by Trish Adkins
When ALSF founder Alex Scott was just 4 years old and in treatment for neuroblastoma, she held her first lemonade stand. Alex raised over $2,000 and sparked a movement towards cures for childhood cancer. Now, supporters everywhere follow in Alex’s footsteps and go the extra mile every day to help children and find cures! From supporters who jump out of planes or canoe thousands of miles to children who host lemonade stands and researchers working around the clock to find breakthroughs, the list of extra-milers is long. Meet 10 Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation supporters who are going the extra mile for children with cancer:
1. Grandma Bee: The Skydiving Grandma
Rebecca Byrom (aka Grandma Bee) wanted to support her grandson Alex, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2016. Since Alex faced his scary situation so bravely, she wanted to do something that scared her: skydiving from over 2.5 miles above the ground! Despite being over 70 years old, both she and her husband Tom jumped from a plane in San Diego in July 2017 and raised over $33,000 for childhood cancer research! Now, Grandma Bee continues to go the extra mile, but has turned to more grounded fundraising endeavors and is donating the proceeds from her gardening workshops and garden crafts business to ALSF.
2. David Kimball: Kissing Pigs
Not many people would be brave enough to give a pig a peck with their lips. But in Connecticut, Avon Middle School principal David Kimball went the extra mile and promised to kiss a pig if his students met their fundraising goal. His students made good on their pledge and raised over $1,500; so David had no choice but to plant a kiss on a pig! The middle school janitor and vice principal got in on the animal smooching too and kissed a goat and calf after students hit their fundraising goals—proving that going the extra mile is contagious!
3. Jim Emanuel: Channeling His Inner-Lewis and Clark
A long time ago, Lewis and Clark explored the Missouri River, with the goal of charting new territory. This year, experienced outdoorsman Jim Emanuel is following in their footsteps and pioneering the first-ever canoe trip to support ALSF and going even further than Lewis and Clark! Jim began his solo trek in Montana, stopped in St. Louis and now, will continue to canoe his way to the Gulf of Mexico. He chose ALSF after deciding he wanted to help kids with cancer in some way because “children are naturally friendly, honest, genuine and truthful, all the qualities that cancer isn’t.” While the nearly 3,500 mile trek will test his stamina, he knows that his extra miles are nothing compared to what children battling cancer go through.
4. Rik Zortman: The Human Etch-a-sketch
In 2009, Rik Zortman, ran a route that spelled out “Armstrong,” the name of his 3-year-old son who died from glioblastoma in 2009. Now, he continues on as the “Human Etch-a-Sketch” and plans his running routes using his mobile GPS tracker to spell out the names of other childhood cancer heroes to raise awareness, honor their courage and help find cures by fundraising through ALSF and The Million Mile. Rik serves in the military and is currently deployed for six months, but that won’t stop him from going the extra mile for kids with cancer by participating in The Million Mile with his team Armstrong’s Army.
5. The Lemonettes: Summer Bucket Listers and Sisters
Fourteen-year-old Kayla and 11-year-old Jordan Martelli, have been going the extra mile for children with cancer since starting their annual lemonade stand in 2012. The sisters have raised more than $15,000! Kayla had the idea by putting a lemonade stand on her summer bucket list but wanted the money to go to charity. Kayla and Jordan’s parents, Don and Susan, researched some charities and that’s when they discovered ALSF. From then on they have been hosting lemonade stands at their house, with their city mayor and politicians in attendance. The Lemonettes intend on keeping up their extra mile antics with a goal of having their city of Revere, MA hold a “city-wide” lemonade stand by having everyone host their own stand on the same day.
6. UCLA Nano-Transformers: Transforming Childhood Cancer Researcher
Thinking outside the box is second nature to Steven Jonas, MD, PhD, an ALSF Young Investigator Grantee and a member of The Million Mile team, the UCLA Nano-Transformers. He and his interdisciplinary group of chemists, engineers, and physician-scientists are building nanorobotic, gene-delivery drones to deploy genes and gene-editing packages directly to cells quickly, safely and for a lower cost than current delivery methods. This “tiny” technology will enable cutting-edge treatments, like CAR T immunotherapy, to be manufactured more effectively, which Dr. Jonas and his team hope will provide pediatric patients broader access to these cellular therapies. As if building breakthrough technology was not enough, Dr. Jonas and his Million Mile team go the extra mile each September. The team includes patients, families, patient advocates, UCLA students, physicians, nurses and scientists and brings everyone together for one goal: a cure!
7. Bob’s Furniture: Building a Cure
Corporate partner Bob’s Discount Furniture went the extra mile and teamed up with Manchester High School to build the ultimate lemonade stand! Students at the local high school built the magnificent lemonade stand. Then, every Sunday in July, Bob’s Discount Furniture hosted the stand in front of their Manchester, CT store. Staffed by members of the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Leadership Groups from Manchester High, the stand raised funds and awareness for ALSF!
The opening of the stand ran in conjunction with their chain-wide third quarter (July – September) Café Collections for a Cause program. Every quarter Bob’s collect all of the money donated at each one of their 99 stores across the country, match that amount to the penny and present one final check to a hand-selected non-profit organization!
8. Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex: They Make It Seem Easy Breezy.
For the third year in a row, The Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex is making going the extra mile seem easy breezy! During the month of September, Ocean Breeze transforms into a lemon-ful facility. The cardio equipment is decorated with the ALSF running lemon, reminding members to log all of their completed miles! There is a mini table-top version of the lemonade stand to post fliers and reminders on where the members can donate money or log their miles on their own. The facility has also hosted a 5K and promoted their Million Mile team at their annual health and wellness fair.
9. Lindsey Romeo: A “Can” Do Attitude Makes All the Difference
Some people get very creative about raising money for ALSF! For Lindsey Romeo, returning bottles is a passion of hers. Last year, she learned about ALSF and was so inspired by its mission that she decided to donate the funds to help kids fight cancer, instead of using it for her honeymoon. Lindsey did some crazy things to collect cans and bottles—she carried bottles and cans home in her checked luggage, always kept collection bags, glove and hand sanitizer in her car (so she could be ready!), asked colleagues to bring in cans to the office and would go to the race track and collect bottles left in the middle of the track. The 10,000 bottles and cans she collected added up to $500 throughout the year and she plans to do the same in 2018!
10. CBRE: Brokers Breaking Barriers
The Philadelphia regional offices of CBRE, a commercial real estate services firm, racked-up the miles in The Million Mile 2017 by registering 33 Million Mile teams! The group went close to 29,000 miles and included 300 employees. To kick off The Million Mile, the company host three office-wide First Mile Walks. Throughout the month there were friendly competitions (like an exercise selfie contest) and prizes for the most miles logged and the most money raised. Participation in the event unified their employees around a worthwhile cause and also fostered a team environment, while promoting health and wellness! Team CBRE will be back in 2018 with The Million Mile and will continue going the extra mile!
Ready to go the extra mile this September? Turn awareness into action, by joining The Million Mile, the largest childhood cancer awareness challenge that funds researchers so they can find better treatments and more cures for kids battling cancer.
Whether you are a casual walker or jogger, an avid cyclist or marathoner, YOU can make a difference in the lives of children fighting cancer. To show support and bring awareness to Childhood Cancer month, participants of all ages will walk, run or cycle as many miles as possible all month long while raising money to help kids with cancer. Our goal is to collectively walk, run or ride a million miles and raise $1 million during the month of September.