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Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

ALSF is thankful for the amazing supporters that help us fund childhood cancer research. Share what you are thankful for.

Every day, we are thankful for YOU—the supporters, donors, researchers and hero families who move us all closer to cures for childhood cancer. The time, money, talents and passion each of you show to the cause is incredible. Thank you for carrying on Alex’s legacy and thank you for helping Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation find cures, one cup at time!

Tell us what you're thankful for this year in the comments below and share with your friends to see what they're thankful for!

About Monthly Shareables:
You can help Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation raise awareness of the need for childhood cancer research and cures for all children! Each month, we will share a new "shareable," an image for you to share with your social media network. Every time we start a conversation about childhood cancer, we bring ourselves closer to cures.

How To Share:
Sharing is easy! Links to the shareable on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are on the tabs below. Simply click on each tab and share, like and favorite! Thank you for helping ALSF fund innovative, cutting-edge childhood cancer research. 

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5 things you need to know about childhood cancer research

Right now, researchers are working around the clock thanks to your generous support to find breakthroughs and save the lives of kids fighting cancer.  

Here are 5 things you need to know about childhood cancer research:

1. Childhood cancer research does not happen overnight. From idea formulation to discovery to preclinical testing to clinical trial, research takes years before patients can access treatment. Childhood cancer research is 5-10 years behind similar research for adult cancers; making funding critical to help get our children closer to cures. ALSF funds all stages of the process—the early stages of ideas and data collection, preclinical research and clinical trial—to make sure childhood cancer research results in breakthrough treatments. 

2.  Building infrastructure helps expedite childhood cancer research and train the next generation of researchers. By funding clinical trial infrastructure development through our Center Of Excellence grants program, ALSF helps expedite the development of novel therapeutic approaches to treating childhood cancers. These Centers Of Excellence use funding to build their childhood cancer research programs ensuring that research continues for the long haul. 

3. Taking educated risks in research works. Our boards of scientists, researchers and nurses use a comprehensive review process to evaluate groundbreaking projects and  choose projects that take risks—all to accelerate us faster towards a cure. Testing cutting edge treatments, like immunotherapy and genetic testing are helping to save children’s lives now. 

4. Collaboration is the key to breakthroughs. Scientists, researchers and oncologists all work together to collect data, test therapies, analyze results and find cures. ALSF believes in collaboration. Annually, our Young Investigators Summit brings together top young researchers from all over the world to present, collaborate and share research. Our new bioinformatics lab will harness the power of big data, the data being generated by scientists researching childhood cancer, to help us get closer to a cure. 

5. Finding a cure for childhood cancer is not simple; but we are closer than ever before. Childhood cancer research is complex, time-consuming and requires collaboration. As we continue to push forward, we are closer to finding cures. ALSF has already funded over 650 research grants designed to push innovation further and accelerate the rate at which scientists can get funding. As our grant list grows, so will the breakthroughs and the cures. 

Read more about our grants program and meet our childhood cancer heroes. 

Forget the tricks! This Halloween, let's treat childhood cancer.

Forget the tricks! This October let’s fund more innovative, breakthrough treatments for childhood cancer. Want to help in the fight against childhood cancer? Read about our grant program, find out how to host a lemonade stand and share this graphic all month to help us raise awareness!

About Monthly Shareables:
You can help Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation raise awareness of the need for childhood cancer research and cures for all children! Each month, we will share a new "shareable," an image for you to share with your social media network. Every time we start a conversation about childhood cancer, we bring ourselves closer to cures.

How To Share:
Sharing is easy! Links to the shareable on Facebook and Twitter are on the tabs below. Simply click on each tab and share, like and favorite! Thank you for helping ALSF fund innovative, cutting-edge childhood cancer research. 

Social embeds

Striking Out Childhood Cancer is the ALSF Northern California bowling fundraiser.

This October, our supporters in Northern California, will host the second annual Striking Out Childhood Cancer—an afternoon of bowling, cocktails, dinner and auctions benefiting ALSF. Inspired by the life and legacy of C.J. Banaszek, who died from chronic myelogenous leukemia when he was 13 years old, Striking Out Childhood Cancer is an example of a unique way you can help make a difference and help raise critical research dollars.

It is also another one of ALSF’s regional events—as the movement grows from Alex’s background—it is incredible to see how our supporters are everywhere. Childhood cancer, sadly, is everywhere too. Meet some of the local hero families and as well as the Banaszek family in Northern California:

C.J. Banaszek
C.J. was 11 years old when he had a nosebleed that wouldn't stop. His mom took him to the emergency room, where a doctor with a hunch took a blood test that revealed that C.J. had chronic myelogenous leukemia. After he was diagnosed, C.J. had a successful bone marrow transplant, but he relapsed two months later. He went on to have two more transplants and spent eight and a half months in the hospital. He finally defeated his leukemia, but passed away in July of 2014 from a fungal infection he acquired during treatment.

