by Liz Scott, Alex’s Mom
In 2000, the day after her fourth birthday, Alex received a stem cell transplant. Alex told me, “When I get out of the hospital, I want to have a lemonade stand.” It was winter, so I agreed that when it was warmer she could have one. I forgot about her request. The weather got warmer and Alex began asking to hold her lemonade stand again.
I wondered what Alex could possibly want to buy with her lemonade money. I asked her: “Alex, what is it that you want?”
Alex did not want anything for herself. She wanted to give the money to doctors to allow them to “help other kids, like they helped me.” True to her word, Alex, with the help of her brother, held her first lemonade stand in June of that year and raised an amazing $2,000 for “her hospital.”
Alex continued to amaze me with her selflessness. When Alex asked where exactly the money she was raising was going, I told her it was going to research for neuroblastoma at “her hospital” — in my mind there was a chance that we could find a cure for her with the money raised.
Alex was clearly not pleased with my answer. I was confused at why she wasn’t happy about where we were donating the money. She then turned to me and said “that is so selfish.” I tried to explain to her again why we were donating the money to research for neuroblastoma when she finally answered, “all kids with cancer want a cure.”
That was a huge moment for me.
In that moment, the truly kind intentions behind her lemonade stand were made clear and her legacy of helping all children and funding all types of childhood cancer research at hospitals across the country was born.
Through her kindness, Alex inspired acts of kindness from others. So many people showed up at her lemonade stands and as word of the Lemonade Girl grew, so did the number of lemonade stand hosts across the country. When Alex boldly set a goal of raising $1 million dollars, supporters everywhere, of every age, stepped in with their donations — her kindness inspired the kindness of others. Today, more than 12 years after Alex left us, Alex’s Lemonade Stand has now raised over $140 million and funded over 690 research grants.
Alex’s legacy continues to show that everyone can make a difference, one cup and one act of kindness at a time. It is incredible how her one kind action – holding a lemonade stand to help other kids – was a spark that ignited tens of thousands of others to do the same.
Tomorrow, February 17, is Random Acts of Kindness Day. Although we really shouldn’t need a day to remember to be kind to others, it is a good day to make sure you stop and do something kind for someone else – you never know when you will be the spark to inspire someone else to do the same!
Need some simple ways to get started? Here are eight great ways to show some kindness:
- When you are in line for your morning cup of coffee, offer to pay for the person behind you or in front of you.
- Check out the ALSF Stand Finder on our website and search for a Lemonade Stand in your zip code. Make a random $5 or $10 donation to a stand.
- Bring a neighbor a cup of hot chocolate, some homemade cookies or a glass of lemonade!
- Grab a stack of sticky notes and write kind messages for your colleagues at work. Leave the notes on their desk.
- Tape quarters to the washing machines at the laundromat, on parking meters or on gum ball machines.
- Donate your used books to your local library, school, senior center or nursing home.
- Make your social media kind! Share positive stories and leave your friends kind comments!
- Smile and say hello to everyone you encounter all day long!
Liz Scott is the Co-Executive Director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, but she is most proud of her title of "Mom" to her three sons, Patrick, Eddie, and Joey, and her daughter Alex.