easily share their event pages with friends and family. You can share your page with your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn network and personal email contacts. All you have to do is click on one of the icons next to “Share this page.” You can select from 3 different messages or you can write your own! This is a quick and simple way to get the word out about your upcoming event.

These are just some of the many ways that you can get the most out of your event page. During Alex’s Lemonade Days, don’t forget to display the event ID at your stand so people can indicate on their check that they want their donation to go towards your stand.

Alex's Lemonade Days are held June 3-June 11, 2017.  Pick a day (or days!) that week and host a stand! Sign up here (it's easy!) Thank you for joining us to find cures, one cup at a time! ​

Ernie DiLullo is the Digital Content Specialist for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, who is in charge of making updates to our website and ensuring that it is as user-friendly as possible for all of our supporters.

 

Categories: 
Lemonade Days
Kick-It, a national charitable athletic campaign for childhood cancer research has officially joined the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation family.

Liz Scott and Allison Clarke are two moms on a mission to cure childhood cancer. 

by Trish Adkins, ALSF 

In 2000, 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott asked her parents to help host her first lemonade stand in her front yard. Alex had been battling neuroblastoma since just before her first birthday and wanted to do something to help other kids battling cancer feel better. Alex raised over $2,000 at her first stand and kicked off a legacy of lemonade stands and hope. 

Nine years later, 10-year-old Quinn Clarke was fighting his second battle with cancer. Like Alex, he asked his parents to help him do something to help other kids. Quinn wanted to hold a kickball game to raise money for research. More than 500 people came to support him and he inspired a movement! People everywhere, even in Australia, began to hold kickball games to support childhood cancer research. 

Now, these organizations started by two amazing childhood cancer heroes have come together to find cures for childhood cancer, one kick at a time! Kick-It, a national charitable athletic campaign for childhood cancer research has officially joined the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation family. We chatted with Alex’s mom Liz Scott and Quinn’s mom Allison Clarke about this new amazing partnership. 

Both Alex and Quinn battled childhood cancer. Tell me about your children and their fight against cancer.
 
Liz:
Alex was a determined, courageous, confident and inspiring child with big dreams and big accomplishments. After her first surgery for neuroblastoma,  doctors told us it was doubtful Alex would ever walk again.  Just two weeks later, Alex slightly moved her leg at our request. I think that shows her determination was always there. Later, she became determined to hold lemonade stands and give the money to her hospital. And when those efforts took off, but her own health was failing, she became still more determined to raise $1 million dollars before her death—and she did it.

But Alex is more than just a girl who battled cancer. She is my daughter and a sister and a cousin and a niece and a granddaughter. She loved fashion and Junie B. Jones and her dog Shammy and her cat Herbert. Her favorite colors were blue and purple. We miss her every day.  

Allison: 
At 6-months-old, Quinn was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow along the nervous system. Most tumors are benign, but some can be cancer.  At 20-months-old, Quinn was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of soft tissue cancer. He immediately underwent surgery to remove the tumor followed by a year of chemo and radiation. 

He was relatively healthy until age 10 when doctors found a large MPNST (malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor) in his hip. Chemotherapy was not effective and doctors sent him home on hospice. We ended up at MD Anderson for proton radiation therapy and then surgery to remove the tumor and his hip. After surgery, Quinn started an experimental drug. Doctors don’t know if the drug has kept Quinn cancer free or if he is in the 3% of MPNST kids that survive. Quinn had a long recovery process learning to walk with only one hip – which then led to a curve in his spine and spinal fusion surgery. 

Quinn is now a 17-year-old high school junior. He also loves to ski, which he re-learned to do through an adaptive ski program. Despite physical limitations, he never complains, works hard and takes life as it comes! He continues to do well in school and is excited to go to college.

How did battling cancer change your family?

Allison:
It’s hard to quantify how cancer has changed our family. On the positive side, it has made us grateful for each day we have together and we don’t wait to take vacations and do fun things with the kids. Kick-It would not exist if we didn’t experience the world of childhood cancer and it has been personally fulfilling to help others. On the other hand, we all worry that Quinn’s cancer will return and sometimes those emotions can be difficult to manage. 

