By: Trish Adkins
Starting with her very first lemonade stand, Alexandra “Alex” Scott, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) founder, sparked a movement—a movement not only to help sick kids get better and find cures for childhood cancer; but a movement that would inspire and call on each one of us to work together.
Over the last 20 years, childhood cancer heroes and their families, donors and volunteers, and of course, researchers have come together for one goal: cures for childhood cancer.
At ALSF, we have learned that curing childhood cancer is not just a product of fundraising or volunteering or even the result of a breakthrough that happens in a lab. It is not just one successful treatment for one child or one donation that makes cures possible.
Curing childhood cancer is a combination of all of these elements and the people working together for one purpose that will save generations of children. At ALSF, our mission began with Alex’s front yard lemonade stand and we know it will ends with cures. Our formula is posted in the slideshow above, but the real way to understand how ALSF works is to see the formula in action.
Here are seven feel-good stories that show our formula for cures in action:
1. Supporters Taking a Stand: The Million Mile
This year during The Million Mile supporters went 1 million miles and raised over $2 million for childhood cancer research.
2. Breakthrough Research
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF)-funded researchers Andras Heczey, MD and Leonid Metelitsa, MD/PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital are continuing to make huge leaps forward in the search for cures for neuroblastoma.
Childhood cancer hero families are the bedrock of what Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) does every day. Started by a hero — Alex Scott — and propelled forward by the belief that the safer treatments and cures children need and deserve are possible, ALSF draws inspiration from the stories of regular families who are launched into extraordinary circumstances.
4. Rigorous Scientific Review
The ALSF research process includes rigorous scientific review to ensure the best and the brightest projects are funded. From early career research grants to grants that provide for critical clinical trial infrastructure, the importance of biomedical research is clear. One study estimated that from 1975-2010, pediatric cancer research led to treatment improvements that saved the lives of 45,000 children, illustrating the impact of research over time.
5. Innovative Collaboration
During the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers (like all of us) missed out on in-person connections. ALSF pivoted their typical collaborative workshops and created the Childhood Cancer Lecture Series, bringing together the great minds in childhood cancer research to learn from each other in a series of virtual lecture.
6. Immediate Impact to Families
For kids like Omari who are battling childhood cancer now, the COVID-19 pandemic adds plenty of obstacles to the already daunting task of fighting childhood cancer. When his mom was laid off, they were so thankful that Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) could help with gas expenses for their frequent trips to treatment, through the ALSF COVID-19 Emergency fund that provided travel support and grocery assistance to families.
Omari thrives on the football field, but he’s been sidelined due to his acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis. Omari is still undergoing treatment once a week, but the COVID-19 pandemic added plenty of obstacles to the already daunting task of fighting childhood cancer. When his mom was laid off, they were so thankful that Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) could help with gas expenses for their frequent trips to treatment. Omari is going to continue fighting his disease in pursuit of his dreams to play college football one day.
7. Investment in Technology
The Childhood Cancer Data Lab, powered by ALSF, gives researchers access to cutting-edge tools and decades of data available through refine.bio. This Spring, the CCDL helped researchers learn more about how the data tool works and trained them to use research to accelerate their research.
Thank you @CancerDataLab @GreeneScientist for organizing a such great workshope. really thankful to all instructor @jaclyn_taroni @jashapiro @cansavvy @cjbethell @deepa_vprasad ,who giving a their best for RNA-Seq workshop. Workshop end with smiling faces pic.twitter.com/A5aUwCl20a— Kirtan Dave (@DaveKirtan) June 26, 2020
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is launching a social media campaign inspired by ALSF founder, Alex Scott’s positive outlook in times of uncertainty. We want to know how you are making lemonade out of lemons during this time - whether by learning new skills, getting creative, connecting with family or friends through video chat or doing something else that puts a sweet smile on your faces! Share your special moments with us on social media using the hashtag #MakeAlexsLemonade.