The Childhood Cancer Blog

How a Lemonade Stand Can Cure Childhood Cancer

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alsf founder alex scott at her lemonade stand

By: Trish Adkins

Alex Scott was just 4 years old and battling neuroblastoma when an experimental treatment, called MIBG, made her feel better. Alex emerged from the hospital certain of two things: the treatment worked and she wanted to host a lemonade stand. 

Alex’s MRI results proved she was right: she was cancer-free for the first time in three years, except for one spot on her spine. Alex was also determined. She recognized that new treatments could help other kids, too, and wanted to host a lemonade stand and donate her stand’s profits to doctors so they could “help other kids like they helped me.” 

Even at 4-years-old, Alex’s belief in fighting childhood cancer couldn’t be contained. On July 1, 2000, Alex brought her sunny smile and lemonade stand to her family’s front yard and raised $2,000 dollars. The next year, she held another stand. The next year, another. Word started to spread. Supporters flooded her family’s yard. Donations from other stands across the country stuffed their mailbox. The rest is history. Today, supporters everywhere hold lemonade stands, donate to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), track miles and raise awareness through The Million Mile, attend special events or fundraise in other ways. 

Here's how a lemonade stand (and all our supporters) can help cure childhood cancer:

1.    Powering Research
ALSF has been able to fund more than 1,000 research projects at nearly 150 institutions — developing safer, more effective treatment options for children fighting cancer. This includes the launch of the Crazy 8 Initiative to harness collaborative spirit across global institutions to topple the most pressing pediatric cancer research roadblocks. 

2.    Making Milestones Possible
Quincy was just 4 months old when he was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), a rare type of leukemia that comes with a poor prognosis. Thanks in part to support from an ALSF Center of Excellence Grant, Quincy’s doctors at the University of California San Francisco had access to an advanced genetic test that revealed that Quincy had a rare mutation, and that mutation had a matching drug to treat it: a therapy previously approved for use in adult liver and kidney cancers. The drug worked. Now, Quincy is 4 years old. Every milestone in his young life — from first steps to first words to first days of school — has been because of a treatment that saved his life. The incredible support of people everywhere has made research breakthroughs possible, which in turn make milestones possible for children battling cancer

3.    Helping Children Get to Treatment
Families often have no choice but to travel to hospitals far from home for the critical treatments their child needs. From airplane travel to hotel stays, traveling for treatment can add up quickly. The Travel For Care program helps alleviate this burden for families by covering those costs. In 2020, more than 450 families were helped through Travel For Care thanks to generous ALSF supporters. 

4.    Supporting Families During a Global Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone, but that was especially true for our childhood cancer families, who struggled to ensure their children safely received the care they needed. In 2020, the COVID-19 emergency fund provided more than $600,000 in grocery support to over 2,000 childhood cancer families from March through December. 

5.    Providing Support Services During the Childhood Cancer Journey
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the entire family is impacted. For siblings, a childhood cancer diagnosis can be especially scary. The SuperSibs program is designed to comfort, encourage and empower these siblings so they can approach the future with courage and hope. ALSF also supports families with the Clinical Trial Navigation, the Childhood Cancer Guides and Treatment Journals. 

6.    Inspiring Others
Alex’s first lemonade stand inspired others to follow suit and today, 21 years later, that flurry of inspiration is still going strong. In 2020, supporters all around the world held 5,500 fundraisers (most of them virtual or socially distant). Every drop of support adds up to an overflowing cup of impact. 

This September, you can make a difference for children with cancer. Follow along in the ALSF Blog to learn more, register for The Million Mile or sign up to be part of our One Cup At a Time Club.  

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