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Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

There are several great ways kids can help kids at school!

There are so many great ways schools can support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was founded on the belief that kids can help other kids! We’ve always had amazing schools and teachers supporting our mission and raising funds for research. Here are five schools making a difference one cup at a time:

1. How Can One Child Make A Difference: Erpenbeck Elementary School, Florence, KY

At Erpenbeck Elementary School in Florence, KY, the teachers and students have been putting the squeeze on childhood cancer for three years! The third-grade teachers—Ashley Moeller, Nicole Servizzi, Jessica Klosinski, Stacey Neuhaus, Michelle Roland and Toni Hook—used their participation in the ALSF Great Lemonade War as part of a social studies unit in economics.  

The key question throughout the unit was “How can one child make a difference?” Each of the third-grade classes took on a part of the project—including surveying the student body to find out their favorite lemonade flavors, writing persuasive “sales” letters, advertising throughout the community and keeping track of donations. One class created a promotional website for their team the “Erpenbeck Easy Squeezers.” Their efforts made them the winners of the ALSF Great Lemonade War and raised $4,626 in 2017 and over $11,000 over the past three years. 

2. Creating a Penny Shortage: Mercersburg and Montgomery Elementary Schools, Mercersburg, PA

Mercersburg and Montgomery Elementary Schools joined together to fight childhood cancer with a penny war! Students at the schools raised over $7,000 while engaging in a school versus school penny war—which led to some penny shortages at area banks!
 
Students brought in donations—pennies counted as “positive” donations toward their team totals while silver coins and paper money counted as “negative” donations. All money counted towards their amazing total!

3. Lessons and Lemonade: Southwest Elementary School, Clemmons, NC 

Speech-Language Pathologists at Southwest Elementary School in Clemmons, NC embrace all the educational benefits of hosting a lemonade stand to teach their students in their five exceptional children’s classrooms--Character, Community and Communication. Students help plan the school’s annual lemonade stands teachers guide them through lessons in social skills, math, language and functional communication skills. 

The result: the students served over 1,300 cups of lemonade, raising $5,500 at their stand last year. Over the last five years, Southwest Elementary has raised over $14,500 for ALSF. Maria Vernon, a speech-language pathologist at Southwest and the volunteer organizer of their ALSF lemonade stands, said students are learning the importance of giving to others and that is the greatest lesson of all. We all need help sometimes is the phrase they teach the children about why they are selling lemonade. The school will host their 6th annual stand in June.

4. 12 years of tradition: Van Sciver Elementary School, Haddonfield, NJ

At Van Sciver Elementary School in Haddonfield, the tradition of supporting ALSF runs deep! Not only has the school hosted lemonade stands since 2006 and raised over $6,900, students and teachers have found several ways to get involved in ALSF. Now-retired special education teacher, Sharon Raibel, was inspired to start an ALSF lemonade stand by a former student who fought childhood cancer. Teachers incorporated ALSF resources into their classroom math and language arts curriculum. They also used the annual lemonade stand as a chance to teach students about community service. 

Two new teachers, Eileen O’Mara and Michelle Croxton, are now leading the tradition. (Miss O’Mara also attended the 2016 Lemon Run and was the top female finisher!). This year, the school’s annual assembly will include a childhood cancer hero speaker and a special video from an ALSF funded-researcher, so the children can learn more about how their donations have helped others!

5. Painting the School Gold for a Cure: Marion Jordan School, Palatine, IL
All throughout September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, students at Marion Jordan School in Palatine, Illinois participated in school-wide events to raise awareness and funds for ALSF. The school kicked off events with a special assembly featuring a sixth grader, Theo, who attends school there and battled neuroblastoma. 

Throughout the rest of the month, teachers led their classrooms in educational discussions about pediatric cancer. At recess, students received maniCUREs with sparkling gold nail polish! Students also got streaks of gold in their hair with temporary hair tattoo and sold gold shoelaces and rubber bracelets. To finish the month, the school had a lemonade stand which was attended by local government and community representatives! 