Liz:
It is hard to say how cancer changed our family because it has been a part of our lives since our family was very young. In addition to losing our daughter, there are many other things cancer took from our family-- worrying and some level of anxiety became a way of life for all of us, which shapes you as a person. On the other hand, we have seen firsthand what has been gained and the good that can come from something so tragic. Alex’s life and legacy are something our whole family is proud of and she gave us a way to continue to have her in our lives; we know how lucky we are in that regard.  

Liz, what about Quinn reminds you of Alex?

Liz:
Like Alex, Quinn was determined to help other kids which took an extraordinary level of leadership in that you have to look past your own pain and challenges to see that others are suffering also. Like Alex, he believed that his age was a not a barrier to making a difference and he created an easy way for people of any age to get involved and contribute to the fight against childhood cancer. 


Allison, what about Alex reminds you of Quinn?

Allison: 
I wish I had the opportunity to meet Alex! I think Alex and Quinn inspired others to get involved because of their belief that anything is possible. The optimism and innocence of kids fighting cancer are amazing. They both wanted to do something to help other kids with cancer and weren’t focused on their own situations. 

What makes the ALSF and Kick-It partnership, so great?

Allison:

We have deep admiration for Liz and Jay, both as the co-executive directors of ALSF and as people. We have been co-funding research with them for years and knew that they had the ability to take our Kick-it program to the next level. Working together, we can have an even bigger impact! 

Liz:
Kick-It and ALSF are such an amazing match. We are inspired by Allison and her husband Kip and just connect on so many levels as parents. We love their energy and how fun they are to be around but recognize how serious they are about making a difference for this cause. I think it is pretty clear why people have gravitated to their family to create the Kick-It movement. The atmosphere of a Kick-It kickball game is fun, positive and inspirational! It so much like an Alex’s Lemonade Stand.  And I think the Kick-It Champion program is such a smart way to leverage the dedication of student-athletes to their sport by turning their accomplishments into funds raised for childhood cancer research.

Curing childhood cancer can seem like an impossible goal at times, but Alex believed that if we all work together, “we can do it.” Today, I know that is true more than ever and could not be more honored to be work together with Allison, her team and everyone involved with Kick-It to reach that goal!   

Kick-It, formerly a program of Flashes of Hope, is a national charitable athletic campaign to raise money for much-needed childhood cancer research. Kick-It partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) this year in order to further the vision of a 10-year-old boy with cancer who wanted to help other kids like him. This partnership emerged from their similar beginnings as both charities were founded by children battling cancer. Kick-It encourages supporters to host charity kickball games in their communities. It also partners with student athletes through its Kick-It Champions program. Athletes dedicate their season’s performance to Kick-It and raise awareness and funds for research. Learn more and host your own Kick-It game here.

Categories: 
Fundraising Ideas
20 Motherhood lessons from childhood cancer

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

We talked to some hero moms and asked them, “How did childhood cancer alter your motherhood? What lessons did you learn?”

Last year, we shared 10 of those lessons. However, it was not enough. So this year, here are 20 more things that we learned about motherhood from childhood cancer:

1. Motherhood is the coexistence of every emotion that exists. 

2. Motherhood can mean parenting a legacy because your child is not physically here, but their legacy lives on. 

3. Motherhood is appreciating the noise. 

4.  Motherhood is made easier with other mothers walking beside you offering their support.

5. Motherhood requires self-forgiveness.

6. Motherhood is knowing that your hopes for your child will change as they change and accepting that you cannot control the outcome. 

7. Motherhood is knowing that you will fail and fall, but unconditional love will always lift you up. 

8. Motherhood is being grateful for all things, even the less than ideal moments.

9. Motherhood is not waiting for tomorrow—because tomorrow is never guaranteed. 

10. Motherhood is holding onto the moment.

11. Motherhood is the center of everything you do—career, friendships, your home, yourself—are all still important, but only in the context of motherhood. 

12. Motherhood is knowing that the dark days will come and they will come again, but the light days—the bright days come again too. 

13. Motherhood is learning to see your child separate from you.

14. Motherhood is knowing that growing up is a gift—and the end of childhood should not be mourned, it should be celebrated. 