C.J.’s mom, Heather, hopes that leukemia treatments improve so that no child has to go through a bone marrow transplant, and, of course, that there can be a cure for cancer. She advises other parents whose children have recently received a cancer diagnosis to “stay positive and take it one day at a time. Be like Dory from Finding Nemo and ‘just keep swimming.’”

C.J. faced his illness with incredible strength, a smile on his face and a sense of humor. He fought an epic battle and continued to be concerned for the wellbeing of those around him. Heather shared more about CJ and her family’s story here. 

Jayden Zentner
When Jayden Zentner was just 4 years old, he complained of severe back pains. His mother said that doctors initially provided no real answers, but her motherly instinct knew the pain was not typical growing pains. She pushed for an MRI and shortly after received the shocking news that Jayden had three masses. Jayden was diagnosed with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia with lymphomatous features. His treatment has been rigorous—3 1/2 years of chemotherapy that completed in September 2016. The treatment compromised his immune system, caused hair loss and the cancer caused two fractures in his spine.

Despite it all, Jayden enjoys being a kid and playing with his friends. He also has big dreams and one day hopes to be a scientist to help find a cure for childhood cancer so other children don’t have to go through what he has endured. 

Jack Busick
Six-year-old Jack Busick is a feisty, fun-loving little boy who is all heart. He was born with Down Syndrome and as a result routinely tested for several potential health issues including leukemia. A few weeks after his 4th birthday, Jack was diagnosed with ALL. His treatment was difficult as he struggled to understand why tests and procedures had to be performed. He also struggled with sensory issues that made physically forcing treatment necessary and horrifying for his family. Jack is a fighter—and since his last chemo dose on January 16, 2016, he’s been cancer-free.  His mom, Angi, wants everyone to know that no family can fight alone and it took a village to truly get through Jack’s treatment and to help the entire family get through the diagnosis and treatment. 

Striking Out Childhood Cancer is Sunday, October 16 from 1-7 pm in Petulama, California and presented by Northwestern Mutual. Register, donate and help us Strike Out Childhood Cancer! Get more details here. 

Special Events
Childhood cancer survivor Jordan Vincent battles diffuse neural glial tumors

There have been several times during her battle with childhood cancer, that Jordan Vincent has not been able to walk. It has never stopped her from going the distance for a cure. Jordan, who is now 18, has been slaying diffuse neural glial tumors since she was 4-years-old. Each year during Alex’s Million Mile, Jordan has found a way to log miles, even if it is just one mile in her wheelchair—or several laps walked with her family. This year, Jordan rode for the entire 45 minutes during her annual SoulCycle fundraiser and raised over $20,000 for childhood cancer research—just weeks after being in a wheelchair. 

Jordan is pictured, above, with her SoulCycle instructor Laura Crago.

“Jordan rarely looks back. She doesn’t look back to make future decisions. She has never shied away from the battles she has had to fight,” says Larry Vincent, Jordan’s dad. 
Read more about Jordan here.

Alex's Million Mile

Alex’s Million Mile is held every September to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to raise critical funds for childhood cancer research. There are thousands of participants—all around the world—and among the most dedicated are our childhood cancer hero families. Shannon and Jake Leonard, parents to Caleb, Xavier and Asher, log their miles in Kellyville, Australia, a Sydney suburb--a place that feels a million miles away from their hometown in Kansas. 

Their youngest son, Asher, was diagnosed with ependymoma, a tumor of the brain and spine, in October 2011 when he was just 2 years old. Asher passed away, at the age of 4 1/2 in July 2013. 

That year was also the start of Alex’s Million Mile and what would become the start of a family tradition for the Leonards and a new way forward in the fight against childhood cancer. Here is Shannon’s Alex’s Million Mile story:

The inaugural year for Alex’s Million Mile, September 2013, was just two months after Asher died. We were all reeling. The kids were back to school. Jake was back to work. I was left in the house, alone, with what felt like no purpose. I left my job the day Asher was diagnosed in October 2011, and had spent every day since taking care of him, researching treatments and doing everything in my power to give him happy, meaningful days. 

Participating in Alex's Million Mile that first year gave me a sense of purpose. I got up every day, put on my gym clothes and running shoes and hit the pavement. With every step I thought about Asher. I thought about all the years he'd miss living on this earth; all the steps he'd never run or walk; and all the firsts he'd miss. I pushed myself every day to run a little further, a little faster, because Asher couldn't.  