Want to get your school involved? Find out how.

Categories: 
Schools
May is Brain Tumor Awareness. Brain tumors are the deadliest form of childhood cancer.

Maddie spent Valentine’s Day 2017 in surgery to remove a tumor from her spine, marking her third tumor resection in as many years.

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

When you meet 8-year-old Maddie Davis, you might notice the pink highlights in her hair, her adorable dimpled smile and her advanced vocabulary (she reads at the 9th-grade level).

If you look closer, you might notice the silvery scar that snakes down the back of her neck or the way her right leg turns in just a little when she walks.

And if you ask her where she spent last Valentine’s Day, you will find out what makes this little girl a warrior.

Maddie spent Valentine’s Day 2017 in surgery to remove a tumor from her spine, marking her third tumor resection in as many years. She returned to school, 8 days after spinal surgery.

“What’s the point of being discharged, if I cannot go to school,” she told her mother.

Maddie began her battle with ependymoma, the second most common type of brain and spinal cord tumor in children, when she was just 5-years-old. She had surgery to remove the tumor in the posterior fossa* of her brain and followed with proton radiation treatment. For two years, Maddie was cancer-free until a routine scan caught her first recurrence in early 2016. 

“We were devastated for the second time,” says Maddie’s mother, Melanie Davis. 

The tumor recurred in the original tumor bed. Again, Maddie had surgery and then joined an immunotherapy trial with Dr. Ted Johnson at the GRU Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia, 460 miles from her home in Virginia. 

But, then the pain started in Maddie’s hip. For months, Maddie complained of pain on and off. After several x-rays and visits with physical therapists and orthopedists, Melanie asked for a spine MRI to see if there was a tumor.

“I just had a feeling that Maddie’s hip pain was something more,” said Melanie.

And it was. Maddie had a tumor in her lower spine from L2 to L5, the five vertebrae that make up the lumbar spine. Now, Maddie is battling recurrent metastatic brain cancer. Her cancer has spread. 

This time around, Maddie’s treatment remains the same: surgery, radiation and continuing on the immunotherapy trial with Dr. Johnson. Dr. Johnson’s research has been funded by ALSF and continues to study the potential of immunotherapy, a highly precise treatment that aims to recruit the body’s immune system to attack cancer. For Maddie, this treatment has offered a high quality of life—despite the distance. Her treatment side effects have been minimal and all treatments are outpatient, allowing Maddie to stay in school and with her family.

Doctors, researchers and parents are dedicated to finding treatments that are effective, while allowing children do the normal things they love—return to school, spend time with their families, go to birthday parties and above all, be happy. 

“My hope is that with research, we will find a way to beat these cancers without beating kids down so much,” said Melanie.

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Brain tumors are the most deadly form of cancer in children. All month-long, the ALSF blog will share stories on the forefront of pediatric brain tumor research. To learn more about ALSF-funded brain tumor research projects visit here

* The posterior fossa is located in the back of the brain and contains the cerebellum (which controls movement and balance) and the brainstem (which controls vital functions like blood pressure and breathing). 

This is the 12th year for The Great Chefs Event – Philadelphia’s premiere culinary event that has raised millions of dollars to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the Vetri Community Partnership. Everyone knows it’s a great summer evening event with delicious food for two great causes. But did you know some of these interesting facts about the event?

This is the 12th year for The Great Chefs Event – Philadelphia’s premiere culinary event that has raised millions of dollars to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the Vetri Community Partnership. 

by Liz Romaine

Philadelphia's premiere culinary event turns 12-years-old this summer! Since The Great Chefs Event began, the event has raised millions of dollars to support Alex's Lemonade Stand and the Vetri Community Partnership. On June 20, this amazing event will serve up some amazing food and cocktails while giving guests a perfectly delicious summer evening. Here are eight things you didn't know about The Great Chefs event:

  1. Last year, eight 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards finalists participated. This year, six 2017 semi-finalists are participating at The Great Chefs Event. Winners are announced on May 1st--so you can sample dishes from the best chefs and restaurants in the world!
  2. 6,347 is the average number of steps taken during the event. The event is held in the beautiful and eclectic Urban Outfitters headquarters at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. At 85’ wide and 400’ long, the space comfortably fits the chefs, vintners and breweries.
  3. $35,000 is the highest amount a live auction item has sold for. It happened in 2012 for a trip to Italy with Marc Vetri and Jeff Michaud. The live auction at The Great Chefs Event is not to be missed! Unique experiences such as culinary trips, unforgettable experiences and world-renown chefs cooking in your kitchen are some of the amazing items that you could win. 
  4. You will never eat dessert the same way again. While many of the food samplings at The Great Chefs Event are savory, there are plenty of options to satisfy your sweet tooth. From Charm City Cakes – whose boundary-pushing cakes have been to presidential inaugurations – to Big Gay Ice Cream serving up boozy milkshakes, you’ll never want just plain vanilla again.  
  5. Over 1,200 pounds of mortadella has been served at the After Party! For the last 6 years, the Vetri crew has cooked the Italian sausage in a beer and water bath for two days. Last year, the sausage was 335 lbs and needed to be forklifted into Victory Brewing’s fermentation tank. Maybe this is the year the sausage can get into the Guinness Book of World Records! After Party access tickets are available for purchase and features additional bites from BBQ master Adam Perry Lang, Adam Arrison and Philly favorites Michael Solomonov and Jose Garces. 
  6. The Great Chefs Event has inspired other culinary events around the country! Because The Great Chefs Event delivers an amazing experience and raises so money much for great causes, other chefs around the country have used the foundation that Marc Vetri, Jeff Benjamin and Jeff Michaud have built to create their own events in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, all benefiting ALSF. 
  7. The first Great Chefs Event had only eight local chefs and 100 guests. That was in 2006. Fast forward 10 years, The Great Chefs Event had over 40 chefs and 1,000 guests in 2016. But here is the best part…
  8. Over $730,000 was raised in 2016. That’s the equivalent of over 3,500 students getting healthy lunches for a year through the Vetri Community Partnership and almost an entire month of childhood cancer research funded through Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Now that you are an insider, grab your tickets here before they sell out. Or take your chances and experience the Great Chefs Event like the VIP you are! Purchase a $50 raffle ticket for a chance to win this exclusive package: 

Two (2) After Party Access tickets (also includes general admission to the Great Chefs Event)
One (1) night stay in a 1-bedroom suite at the Courtyard by Marriott at The Navy Yard

100% of the raffle proceeds go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Vetri Community Partnership. What have you got to lose? The raffle winner will be announced Wednesday, May 10th at 10 am.
 
See you there!

Elizabeth Romaine is the Director of Communications & Public Relations at ALSF. She loves working with amazing donors, sponsors and heroes to find a cure for childhood cancer. 

 

Categories: 
Culinary Events
Better outcomes and cures for childhood leukemia will be found with continued genetic studies, innovation in technology and targeted treatments.

ALSF funded researchers like Dr. Todd Druley, pictured above, are closer than ever before to finding cures by studying DNA building blocks specific to childhood leukemia.​

by Trish Adkins

When a child is first diagnosed with leukemia, the goal is to force the disease into remission. The treatment protocol is long and grueling—at least 2 1/2 years of chemotherapy, lumbar punctures and clinic visits. Today, children diagnosed with the most common form of pediatric leukemia—acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)—have a high cure rate. The discovery of genetic differences that can increase a child’s risk of relapse has helped some of the highest risk patients reach remission. 

But, not all children with ALL reach remission. When they relapse, the second round of treatment is much more intense than the first says Dr. Todd Druley, ALSF Scientific Advisory Board Member and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Developmental Biology and Genetics at Washington University.  

Dr. Druley says the reason lies within the genetic drivers of the child’s specific type of leukemia. Better outcomes and cures will be found with continued genetic studies, innovation in technology and targeted treatments.