15. Motherhood is learning to treat your children equally, but differently and parenting each specific to their needs. 

16. Motherhood is being an advocate, but knowing you can’t do it everything for your child, no matter if they 3 or 30. 

17. Motherhood is experiencing the ultimate humility. You are not invincible and you are not a superhero. You cannot make it all okay for your child.

18. Motherhood is taking a vacation, being goofy and laughing.

19. Motherhood is having unconditional love—not just for your children, but for yourself.

20. Motherhood is forever. Nothing, not even childhood cancer, can take your title of “Mom” away. 

 

Special thanks to Robin, AnnMarie, Kira, Liz, Anita, Miriam, Keren, Jennie and Beth for sharing their stories with us. Happy Mother’s Day to hero Moms, heroes, SuperSibs and the wonderful mothers who love and support them all.

Trish Adkins is a writer for ALSF. She is most proud of being Mom to her childhood cancer hero Lily and SuperSibs Chloe and Nicholas. 

Nurses Week is a great time to give thanks to the amazing oncology nurses who care for children battling cancer.

All of the illustrations in Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand are real people. Above, one of Alex's favorite nurses, Lisa

by Jay Scott, Alex’s Dad

In our book, Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand, there is a picture of a woman on crutches. This character was based on one of Alex’s favorite nurses, a woman named Lisa.   Alex loved her so much, that she once asked Lisa if she would come along if her lemonade stand took a cross-country road trip. Alex did not want to her port accessed by nurses that didn’t know how to do it as good as Lisa did. 

Lisa was not just a nurse. She was also a childhood cancer hero. First, she battled Ewing’s sarcoma when she was ten.  Then in college, Lisa relapsed with osteosarcoma and lost her leg to the disease. As an adult, she battled cancer twice more—beating it each time.

Lisa was also the fastest nurse on the oncology floor—even on her crutches. She was a joy and understood how Alex and other kids battling cancer needed to be cared for—because she was once in their position.

Lisa died in December 2016—not from cancer, but from side effects of treatment. Her body was so beat up from fighting cancers with chemotherapy and radiation. Lisa’s story is another example of why we do what we do at ALSF—we need better and less toxic treatments so kids not only survive, but they thrive and continue to live long healthy lives. 

A few years ago, Lisa was honored with the Pitcher of Hope Award, an award that Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) gives out to someone who has had an impact on the CHOP Oncology Department. Her awards ceremony included a flash mob—something she always wanted to be a part of. One of our Scientific Advisory Board members, Dr. Garrett Brodeur, even joined the flash mob. Here's a video: 

Lisa’s legacy of turning lemons into lemonade lives on in the nurses she inspired, the patients she cared for and the families she loved each and every day. 

Nurses Week is celebrated each year in May to honor the amazing nurses, like Lisa, who do so much for their patients. Do you have a story of an amazing nurse? Share it with us on Facebook. You can read more about Lisa here.

 

Categories: 
Alex Scott
You know the old saying that accessories make the outfit? Well, accessories also make your lemonade stand! ALSF has all the extras you need to make your stand Stand Out from the crowd! Here are my top 5 favorite event accessories from Alex’s Shop:

Alex's Shop has the perfect accessories for your lemonade stand! 


by Megan Tanney, Merchandise and Production Coordinator

You know the old saying that accessories make the outfit? Well, accessories also make your lemonade stand! Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) has all the extras you need to make your stand Stand Out from the crowd! Here are my top 5 favorite event accessories from Alex’s Shop:

1. Collect donations in style
Where does the money go? First it goes in our donation container! Watch the donations stack up in our ALSF-branded donation container, complete with a coin slot lid.

2. Elevate your selfies
 Have your visitors take photos with our Selfie Sign and tag @alexslemonade. It's not all about fundraising, but spreading awareness too!

3. Keep yourself in the shade with our signature Lemon Shades
Lemonade Days are sunny days! We’ve got you covered with our Lemon Shades. Our bright yellow sunglasses will definitely help you stand out and let everyone know that you're fighting childhood cancer. Lemon shades are sold in a multipack of 10, so you can share the shade! 

4. Make your mark
Attract more people and let everyone know what your fundraising for with our trendy pennant flags! Fabric banners are also available—both are the perfect way to elevate your lemonade stand and let everyone know you are raising money for childhood cancer research.