Our family joins Alex’s Million Mile each year for the same reasons, but I can say that every step I run and walk, doesn't carry the same weight it did 3 years ago. I smile and even laugh when I run; thinking about Asher and all the wonderfully funny, amazing and compassionate things he did. In his 4 1/2 years , Asher taught us how to live in the face of adversity. He never complained. He never asked why he had to go through such hell. He was a happy little boy, who loved knock-knock jokes, cooking, Star Wars, playing outside and his big bothers. He was always concerned about others and even on the hardest, darkest days, he was always asking how everyone else was doing, making sure we were all ok. 

Our family will always continue to do what we can—whether that be bringing awareness, seeking donations or gathering support—to  ensure that someday, no family has to watch their child and sibling suffer at the hands of cancer. We know that our hearts and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s mission align. We will continue to support all of their efforts to further research and support families.

We moved to Australia in July 2016. To have this amazing experience of living in another country, experiencing a whole new part of the world and giving our boys the opportunity of a lifetime, was an easy decision. Our boys have such a deep appreciation for life, having lived through the death of their brother. In discussing the move with the boys, it was Caleb who looked at us one day and said "Mom, this is an easy decision. We've had to make the hardest, most awful decisions with Asher, and THIS is not a hard decision.”

The majority of our team members are from Kansas and Ohio, our "homes." Asher's Stormtroopers began within weeks of Asher's diagnosis, as my sisters wanted to make t-shirts to support Asher and our family. Our boys suggested the color yellow, like Asher's blanket, that was always in his hand, a pale yellow color, was named "yellow." Asher loved everything Star Wars, due to his brothers’ love of Star Wars, and the name and design was born. We've stuck with the shirts and team name, as we carry on in honor and memory of Asher.

You can read more about Asher’s story and Asher’s Stormtroopers here. 

guest post by Rob Schuster, ALSF staff accountant

Rob Schuster, our revenue staff accountant, keeps track of donations for the Foundation. His numbers job is one we could not manage without. With every donation he logs, Rob gets us one step closer to cures for childhood cancer. Today, Rob shares how he is adding up the miles and the hope for Alex's Million Mile. 

As an accountant, I can attest to the fact that we aren’t really known for our physical fitness. Accountants like me sit at our desks all day and work with numbers. So how are people like me supposed to contribute to Alex’s Million Mile, an event that is focused on running, walking, and biking? 

Well, we can start by looking at the numbers.

I set a personal goal for myself to walk and run 100 miles by the end of September. Does that seem like a lot? Because it does to me. 

However, if you divide that 100 miles by 30 days, then I only have to walk or run about 3.33 miles each day to reach my goal by September 30th. That seems much more manageable. Just by following my normal routine throughout the day, I can log about 1.5 miles, which means I need to walk an extra 2 miles each day. This is something I can accomplish by taking about 30 minutes to walk at night.

So if you’re having trouble reaching your own goal for the month, figure out how many miles each day you’ll need to walk, run, or ride and try to hit that goal each day. By breaking it down into daily objectives, the monthly goal will become much less intimidating. It’s definitely helped me stay on track to reach 100 miles. And remember that every mile you travel brings us closer to the collective goal of one million miles in September.

Running, walking, or riding one million miles in a single month… it’s a daunting goal. Yet all you have to do is consider the life of the Foundation’s founder, Alex Scott, to see how it can be accomplished.

While Alex was still fighting her battle with neuroblastoma, she set a goal to raise $1 million in order to help children with cancer. This goal might have seemed unattainable to many. How could one child raise $1 million on her own? She couldn’t. Not on her own, at least. In addition to her family, Alex had support from people across the country. These people were inspired by Alex’s courage, determination, and selflessness. Like Alex, these people wanted to achieve the mission of ending childhood cancer, so they began holding lemonade stands to raise funds for childhood cancer research. By the summer of 2004, before she passed away at the age of eight, Alex reached her goal of raising $1 million dollars for childhood cancer research.

Alex’s Million Mile, much like the Foundation itself, is a continuation of Alex’s accomplishments. The month-long event is focused on bringing people together to work towards a common goal. It would be impossible for an individual to run, walk, or bike one million miles in a single month. But when thousands of people participate, the goal becomes achievable. And by collectively logging one million miles, we can increase awareness and raise funds for critical childhood cancer research.

How far are you willing to run, walk, or ride to help raise awareness of childhood cancer? If you haven’t already, ask your friends to register for Alex’s Million Mile and invite them to join a team. We’re more than halfway through the month, so it’s time to get moving!  