Understanding Leukemia
A diagnosis of leukemia is suspected after a blood test and confirmed by a bone marrow biopsy. The cells that make blood reside primarily in the bone marrow and when a child has leukemia, one of those cells becomes cancerous and overruns the other healthy cells.

While most childhood leukemia diagnoses are ALL, children are also diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphoblastic leukemia (CLL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). The acute form of the disease will grow suddenly—meaning the leukemia is spreading rapidly and outnumbering healthy cells and a child can become very sick quickly. 

Managing Risk Factors
One of the early breakthroughs in the treatment of childhood leukemia was to better understand the genetic differences between adult and childhood forms of the disease. Now, researchers have deconstructed the disease even further, giving them the ability to manage the risk factors for newly diagnosed patients. 

“Ten years ago, we did not appreciate the genetic differences inherent to leukemia and we thought most children had a standard risk. Now, we can see the subtypes of leukemia more precisely and provide the correct intensity of treatment,” said Dr. Druley

This helps children with both low and high-risk leukemia. Children with lower risk factors can receive a less intense treatment and therefore minimize long term side effects (which can include cardiac damage, developmental delays and fertility issues). 

If a relapse occurs, doctors now have more tools to battle the disease including CAR T cell immunotherapy, which works to harness the body’s immune system to attack the cancer cells. This therapy uses a patient’s own genetically engineered T cells (an immune cell that attacks things that are foreign to the body) to attack cancer cells that have been hiding from the immune system. 

Hope in the DNA
Genetic studies have also helped doctors understand infant ALL and AML (leukemia less than 12 months of age), which has significantly lower cure rates compared to leukemia in older children. Dr. Druley’s research suggests that babies who have leukemia appear to have inherited a genetic predisposition that makes them highly susceptible to developing the disease. 

Dr. Druley’s research continues to focus on determining the genetic drivers that predispose children to cancer and how to mitigate the effects of these genetic mutations and stop cancer formation. Understanding these genetic markers can also open the door to understanding how to treat other types of childhood cancer.

Scientists have discovered the same mutations in blood cells, also exist in solid tissue tumors, which helps provide critical clues into what makes a variety of childhood cancer types tick. 

“Science is telling us that treating cancer by its tissue or origin ( blood, lung, brain, etc) is often less effective than treating the genetic type of the tumor, guiding us to tailor therapy in whole new and exciting way,” said Dr. Druley.

Read more about Dr. Druley’s research here.

 

Categories: 
Research
CAR T cell immunotherapy could offer promise for many children battling relapsed ALL. In our Spring 2017 newsletter, we shared the story of how ALSF-funded Young Investigator, Dr. Rebecca Gardner at Seattle Children’s Hospital helped a young girl reach remission for her relapsed leukemia

CAR T cell immunotherapy could offer promise for many children battling relapsed ALL. ALSF-funded Young Investigator, Dr. Rebecca Gardner at Seattle Children’s Hospital, pictured above, helped a young girl reach remission for her relapsed leukemia.

More and more research is focused on harnessing the body’s immune system to target and destroy cancer cells. One type, known as CAR T cell immunotherapy, is offering new hope and cures to patients with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Here’s everything you need to know about CAR T cell immunotherapy:

What is immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy recruits the body’s own immune system to identify and kill cancer cells. Cancer cells hide from the immune system—convincing the body that they belong. As a result, cancer cells can grow without interference. Immunotherapy treatments activate the individual’s immune system so it can see cancer cells among the healthy cells, stop them from growing and kill existing cancer cells. 

What are T cells?
T cells are a type of white blood cell that works with the body’s immune system to help identify and destroy foreign invaders—like a virus. T cells appear when the body identifies an infection or injury; they replicate quickly in order to attack. Once their job is complete, the T cells decrease in number. When a child has leukemia, the T cells cannot see the cancer cells and therefore, they do not go to work fighting the cancer cells, as they would a virus. 