5. Cups, of course
Serve every cup of lemonade in our ALSF-branded cups! Let everyone know that with their donation we're one cup closer to finding a cure for childhood cancer. Our cups are sold in a package of 100, so everyone can enjoy a cup of icy cold lemonade! 

Visit Alex's Shop to find even more items to decorate your stand and make a difference.

Megan Tanney grew up with pink lemonade in the refrigerator and a love of design. The Merchandise and Production Coordinator job is a dream come true for Megan!

Categories: 
Lemonade Days
Partnering with local businesses is a great way to raise more awareness of the need for childhood cancer research.

by Anita Gates, Manager of Partnerships

One great way to expand your lemonade stand is to get local businesses involved! Local businesses can help you raise awareness, increase donations and bring more traffic to your lemonade stand. Asking and getting the yes can feel daunting, but it is actually not as tricky as it seems. Here are my tips for getting the yes and help make your Alex’s Lemonade Stand a success! 

1. Pick a business where you are the customer.
If the owner sees you on a regular basis, they are much more likely to say yes!

2. Do some research.
Find out about the business. Are there other charities they support? Have they supported Alex's Lemonade Stand in some other way before? Is there a good way to link their business to your stand? Take a look at their social media pages and learn more about their businesses. 

3. Share your reason. 
Let the business owner know why you are hosting an Alex’s Lemonade Stand. If there is a personal connection, share that story! Your inspiration will likely inspire the business owner to participate. 

4. Be prepared. 
Have all of the details of your fundraiser ready. If you are asking someone to support your stand in person, plan ahead to a time when you know the business owner will be available to talk. If you are asking via email, be sure all the details in your email are correct and include a link to your fundraising page. Don’t forget to follow up with them over the phone – especially if you don’t get a response. 

5. Be specific. 
Be ready to ask for specific support—do you want donated supplies? Do you want help spreading the word about your stand? Are you looking for a cash donation or volunteers? Be ready to tell the business what they can do for you! 

6. Smile!
Even though you might be nervous, smile! Smiling is contagious and the business owner will smile back (and no yawning—that is contagious, too!) 

7. Say Thank You!
Whether you get the yes or you get a no, always say thank you!  If you get a yes, send them a handwritten thank you note, an email and also thank them on social media! Publicly thank them with a sign at your stand. You can never say Thank You, enough!

8. Include your new local business sponsor in your lemonade stand!
Have fun with your new relationship. Invite the business owner to your stand, take photos, introduce them to your other volunteers and tag your business partners on social media. 

9. Share your success and say thank you, again! 
After your fundraiser, share photos and your success and say thank you, again! 

Now get out there and have a fun fundraiser!!

Alex's Lemonade Days are held June 3-June 11, 2017.  Pick a day (or days!) that week and host a stand! Sign up here <link to registration page>(it's easy!) Thank you for joining us to find cures, one cup at a time! 

Anita Gates is Manger of Partnerships at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  She is a grateful Mom to a Hero and a Super Sib.  

Categories: 
Lemonade Days
After a childhood cancer diagnosis, life can feel out of control—and it can be hard to hold your child steady through treatment. ​Here are tips from a Child Life Specialist

After a childhood cancer diagnosis, life can feel out of control—and it can be hard to hold your child steady through treatment. 

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

The moment your child is diagnosed with childhood cancer is the moment your world shifts—forever. Fear, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, days and nights in the hospital and blood draws become part of your daily routine. For your family, life can feel out of control—and it can be hard to hold your child steady through their diagnosis. 

Tommi McHugh, a child life specialist and educator at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado in Denver, says there are things you can do to help your child and your entire family feel rooted during childhood cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. 

“Everything is so out of control. So if there are things you can hold steady, hold them steady,” says Tommi. Here are four things that Tommi recommends parents and caregivers do to help their family cope following a cancer diagnosis:

1. Normalization  
Letting your kids be kids through their cancer treatment can help them feel like themselves. All children can benefit from being with friends, making choices and being allowed to feel all the emotions that are normal—happy, sad, angry and goofy, too. It is important to encourage your children to participate in the activities they always have, as long as those activities are safe. “If their counts are good, they can play,” says Tommi.

2. Limit Setting
Holding steady to family limits can go a long way to helping kids feel like things are not out of control. According to Tommi, when parents change the rules or let kids have everything they want, it increases their fear instead of making them feel safe. Stick to your family rules, behavior expectations and consequences as best as you can. 