Raise $1 million for childhood cancer research during Alex's Million Mile and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in December

When Alex was just  4-years-old, she announced she wanted to raise $1 million for childhood cancer research. It sounded impossible—but Alex proved that anything is possible if we work together! This September during Childhood Cancer Awareness month and Alex’s Million Mile (AMM), we are going a million miles and raising $1 million for childhood cancer research. Here’s how you can help:

1. Promote your AMM team on social media.

Encourage your friends, family and social media followers to donate to your team. Those who are unable to join a team can still donate and help you reach your goal.                         

Value: 100 followers at $10 each = $1,000

2. Host a lemonade stand at the end of your run.

Do you run with a group? Plan to end a run with a lemonade stand and ask everyone to donate $1 for every mile they complete. (Bonus: you get to rehydrate with fresh lemonade!)  

Value: $1 per person per mile completed

3. Check for a company donation match.
Many companies match employee donations to charity. Inquire whether your company will agree to match your donations for Alex’s Million Mile! 

Value: $100 donation + a company match= $200

4. Ask for friends to sponsor each mile you go. 

Tell your friends your mileage goal for AMM and ask them to sponsor you for every mile you complete.

Value: $1 per mile you log x 50 miles in September = $50

5. Dress up your competition. 

Think outside the typical sports gear and have your team walk, run, jog or cycle in crazy costumes. Ask your team, friends, family or followers to vote on their favorite costume. The votes will be taken in the form of any monetary value. To vote twice, the voter will match their first vote and so on.

Value: 1 vote= $1, 2 votes= $2, etc. 

How will you help us Journey to a Million? Share your Alex’s Million Mile tips with us and sign up your team today!

Alex's Million Mile

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) works every day to raise awareness and shed a light on all childhood cancers--and you can, too!  Here are 10 fast facts you need to know:


1. Childhood cancer happens every month, everywhere. Every day, there are almost 700 new cases of childhood cancer around the world—adding up to over 250,000 new cases of cancer in children under the age of 20. 

2. Childhood cancer is not one disease; it is dozens of diseases. Childhood cancers, like adult cancers, are varied and include blood cancers (like leukemia), brain and spinal tumors, other solid cell tumors (like neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma) and many variations of each disease. Research is needed for each type of childhood cancer. 

3. Childhood cancer kills. Long term survival rates continue to increase, but not fast enough to save the lives of the 250 children killed each day due to cancer and its complications. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States.

4. Childhood cancer leaves survivors with long-term side effects. Toxic treatments and surgeries can leave childhood cancer survivors with an array of side effects—suppressed immune systems, chronic health conditions, hearing and visual impairments, muscle weakness and learning issues. Research into safer, more effective treatments will lead to fewer side effects for childhood cancer survivors. 

5. Childhood cancer research is severely underfunded. Less than 5 percent of the federal government’s total funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancers each year—without funding, research will not happen. And without research, cures won’t happen either. 

6. However, ALSF is working to change that through innovative research. ALSF uses money raised to fund innovative and targeted research to find new cures for childhood cancer. ALSF also funds nursing grants to improve the quality of care for children battling cancer and has a Travel for Care fund to alleviate financial burdens and ensure everyone can access treatment.

7. Data, collaboration and innovation will lead us to a cure. ALSF not only funds cutting-edge research—we drive collaboration amongst scientists through our annual Young Investigators Summit. We are also launching the first ever bioinformatics labs that will analyze and decipher childhood cancer data being generated in research facilities across the country to accelerate research. 

8. Childhood cancer research works. Just ask Zach and Edie. Innovative childhood cancer research works and breakthroughs are happening. Zach, who is now 11 years old, survived relapsed anapestic large cell lymphoma because of breakthrough treatment funded by ALSF. 

9. Awareness is critical.  More awareness about childhood cancer—both its impact and the need for research—is critical. Awareness spurs action and action leads to research and ultimately a cure. You can share the childhood cancer gold ribbon on your social media pages to help raise awareness. 

10. You can make a difference.  Donate, host a lemonade stand, participate in Alex's Million Mile and share these childhood cancer facts with your network. Everyone can make a difference in the fight against childhood cancer, one cup at a time. 



Alex's Million Mile
Share this gold ribbon for childhood cancer awareness month in September

Childhood cancer spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class or geographical region. It takes the lives of approximately 250 kids around the world, every day. Help us spread awareness this September, during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, by sharing this image and joining us in the fight against childhood cancer.

About Monthly Shareables:
You can help Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation raise awareness of the need for childhood cancer research and cures for all children! Each month, we will share a new "shareable," an image for you to share with your social media network. Every time we start a conversation about childhood cancer, we bring ourselves closer to cures.

How To Share:
Sharing is easy! Links to the shareable on Facebook and Twitter are on the tabs below. Simply click on each tab and share, like and favorite! Thank you for helping ALSF fund innovative, cutting-edge childhood cancer research. 

Social embeds