What is the “CAR” part of CAR T cell immunotherapy?
CAR stands for “Chimeric Antigen Receptor.” This lab-created cell modification takes the blindfold off T cells, allowing them to recognize cancer cells. 

How does CAR T cell immunotherapy work?
Making a T cell “see” cancer cells begins with collecting a child’s T cells. Then, those T cells are genetically modified with the addition of the chimeric antigen receptor (that’s the CAR part). The chimeric antigen receptor allows T cells to see the cancer cells. Once the child receives the newly modified T cells, the immune system goes to work. The T cells multiply, attacking the cancer until it is gone. CAR T cells have shown remarkable success in the treatment of relapsed leukemia and have the potential to be a tool in the fight against other childhood cancers such as brain tumors and neuroblastoma. 

What are side effects of CAR T cell immunotherapy?
Modified T cells release cytokines, which are chemical messengers that help the T cells destroy foreign invaders. Sometimes, there can be a rapid release of cytokines and this can cause extremely high fevers and extreme drops in blood pressure. Several researchers have used complementary therapies to stop cytokine release syndrome and are also working to understand the genetic drivers of cytokine release syndrome. 

What potential does this have for other types of cancer?
For now, CAR T cell immunotherapy offers the most promise for leukemia. However, understanding how modified T cells attack blood cancers can lead to more discoveries on how these cells could also lead to cures for solid tissue tumors. 

Who has CAR T cell immunotherapy helped?
CAR T cell immunotherapy could offer promise for many children battling relapsed ALL. In our Spring 2017 newsletter, we shared the story of how ALSF-funded Young Investigator, Dr. Rebecca Gardner at Seattle Children’s Hospital helped a young girl reach remission for her relapsed leukemia. Read more here.

 

Categories: 
Immunotherapy
Alex's Lemonade Days is quickly approaching! Grow your lemonade stand with these great tips from our in-house expert, Jeff Baxter

Kids are some of the best lemonade stand organizers around. Above, Campbell, Chase and Teagan enjoy the day at their front yard lemonade stand. 

by Jeff Baxter, ALSF Community Engagement Manager

The start of our lemonade stand is fast approaching. My girls are running around the house in anticipation of our front yard lemonade stand. My wife and I are gathering the supplies and setting up the stand. 

Gone are the days of mixing up one small pitcher of lemonade. We’ve now graduated to bulk containers of lemonade mix and 8-gallon coolers. We know this year our lemonade stand will attract a crowd! 

By the late afternoon, our donation container is filled to the brim and our coolers are empty. Friends from far away who held simultaneous lemonade stands are texting us about their success. And the best part: we’ve spent a day together enjoying the generosity of people engaged in a common fight to end childhood cancer. 

Want to know the secret? We leveraged our personal network using these six tips:

  1. Connect your family and friends in one group email or Facebook group! This circle creates the foundation to build on. 
  2. Share your stand on your social media channels. This may sound obvious—but remember to share and share often! 
  3.  Capitalize on your own known influencers—whether a well-connected parent at school or a friend in your community. Ask your connected pals to help you expand the reach.
  4. Provide your network with all of the promotional materials they need to share. If you make it easy for them, they can share quickly and easily. 
  5. Make it personal. Whether you are inspired by a loved one who has fought childhood cancer or you are simply inspired by the story of Alex Scott’s legacy of giving back, share stories about why hosting a lemonade stand is important to you.
  6. Ask far away friends and family to hold satellite lemonade stands in their local community. By holding stands together, you grow your impact and you raise awareness everywhere! 

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! 

Jeff Baxter has been working in event management, especially in nonprofit, community events for the last decade. At ALSF, Jeff manages the community engagement team which focuses on fundraising activities and events planned by the awesome community that supports the Foundation. Together with his wife and two daughters, Jeff is also an avid lemonade stand host
—and has hosted stands in his front yard, as well as in Orlando and Boston. 

