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To My Sister Alex

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Pictured here: Patrick, age 8 and Alex, age 7 outside their home in Wynnewood, PA in the fall of 2003.

Pictured here: Patrick, age 8 and Alex, age 7 outside their home in Wynnewood, PA in the fall of 2003.

By: Patrick Scott

On Alex’s Angel Anniversary in 2017, I wrote a letter to my sister about everything she meant to me over the years. Today, on the eve of what would have been her 25th birthday, I want to share a portion of that letter with you:

To my sister Alex,

Today marks 13 years since your death on August 1, 2004. At the time, you were 8 and I was 9. Had you lived, you would be 21 now. It’s difficult to imagine, because you will always be fixed in my memory, and in the memories of Mom, Dad, Eddie and Joey, as an 8-year-old girl. It’s even more difficult to think of all the things you’ve missed in the 13 years since you died; our family has had 65 birthdays, nine graduations and two new dogs.

I think that, if you were alive, even you would be surprised to see what your lemonade stand has become (or, maybe not, you always had a way of knowing things). Tens of thousands of events each year and over $140 million raised - quite a far cry from the table you set up in our front yard not too many years ago.

When I think of you on this day, the word that comes to mind is “bittersweet.” It is impossible to recollect the joy of your life without also bringing to mind the tragedy of your death and the tragedy of pediatric cancer. Should I feel happy to have known you or sad to have lost you? Should I think of the thousands of lives that your dream saved or your life that ended too soon? Should I remember the fullness of your years or the shortness of your life? Do I remember days sitting in our backyard, you drawing and me reading, or your final days, when your illness had progressed beyond the point of no return?

I could remember you as a lot of things: the lemonade girl, a childhood cancer victim, my close friend, my little sister. But none of them do you justice; you would not be you if they were not all true.

More than anything else, I remember you for what you taught me. When asked about your cancer, you once said, “I am grateful for what I have, not ungrateful for what I don’t have.” You, as a terminally ill child, were still appreciative of the blessings that you had. To me, that describes you better than any label, encapsulates your image better than any picture -- it reminds me that even though you were never old in age, in some ways, you were old in wisdom. For the lessons that you taught me, I will always remember you and I will always be grateful.

With love, your brother,


Patrick Scott, far right, with Eddie, Joey, Liz and Jay Scott at The 2017 Lemon Ball