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Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

Kaela Cruz, osteoscarcoma survivor and Alex's Lemonade Stand Hero Ambassadorby Kaela Cruz

ALSF Hero Ambassador Kaela Cruz lost her leg to osteosarcoma, the most common type of childhood bone cancer, when she was just 5 years old. Read more about her story, in her own words. 

My name is Kaela Cruz. I am 14 years old and I'm a junior paralympic athlete. When I was 5 years old, I suffered from osteosarcoma, which is a form of bone cancer. I lost left leg because of it. The past was very horrifying and it kind of stinks to look back. However, now, I've  learned be grateful, think positive, love myself for who I am and to be proud of my many accomplishments. I am so excited to tell you: 

I fought with all my heart and beat cancer! I have been cancer free for 9 years and I have done so much and could not be happier.

The things I love and enjoy doing is playing the ukulele on my spare time and hanging out with friends and family. I do track and field on Fridays and swim 4 times a week. I'm on the 

Navigators Adaptive Sports team and we train for upcoming competitions in our area or travel around the country. I am also involved with the Challenged Athletes Foundation and they helped me stay active and granted me a running prosthetic to help me run. Just recently, I went to Wisconsin with my team for the Adaptive Sports USA Junior Nationals Competition. Our team netted 146 medals (105 Gold, 27 Silver and 14 Bronze). We set several new national records; and once again we placed first in the Large Team category. I recieved 8 gold metals from nationals. It was awesome!

I got involved with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation when our family met Alex's parents, Liz |and Jay, at the Childhood Cancer Symposium in Philadelphia several years ago. Since then we've been part of so many different events, including Alex's Million Mile. 

Alex's Million Mile really means so much to me. It gives me an opportunity where I can be active, hang out with my friends and family and get other people involved.
I have been able to tell my story and inspire kids and adults to make a difference to help end pediatric cancer. If I can do this, so can you! No excuses, get out there, grab your family, neighbors and friends and Run, Walk and Ride. Log in those miles, make a donation and make a difference! Have Fun Everyone!

Learn more about Alex's Million Mile and join our journey to a million today! 

Categories: 
Alex's Million Mile

 

It's back to school time! The school year is a great time to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. We have lots of amazing programs that your classroom (and school!) can participate in to raise funds for childhood cancer research. Not only will your kids help other kids, but they will learn some valuable life lessons

Here are five great ways to get involved and help find a cure for childhood cancer!

1. Join the Great Lemonade War
Get ready to compete with other schools! Inspired by the book The Lemonade War by Jaclyn Davies, schools across the country compete to see who can raise the most money through a lemonade stand project or other event. Schools who compete receive a copy of the book, lesson plans and resources on math, business and finance. Your students can learn about profit and loss, marketing and advertising. 

2. Run. Walk. Ride. for Alex’s Million Mile
Get your student body moving during Alex’s Million Mile—our annual campaign to collectively go one million miles for childhood cancer research. Each September, teams log the miles that they run, walk and/or bike in honor of the children battling cancer. Your school can create a team and log miles as part of their physical education program. Set fitness goals, host fundraising events and get your teachers involved by competing to see who can go the most miles! 

3. Help Make a Change with your Change! 
Sign up for our Change Childhood Cancer program! Just by collecting spare change, students can help other children battling cancer. It is a great lesson in saving, philanthropy and working together. Pennies add up to quarters which add up to dollars which can fund more research! Schools that participate receive adorable coin collection boxes that look like little lemonade stands. 

4. Add Some Lemonade To Your Math Lessons 
Lemonade stand math is a fun, creative way to reinforce word problem skills, measurement, operations and logic. ALSF has brand new math lesson plans appropriate for grades K-5. 

5. Share Alex’s Amazing Lemonade Stand Story
The story of ALSF starts with our founder Alex Scott—a girl just like your students! The book, Alex’s Amazing Lemonade Stand is a great read for classroom story time! Schools can request a complimentary copy and download discussion materials from our website.

ALSF has even more tools in our Lessons and Downloads section of the website, including coloring pages! Ready to get your school involved in ALSF? Email our Community Engagement Specialists, Ellie Paparone (Pre-K-8) or Gayla Carr (High School and Universities).

Have a great school year!

Categories: 
Schools

In addition to the medical research ALSF funds, ALSF also supports and funds research projects investigating quality of life issues. High quality care is a powerful tool against childhood cancer. The Quality of Life and Care grants empower those best positioned to make effective discoveries: the caregivers themselves. In our Nursing Grant awards, our grantees include nurse practitioners who are leading the field in pediatric oncology nursing practice, as well as those who will become future leaders. In our Psychosocial Grants, recipients are researchers and practitioners investigating novel approaches to understanding the psychosocial aspects of pediatric cancer that will impact clinical care. Here is one research project happening now conducted by nurse researcher - Dr. Nancy Moules together wtih co-investigators Dr. Andrew Estefan, Dr. Catherine Laing, Dr. Fiona Schulte, Dr. Greg Guilcher and Dr. Doug Strother.

Dr. Nancy Moules, professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary and Kids Cancer Care Foundation Chair in Child and Family Cancer Care, is studying the effects cancer and cancer treatments have on the relational development, sexuality and body image of adolescents. 

Together with her research partner, Dr. Andrew Estefan, Dr. Moules combined two research techniques, hermeneutics and narrative inquiry, to delve deep into the psychosocial effects of a cancer diagnosis. 

Hermeneutics is a methodology of interpretation—participants are interviewed and their interviews are interpreted for what we can learn from their experience. In the narrative inquiry methodology, Dr. Estefan worked with subjects to write their personal narratives—the story of their experience.

One research subject shared his digital story in another study conducted by co-investigator Dr. Catherine Laing about battling cancer and body image, which you can see in the above video. 

Dr. Moules interviewed 10 adolescents, all in various stages of childhood cancer treatment, beginning in January 2014. Dr. Estefan followed with in-depth interviews and narrative development with two of the subjects. 

"We are delighted that ALSF recognized the value and the importance of this kind of study. Using qualitative research helps us to understand the experience of childhood cancer through the eyes of those living it," said Dr. Moules

Adolescence is a time when teenagers are dating, forming relationships and moving psychologically away from their parents. When a cancer diagnosis happens, all of this typical development is still happening, but with cancer as a shadow. 

As Dr. Moules continues to compile and study her over 800 pages of research, she hopes that this research can result in resources for both adolescent patients as well as their nurses and other caregivers.  

ALSF has funded 650 childhood cancer research grants since 2006. Read more about our innovative grants program here.

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Grants

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