 

Categories: 
Lemonade Days
When you join a local networking group, like the Young Professionals of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation,  your career can grow, while you make new connections and give back to the community.

When you join a local networking group your career can grow, while you make new connections and give back to the community.

by Trish Adkins

With LinkedIn and dozens of other online professional networking groups, you might feel like you have networking down to a science. The digital age has given all of us the opportunity to connect with professionals from all around the world. However, virtual networking can take away from the personal connections often crafted through young professionals groups in your community.

When you join a local networking group, like the Young Professionals of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation,  your career can grow, while you make new connections and give back to the community. Not sure if an in-person networking group is for you? Here are ten reasons to convince you:

1. Grow your social capital. There is strength in numbers! Going offline and meeting in person gives you the opportunity to congregate with like-minded professionals, share ideas, build your network and become part of a professional community.

2. Develop your leadership skills. When you join a professional group, the opportunities to lead are limitless. Are you great at marketing? Lead your group’s outreach efforts. A pro at finances?  Manage the organization’s budget. Plus, you can take your new found leadership skills into your workplace. Share what you’ve learned with your managers, so they can see your leadership potential. 

3. Learn from your peers. Maybe your profession is engineering, but you love event planning. Or maybe you are interested in growing your managerial skills. Joining a professional group gives you the opportunity to learn from your peers. Take advantage of classes and activities the group offers to grow your knowledge. 

4. Build a better resume. In your college days, maybe you were in a sorority or student council president. Now, it can be hard to find those resume-building opportunities. Participating in a young professional’s group can be an impressive addition to your resume. It shows an interest in volunteerism and a willingness to take on leadership roles in your community. 

5. Discover new job opportunities. Experts estimate that between 60-80 percent of jobs are found through personal relationships. There is no better way to forge personal, local relationships than hanging out with young professionals from different industries. Share your goals and keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities.

6. Find a side gig. If you are looking for a little extra work to grow both your income and your experience, a networking group can provide great side gig opportunities for you. Or if your company needs someone to serve as a consultant, you can offer the same side gig opportunity to a member of your group. 

7. Volunteer your time. Professional networking groups are often focused on giving back and volunteerism. The Young Professionals of ALSF, for example, plans several special events each year to raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer research. 

8. Stay inspired. No matter what your profession, staying inspired to grow and innovate can be difficult when you are in an office 40 hours a week. Meeting with like-minded young professionals gives you the opportunity to trade ideas, solve problems and get inspiration that will only help your career. 

9. Make new friends. Gone are the days when you can find your new bestie bonding over chemistry lab work. Whether you are in a new city or a simply a new phase of your professional life, joining a networking group can connect you with a whole new group of friends. 

10. Get motivated. Whether your goals are to grow your career and build up your network or to help your community and make new friends, joining these groups can help you stayed motivated to reach your personal, professional and community goals. 

Looking for an active young professional group? Check out the Young Professionals of ALSF, a group of self-starting, enthusiastic individuals dedicated to fulfilling Alex Scott's vision to find a cure for childhood cancer--one cup at a time. The group has chapters in Philadelphia, New York City and Boston. If you don’t live in one of these cities, you can start your own chapter.

Comprised of a variety of young professionals including teachers, healthcare and business professionals, vendors and those simply looking to give back, The Young Professionals of ALSF supports the Foundation through a variety of networking and fundraising events, including the upcoming the Speakeasy in Philadelphia on April 22. Get your Speakeasy tickets here

 

Big things happen when you host an Alex's Lemonade Stand! 

by Trish Adkins

We hosted our very first family lemonade stand in our front yard during Alex’s Lemonade Days in 2009. Lily, my daughter who battled ependymoma when she was 14-months-old, painted our stand and served cups of lemonade to her preschool pals. Family and friends stopped by with donations and those who lived far away gave online. Our goal was $1,000 (which we never thought we could reach!) and we raised over $2,000. We kept building our stand—and then finally we grew it in a BIG way. 