3. Maintaining Routines
It may sound impossible to maintain your family routine in the hospital or clinic setting. But, just like limit setting, maintaining routines is a critical part of helping your child to feel steady. So stick to family routines as much as possible. If your child eats lunch at 11:30 each day, then have them eat lunch at that time. If bedtime is 7:30 pm, try and get your child to bed at that time, no matter where you are. Parents should feel okay to advocate for those things with their child’s medical team. Discuss your child’s routine right away with the medical team and ask what accommodations can be made to keep your child steady in their routine. 

4. Giving Control
According to Tommi, one of the hardest things for kids battling a chronic or life-threatening illness is that they lose their sense of control. This holds true for all ages—infants who do not get to eat when they want to teenagers who are no longer able to flex their independence. Parents can give their children a sense of control by providing them with real choices and giving them permission to make those choices. Contrived choices like— “Do you want to take your medicine now or in a few minutes?”—make kids really mad. However, choices they can make like “What would you like for dinner?” or “Do you want to help set up a medication schedule”—empower kids and giving them a sense of control. 

Tommi will lead an in-depth discussion on coping with a “new normal” at the upcoming Childhood Cancer Symposium Regional Series on May 30 in Denver. 

The Denver symposium will kick off a four-city series. Each event is designed to equip families to cope with a cancer diagnosis and offer the chance to connect with other hero families. 

Featuring talks from ALSF-funded researchers and presentations providing local support and resources, these symposiums are an ideal learning opportunity!

If you aren’t able to attend in Denver, we hope you will join us at one of our future symposiums! 

Saturday, August 19, 2017 – Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 – Kansas City, MO

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 – Houston, TX

For more information, visit AlexsLemonade.org/Symposium or call 866-333-1213.

My daughter Alexandra “Alex” Scott lost her life to childhood cancer in August of 2004. It was only a few short months prior that she had set out on a mission to raise $1 million through volunteer-run lemonade stands across the country. Alex truly was the wind in our sails, the gas in our engines, and when she died, the fate of her dream to find cures through those lemonade stands hung in the balance. I am not one to believe in signs, or that things are meant to be.

“An angel kept me safe. There was someone up there who helped us, little Alex kept me on," said Jeremy Rose, Afleet Alex's jockey. ​

by Jay Scott, Alex’s Dad

My daughter Alexandra “Alex” Scott lost her life to childhood cancer in August of 2004. It was only a few short months prior that she had set out on a mission to raise $1 million through volunteer-run lemonade stands across the country. Alex truly was the wind in our sails, the gas in our engines, and when she died, the fate of her dream to find cures through those lemonade stands hung in the balance. I am not one to believe in signs, or that things are meant to be, but shortly after Alex’s death, we received a phone call that may very well have laid the groundwork for what would become Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation — the continuation of our daughter’s legacy to find cures for all kids with cancer.

I can remember when the phone call came in, my wife Liz took the call, and the person on the other line said simply:

“We own a horse that is pretty good, and we have been donating anonymously to Alex’s cause whenever the horse wins. Would it be okay if we kept donating, but go public with it?”

My wife Liz and I knew nothing about horse racing at the time, but in our minds, we thought, why not? We soon learned that the owners had undersold the ability of the horse, he was more than “pretty good.” The horse, who was coincidentally named Afleet Alex, was good enough to receive an invitation to the Kentucky Derby in 2005, possibly the most prestigious race in horse racing and the first in the Triple Crown Series. As part of the newly formed partnership with Afleet Alex, our family was invited to the Kentucky Derby to set up a lemonade stand, and just like that, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) was on the world’s stage.

While Afleet Alex did not win the Kentucky Derby (he came in a respectable third place), the Kentucky Derby provided us with an amazing opportunity to expose Alex’s Lemonade Stand to new people, and as an added bonus, the horse racing and sports media began covering the story of the two Alexs.

