The Childhood Cancer Blog

Meet the Children You Helped in 2023

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  • This year 17,000 children were diagnosed with childhood cancer. Photo by Ryan Kurtz.
  • Childhood cancer affects the entire family. SuperSibs, a program of ALSF, provides comfort and care support to siblings. Photo by John Ransom.
  • Each year, ALL survivor Mia hosts a lemonade stand with her SuperSib Gabby
  • Flashes of Hope has photographed over 1,500 families. Photo by Wendy Zins

By: Trish Adkins

Melissa Bento’s daughters Mia and Gabby were in elementary school when an acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis changed their family forever. Mia, who was just 5 years old, faced grueling treatments. Gabby, who was just 8 years old, faced time on the sidelines of the fight. Her mom signed her up for Supersibs, an ALSF program that provides comfort and care to children with siblings in cancer treatment. Every month, special deliveries would arrive just for Gabby, brightening her day and inspiring her to share her journey with classmates at school.

The family found comfort in reading the stories of other cancer families on the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation website. Today, Mia is cancer-free and an active 11-year-old; her sister Gabby is also thriving, about to turn 15 years old. 

But the family hasn’t forgotten childhood cancer. 

Each year, the Bento’s host a lemonade stand during Lemonade Days to support ALSF. This past year, the girls took the lead gathering supplies, setting up and soliciting donations. This year the Bentos raised over $1,400, adding their efforts to over 500 other Lemonade Days stand hosts. 

These amazing efforts add to big things for kids with cancer. In 2023, supporters everywhere hosted stands, attended special events (including LA Loves Alex’s, a culinary event back after a long pandemic-related hiatus), participated in the Million Mile (nearly 300 teams!), joined the One Cup at a Time Club (now 1,000 members strong!) and found other unique, creative ways to help kids with cancer. One school in Great Barrington, Massachusetts raised over $1,300 with a readathon. 

All of this incredible support adds up to sweet things for kids with cancer in 2023 and beyond. 

Here are the kids you helped in 2023:

1.    17,000 Children Diagnosed with Cancer in 2023
Atlas was 8 months old when doctors found a tumor on his wrist. The diagnosis: undifferentiated spindle cell sarcoma. He continues to receive chemotherapy and radiation while his family hopes for a cure. 

Atlas is one of the over 17,000 children in the United States diagnosed with cancer each year. In 2023, ALSF was able to fund 120 research grants, aimed at finding cures and safer treatments.

2.    350 (and counting!) Children Traveling to Treatment
Kathryn is a kind 7-year-old who wants to make everyone feel loved. She is also a warrior: she’s been fighting an inoperable brain tumor called DIPG since December 2020. There is no known cure for DIPG—but there is promising research and clinical trials. For Kathryn, hope lied in a promising CAR T immunotherapy trial at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The only problem: Kathryn lives in Vermont. 

This is when Travel for Care entered the picture. Through this program, ALSF was able to provide travel support to the family as they fly across the country each month for infusions. Kathryn is now 3 years out from diagnosis, outliving her prognosis by 2 ½ years. 

This year, Travel for Care helped over 350 families get to treatment, alleviating financial burdens and travel planning stress, while also delivering on access and hope. 

3.    More Than 1,750 Brothers and Sisters of Kids Fighting Cancer

Stella was 12 years old when her older brother Max was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Separated by hospital pandemic protocols, Stella would write letters to her brother and Facetime him over dinner. Often her Dad would drive her to the hospital to wave to Max from outside. Stella would cry the whole ride home. 

SuperSibs supported Stella with care packages during her brother’s treatment, giving her comfort and community. This year, SuperSibs was able to offer the same invaluable support to over 1,750 brothers and sisters of kids fighting cancer. 

4.    Over 1,500 Flashes of Hope Families 
Flashes of Hope, a program of ALSF that provides professional photo shoots and portraits to children fighting cancer, has now provided over 1,500 photo shoots. 
This year, 112 professional photographers volunteered their time and talent at 22 hospitals, 10 childhood cancer camps and 17 special events. 

The gift of these portraits give families beautiful memories of difficult times—capturing the enduring joy and love of kids who just want cures. 

Fund Research. Find Cures. Help Kids. 
All of this, from research breakthroughs to cures, is made possible by generous supporters, who were inspired by ALSF founder Alex Scott’s dream of finding cures for all children. 

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