Like, super big with over 1,750 gallons of lemonade. 

We broke the World Record for the Largest Cup of Lemonade in 2015. Our cup was filled with all that lemonade—which we drank! It was ridiculous and beautiful and still completely unbelievable, even to me. As my daughter, Lily puts it:  it was the best day ever. 

The next year, we returned to our front yard and you know what, that was also the best day ever. 

This is the effect of hosting an Alex’s Lemonade Stand—you have the best day ever because you know you are part of something bigger than just your own stand. You are part of a community of lemonade stand hosts who are fighting childhood cancer—one cup at a time. 

At all our stands,  amazing children show up with bags of change they saved or money they collected at their own lemonade stands. Every single donation added up to big things—things bigger than a 10-foot tall cup of lemonade. Every drop and every coin help get us closer to cures for children battling cancer—children just like my daughter.

That is my favorite part of Alex’s Lemonade Days:  even a small donation is a big donation—change adds up to dollars which add up to funding for researchers working to find cures and safer treatments. Every cup—no matter if it is a few ounces or a few thousands of gallons of ice cold lemonade—adds up to big things. 

Hosting a lemonade stand can be as easy as popping up a stand in your front yard or it can be as extraordinary as Alex’s “Original” Lemonade Stand–a family day of games, activities, and fun. No matter how big you want to make your stand, ALSF has an amazing team of in-house experts here to guide you to make your lemonade the hottest drink of the summer! Over the next month, tune into the ALSF blog with great tips from our team, including:

  • Jeff, our Community Engagement Manager, with the insider stand tips you need to be successful;
  • Ernie, our Digital Content Specialist, with everything you need to power up your lemonade stand online fundraising page;
  • Megan, our Merchandise and Production Coordinator, with the event accessories that will make your stand “stand out” from the crowd;
  • Anita, our Manager of Partnerships, with expert advice on how to get local businesses involved in your stand;
  • Annie, our Communications & PR Specialist, who will share her tips for getting local press coverage;
  • Jaime, our Social Media Specialist, with all the hashtags and social sharing tips that will help you go viral; and
  • Jenna, our Donor Appreciation and Development Coordinator, with great ways you can say thank you to your supporters.

Alex's Lemonade Days, held June 3-June 11, 2017 is just 50 days away! 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! 

Trish Adkins is the Web Content Writer for ALSF. When she is not writing on the ALSF blog, she is planning lemonade stands with her husband Mike and her three kids, childhood cancer hero Lily (who is now 11-years-old and cancer free!) and SuperSibs Chloe and Nicholas. 

 

 

 

Categories: 
Lemonade Days
Mother Ruth Ciamarra knew her daughter had something wrong. Her intuition led to a high risk t-cell ALL diagnosis for her 8 year old daughter Anna.

Ruth Ciamarra and her daughter, Anna. 

by Trish Adkins, ALSF staff

Moments before Ruth Ciamarra found herself lying on a gurney next to her 5-year-old daughter Anna, doctors announced that Anna had leukemia and needed treatment immediately.

“My hearing went out; I was pretending to listen and nodding along with everything the doctor said. Then I interrupted the doctor and said ‘I’m about to pass out,’ as I tilted backward,” said Ruth. 

Earlier in the day, Ruth took Anna to her pediatrician to rule out a strep throat infection. Her symptoms did not seem particularly serious and Ruth expected a routine diagnosis, so she left her husband at home with their other daughter. There was a fever that came and went, causing Anna, who just started Kindergarten, to be sent home from school a couple of times. 

At the pediatrician, the doctor felt Anna’s abdomen and observed that she had an enlarged spleen. He gave her a rapid mononucleosis test. The test was positive. The doctor sent Ruth and Anna on their way with a diagnosis of “mono.”

But something about the diagnosis did not seem right to Ruth. Trusting her gut, she drove to the nearest children’s hospital. After several hours and tests later, the family had a diagnosis: high risk T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

When Ruth and Anna left the house that day, they never thought they’d end up in the Pediatric ICU with a leukemia diagnosis.

