by Liz Scott, Alex’s Mom
Today, January 18, 2018, would have been my daughter Alex’s 22nd birthday; most of you know her as the founder of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Every year as Alex’s birthday rolls around, I wonder what is left to say about Alex. I have shared so much about her amazing life, her heartbreaking struggles and her extraordinary ability to persist. She was a special girl that is certain. I am proud to be her mom.
As I think of a new story to share about her life, I can’t help but think of another little girl named Greta whose story was similar to Alex’s in many ways.
Like Alex, Greta was diagnosed with cancer when she was just an infant. Alex had neuroblastoma and Greta had leukemia but both faced many months of aggressive treatment before they could even take their first steps.
Also like Alex, treatments failed Greta. When her cancer returned just months after her treatment, Greta was facing dismal odds. I know too well the fear that must have been in her parents’ hearts as they faced the reality of her prognosis.
Miraculously, they learned that Greta qualified for a new immunotherapy trial funded by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The trial had just opened, but it was far from Greta's home in another state, presenting another barrier to treatment. Luckily the Foundation’s Travel For Care Program was available to help this family with lodging while Greta received the immunotherapy treatment. Within two weeks, Greta was in remission and has remained there for over three years!
I share this today, on Alex’s birthday, because I think Greta’s story is a story that Alex would be most proud of – the story of a little girl who gets to grow up and live her dreams.
Alex wanted to grow up too; she had a lot of dreams for herself. She also had hopes and dreams for other kids – and I think she saw her lemonade stand as a way to help other kids live their dreams. When she first started her stand, I thought she would raise 5 or 10 dollars and I told her so. But thankfully, she was not deterred by my doubts. Alex set out, with the help of her older brother Patrick, and of course little Eddie, in our front yard with her pitcher of lemonade and a sign that said she was donating the money to her hospital. That day was incredible, people came to show their support, some with smiles, some with tears, but all with the idea that they could do something to help. At the end of the day, she had raised more than $2,000. When I asked her what she thought about that day, she said: “It was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
I knew then that this meant something to her, it was not cute or small, but something she took to heart. Perhaps that day her vision started to develop, a vision of what could be done if she continued to sell lemonade and inspired people to give and to work together to help other kids.
One little girl, my little girl, started a movement that would give other little girls (and boys) cures. Alex gave other families more stories to tell—stories of more birthdays and school days and graduations and weddings.
Greta’s mom says it best: “We find ourselves thankful literally every day for the hopes and dreams we are seeing Greta realize!”
So, as I reflect on another birthday for Alex, I am sad, of course, for all she missed, but full of joy for all she made possible. Her story continues every day through her legacy of lemonade stands and working together to bring us closer to the conclusion that Alex wanted: a cure for childhood cancer.
It is an honor to help continue to write the story she started. And it is an honor to do so alongside so many other Hero families, generous supporters, volunteers, researchers and everyone who continues to believe that if we all work together, anything is possible, even cures for childhood cancer.
Happy Birthday, Alex.