By: Liz Scott
I have a little love note that I cherish. It simply says, “I love you, Mom,” in that sweet irregular handwriting that is the trademark of young kids. My daughter Alex wrote it for me when she was around 6 years old.
I miss Alex every day. You never know when a simple gesture, like a love note, will become a treasure to those you leave behind.
This year marks 20 years since Alex’s first lemonade stand, and 16 years since Alex was last here to pour lemonade and write me love notes. But her legacy has kept the love pouring in. Alex inspired many “love notes” to be written and sent to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) offices.
I am so fortunate to see those notes that come in every day in the mail, email and through social media.
We get letters about how Alex’s story inspired families, schools and businesses to host lemonade stands. We get copies of children’s school reports about Alex. We get handwritten letters from parents who have a child who is battling cancer. We get emails from adult childhood cancer survivors sharing their stories and thanking ALSF for continuing the search for cures.
I also get to see on social media the amazing things people everywhere are doing to support ALSF. The inspiration they draw from my daughter’s life is like a love letter. Recently, Paul Dixon, an ALSF supporter and dad to a son and daughter, shared this post on his Instagram page:
Paul, who first became aware of ALSF through his employer, named his daughter Alexandra because of my daughter’s story. His family celebrated their Alex’s first birthday with a fundraiser for ALSF. This warms my heart and reminds me that Alex’s life has more ripples in this world than I can ever know.
Through the years we have also received thousands of beautiful letters written to Alex that are truly remarkable to read. As we mark this Valentine’s Day, it seems fitting to share these letters—the love letters to our daughter and to her cause. The “notes to Alex” below are all taken from letters we have received:
Dear Alex, I thank you for sharing your story. It has enriched my soul and reminded me to truly be grateful for the little things, to enjoy each moment fully and to not let anything hold you back from just enjoying life. There is a lifetime of memories in every breath if one only takes the time to recognize that and cherish the moment. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Dear Alex, You are a very inspiring person who has touched my heart. I am getting chemo treatments now as I have breast cancer. I was feeling low and all my bones ached. However, I felt much better after reading the story about you in the Inquirer. You inspired me to sit up, play a game with my children and make them feel happy just like you put a smile on my face.
Dear Alex, We sold lemonade and cookies from 8am to 12 noon and had quite a few customers! At the end of the yard sale we counted up our earnings and came up with one hundred dollars! We were really excited. This made me realize that even though my friend and I are only two eleven-year-old girls we can help make a difference. I want to thank you for starting your foundation and letting everyone know how to help and for giving those with cancer the courage to survive.
Dear Alex, Thank you for teaching me so much about courage and generosity by the example you set…most of us in our lifetimes do not manage to accomplish even a fraction of what you have accomplished so far in eight and a half years. You are living your life “large” and making the most of everyday.
Dear Alex, Your story is a heartening, uplifting one – to be able to think of others and want to help other children with cancer demonstrated what a strong, determined, selfless, loving girl you are. And you moved me to help. And you are doing a great thing! I thought, even I can put on a lemonade stand! What an easy and fun event to hold.
Dear Alex, Sometimes I get sad because I deal with a lot of bad situations in my work life. So I just wanted to say thank you for helping me to remember just how great people can be. You have an extremely warm heart and I hope you inspire more people (like me!) to lead a better life and to be a better person.
Thank you to the countless people who have taken the time over the years to send along their words of inspiration. I am a lucky mom. My Valentine’s Day wish to everyone is to cherish the love around you every day. The world has an abundance of compassion, precious moments and kind words. It only takes a moment each day to stop, appreciate all this good and share it with each other