“Now, I am dealing with this world I did not know anything about,” said Ruth.

Everything moved quickly. After regaining her bearings, Ruth called her brother and husband—who both were equally shocked at what was happening. It would be months before Ruth could say the word, “cancer”; it was simply too hard to believe this was happening to her daughter. 

Anna’s blood tests revealed some critical issues that needed immediate attention—extremely elevated white blood cell counts and particularly low potassium levels. Without Ruth’s instinct that something was amiss, Anna’s condition would have quickly worsened. 

Anna quickly began treatment to stabilize her condition. After 10 days in the PICU, Anna started the marathon treatment protocol for ALL—2 years of in and outpatient therapies that include chemotherapy, lumbar punctures, transfusions and constant diagnostic testing to make sure Anna is tolerating and responding to the treatment. 

As Anna continues treatment, the Ciamarra family is also using their newfound life as a childhood cancer hero family to raise awareness and funds by hosting lemonade stands. 

“I’m never going to be a researcher—but there are so many things I can do to facilitate that research with ALSF and awareness,” said Ruth. 

Anna is now 7-years-old and 18 months into her treatment. The Ciamarra family hosts lemonade stands and is planning a stand with their school. In addition, the family is serving as one of the 2017 National Lemonade Days Hero Ambassadors. Read more about Anna’s story here.

Join the exclusive one cup at a time club to help make cures for childhood cancer possible!

ALSF founder, Alex Scott, believed that everyone could make a difference and that every gift would add up to a cure for childhood cancer. So far, our supporters have helped us fund over 690 research projects!

For the past 5 years, supporters in the ALSF One Cup at a Time Club have helped to make this funding possible by giving recurring gifts—once a month, quarter or year. These gifts have made an enormous impact, totaling nearly $180,000! This has enabled ALSF to fund innovative childhood cancer research that will ultimately lead to cures and safer treatments. 

The One Cup at a Time Club is perfect for everyone who wants to follow in Alex’s footsteps. 

Want to get involved?  Here are five ways you can help us find cures, one cup at a time:

1. See How Cups Lead to Cures
ALSF began with one lemonade stand—well, really, with one cup of lemonade. Each cup of lemonade and each donation (no matter how big or how small) adds up. One of our researchers, Dr. Jeffrey Huo, explains it like this: first, a few cups of lemonade funds an experiment, those experiments produce data and figures which lead to journal articles and eventually scientific breakthroughs. Each donation made is a building block that leads us closer to cures and recurring gifts add up fast! 

2. Get Inspired
The innovative research that is funded by each donation helps children battling childhood cancer. Their stories of strength, struggle and hope are motivation for researchers and supporters to keep going. Meet some of our childhood cancer heroes—true stories about kids who just want to feel better and to live. 

3. Check Out the Perks
When you join the One Cup at a Time Club, you are part of the search for cures for childhood cancer and you have access to some of our perks. This includes a special edition One Cup at a Time pin, a  One Cup at a Time magnet, a signed copy of Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand book, invitations to ALSF events in your area and meet and greets with childhood cancer researchers. Joining the club is more than just making a donation; it is joining a family of supporters that will ensure the next big breakthroughs. 

4. Set Up Custom Donation Levels
One Cup at a Time membership is accessible to everyone! You can choose to donate monthly, quarterly or annually. Your gift is recurring and automatically renews—without the inconvenience of having to send in a donation each time. Giving just $25/month will add up to $300 a year and could help fund a family travel to access treatment through our Travel For Care program. A $200 quarterly gift adds up to an impressive $800 for the year, which is enough funding for a POST summer research grant. Plus, you can double your One Cup at a Time donation by asking your employer to match your gift. 

5. Invite your friends! 
Alex invited everyone to her lemonade stand—and you can too. Share information about the club with your friends and help us get closer to cures, One Cup at a Time.
All set? Join the One Cup at a Time club here

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Fundraising Ideas

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