Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

Kayla, now 6-years-old, was diagnosed with High Risk Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in June 2007. Since the time of diagnosis, we have been told over and over again to make life "as normal as possible,” for Kayla. This advice has come from doctors, family, friends, and even other parents of childhood cancer fighters. We have discovered that this is nearly impossible to do when you have other children to tend to as well as your sick child. Kayla has an older brother Shawn, 15, and a little sister Ava, who is almost 3.

For Kayla, we have tried to keep things “normal” by letting her continue with dance class, attend school and play like the other children, but there is a sense of "non-normalcy" for our two other children. Shawn and Ava are witness to Kayla’s spotlight, so to speak. Kayla’s story and photos have been posted on many websites, and she has been a part of a program called ChemoAngels, which sends cards, letters and gifts to the ill child. Every time Kayla gets a card, letter, gift, is honored, or has a function held in her name, I feel as though our other children may feel less important. I wish there was more support for the siblings of cancer patients, because they have to go through so much. Although they don't have to go to countless clinic visits, hospitalizations, or receive chemotherapy, they do have to witness these things and I think they get tired of being in the background.

We have tried to make sure that they know they are special and loved just as much as Kayla, and that her treatment is ending soon (October 2009). In reality though, Kayla will have to continue to be seen in the clinic monthly for blood tests, will have to go to the hospital for fevers and she will still be watched closer than a normal child. Instilling normalcy has been a very difficult task for our family.

Written by Susan Danzi, Kayla’s Mother

Five years ago, my husband and I were in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. As we were getting ready to go to the races, we saw a story about the horse “Afleet Alex” on the television. The news story told about the horse and also the story of Alex Scott and their connection. It went on to tell about Alex’s character, her battle with cancer and her desire to raise money for children with cancer. We were both amazed at what Alex had done with her lemonade stand and how she touched so many people. We knew that we needed to get involved with her cause.

After the weekend, we came back to our four young children and told them the story about Alex Scott. They wanted to get involved. We did a little research on the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation website and decided to hold our own lemonade stand. The kids made signs, passed out fliers in the neighborhood and invited all of their family and friends to stop by for some lemonade. It was a big success, they raised over $600. The next year, some of our family members wanted to get involved so they held stands in Illinois and Virginia as well as a few more stands locally. That night after the stands were finished, we had a celebration cookout with family and friends at our house. Each year, the number of stands and participation has grown.

This year, we are hosting our fifth annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand. At this time, we have twelve stands across Northeast Ohio and one in Georgia. There will be approximately 100 kids involved. Over the past four years, our family and friends have raised over $40,000 for pediatric cancer research.

Lemonade Stand weekend has become an event that we all look forward to each year. Not only is it a great fundraiser but it is also a time to share with friends and family. It is so amazing to see all of the kids getting involved. To us, it is about kids helping kids.

We never had the privilege of meeting Alex Scott but we were fortunate enough to meet her parents and the wonderful staff at ALSF. Through all of them, our family and friends have learned that we can make a difference in the lives of others.

-Maureen Huscroft

Visit the Huscroft's fundraising page!

In addition to funding research to find a cure for childhood cancer, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) also seeks ways to make a difference for families touched by the disease. We currently provide support in the form of treatment journals, transportation and lodging expenses, as well as an online educational center where parents, teens and kids can learn about the many aspects cancer.

Now, we are planning an event to bring live, up-to-date information to support the community. On Saturday, June 27th 2009, ALSF will be holding our first Childhood Cancer Symposium at the Marriott Courtyard in downtown Philadelphia. This free, one day event is designed to be an educational resource to help families of childhood cancer. It is being organized in response to the growing need of families to learn about the many issues related to diagnosis and treatment. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions, meet other families, and equip themselves with the necessary tools and knowledge to fight childhood cancer. Our program was designed to have something to offer to every family - those with children who are survivors, still undergoing treatment, or have passed away.

A glimpse of our Symposium’s program

Parents can:
  • Receive insight on how cancer affects every member of the family
  • Voice their fertility concerns and learn about their child’s options
  • Learn how to deal with their grief
  • Participate in simple mind-body exercises to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Gain knowledge about long term treatment complications and potential health risks for survivors
  • Participate in a support group
  • Learn about clinical trials
  • Learn ways to help their other children, including dealing with sibling jealousy
Parents, patients as well their siblings are welcome to attend. A separate itinerary will be provided for the children as well as a medic team in case of an emergency. Breakfast, lunch and an optional dinner are provided for all attendees.

ALSF Hero and Symposium Attendee, Brett Staino & his father.

Though we cannot take cancer away, we can fight it, we can support the families, we can bring them together and we can help empower them. This is what we aim to do on June 27th, 2009. Please visit our website for more details on how to benefit from this event:

For questions, please contact [email protected]