A short two weeks later, our family packed up once again and headed this time to Baltimore for the second race in the series, The Preakness Stakes. Again, we set up a lemonade stand at the race, and the momentum and excitement surrounding the day were palpable. As we watched the race, we saw up close and personal when Afleet Alex stumbled to his knees nearly bucking his jockey, Jeremy Rose, off. It could have been a tragic turn of events for both the horse and jockey, but instead Afleet Alex miraculously not only righted himself, but took off from the field to win by almost six lengths — in horse racing that is a huge margin to win by. In the post-race interview, Jeremy Rose was asked how he didn’t fall off the horse, he responded: “an angel kept me safe. There was someone up there who helped us, little Alex kept me on.”

It was clear that day the similarities between my daughter and Afleet Alex, they both showed spirit and strength to overcome adversity and race on. When the final day of the Triple Crown came, the Belmont Stakes, our immediate family couldn’t be there, so Alex’s grandparents, aunts and uncles completed the “Triple Crown” of lemonade stands at the race. You see, we had a prior commitment, it was the same date as Alex’s “Original” Lemonade Stand. This would be the very first stand we would hold without Alex, and while there were tears shed that day, Afleet Alex gave us hope for the future. When post time finally arrived, we were still cleaning up from the lemonade stand, but we all huddled inside of the elementary school where Alex’s stand is held and watched on a tv provided for just this purpose. As we anxiously awaited the outcome, Afleet Alex seemed to have run out of luck staying in the middle of the pack until the last turn. But then, life found his feet and Afleet Alex took off once again, leaving the field in his dust. He won again by many lengths, showing the spirit of our Alex, to never give up, and that it is never too late to make the difference.

Today, Afleet Alex is living the good life, retired to a horse farm in Kentucky, but I will never be able to thank that horse enough for what he did for the Foundation, and for our family. 

Jay Scott is the Co-Executive Director of ALSF and Alex's Dad. 

Categories: 
Alex Scott
Getting media attention for your lemonade stand is a great way to raise awareness of the need for childhood cancer research

Matt Lauer interviewing Alex Scott in 2004 on The Today Show. 

 by Annie Korp, ALSF Public Relations Specialist

One of the reasons Alex was able to raise $2,000 at her first lemonade stand was because her aunt called their local paper. There was a small write-up in the community news section. People saw it and showed up to support Alex who wanted to give the money to her doctors and her hospital by hosting a lemonade stand. 

Getting mentions in your local newspapers and community media is an amazing way to spread the word about your lemonade stand and raise awareness of the need for childhood cancer research! It is one more way your lemonade stand helps get us closer to cures for all children. 

Some event hosts are comfortable contacting their local media – whether it’s the local paper or television news station. You can find any email addresses or phone numbers with a simple Google search. If you are not as comfortable contacting the media but would like some help gaining a broader reach than your average Facebook post or community flier – don’t worry, my name is Annie Korp. I am the PR Specialist at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and I’m here to help!  

  1. When your event coach emails you after you register an event, they should include my contact information: [email protected] or 610-649-3034. My information is also included in several areas on the website, including the “Make It a Success” page.  
  2. I’ll ask you to fill out our Communications Assistance Questionnaire – also on the “Make It a Success” page. The questionnaire asks some important questions about your event, like when is the event? Where will it be? What will you be doing at the event? Selling lemonade, painting faces or having a bounce house? 
  3. I take your answers from the questionnaire and write up a press release. I’ll send it to you to review and make sure all of the information is correct. Then I will have our Communications Manager proof it to make sure there are no typos! 
  4. Once the press release is complete, I’ll create a contact list of stations, media outlets and reporters from your local area to contact. I’m from the Philadelphia area and sometimes event hosts are from another city or town that I’ve never been to, so I often ask you for some suggestions of local newspapers and television stations.
  5. Finally, I will send the press release to the local media contacts. We can work together to follow up with reporters and see if they are interested!  

When an ALSF Lemonade Stand makes the news, I post it in our Newsroom and on Twitter (@ALSFNews). Want some Lemonade Stand media inspiration? Here is a great clip about a lemonade stand that recently made headlines.  

See you in the headlines!

Alex's Lemonade Days is held June 3-June 11, 2017.  Pick a date that week and host a stand! Sign up here (it's easy!) Thank you for joining us to find cures, one cup at a time! 

Annie Korp is the ALSF Public Relations Specialist. She works with stand hosts, researchers and other partners to spread the word about childhood cancer research, ALSF programs and special events. 

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