Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

Hosting a lemonade stand can be as easy as popping up a stand in your front yard or as extraordinary as creating a large community event!  This year, ALSF picked some “All-Star” Lemonade Days stand hosts that raised $2,000 last year —just like our founder Alex Scott did in 2000 at her first lemonade stand. Wondering how they did it? Keep reading!

Hosting a lemonade stand can be as easy as popping up a stand in your front yard or as extraordinary as creating a large community event!

This year, ALSF picked some “All-Star” Lemonade Days stand hosts that raised $2,000 last year—just like our founder Alex Scott did in 2000 at her first lemonade stand. Wondering how they did it? Keep reading!

1. Share the facts.

Stand host and hero mom, Tara Walters from Ellie Strong Lemonade Stand, suggests being prepared to educate lemonade drinkers about childhood cancer and the need for research. And don’t worry, because ALSF has you covered with some great information including an infographic for adults and a special infographic just for kids. 

2. Play the Long Game.

The Lightfoot Lemons, a group of co-workers from the Birmingham, Alabama law firm of Lightfoot, Franklin and White, maximize their fundraising power by treating their stand as a campaign to fundraise over time, as opposed to a one-day event! They share their online fundraising page in advance and after the event to increase donations. 

3. Never Underestimate the Power of Good Signage.

The amazing hosts of Jared’s Annual Lemonade Stand use neighborhood and community signage to draw in more traffic on the day of their event. Signage is available in the Lemonade Days stand kits and also on the ALSF website to download and print. You can also get creative and make your own signs! 

4. Step Up Your Offerings with Donations.

Stephen Loftis, Vice President of Marketing for Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, reaches out to food vendors for support. The vendors donate ingredients that allow Firebirds to increase their cash donation to help kids fight cancer!

5. Get Social.

Dash, who organizes the Village Garden Center Lemonade Stand, suggests not only using your personal social media pages to promote the lemonade stand, but also to post your event details in neighborhood groups to get the community excited. Need more social media tips, check out the ALSF social media tip sheet, here.

6. Make it a Tradition.

The friends and family of Kylie have held their stand at the same park year after year. And each year, the community expects them to be there and shows up to support their stand. 

7. Get to Know Alex!

The students at Stewart Manor School have gotten to know Alex’s story and the history of the Foundation. The school’s co-director, Nicole said: “By educating people about the cause and telling them about Alex, the students take great pride in what they’re doing and are motivated by compassion. As a result, they put their whole heart into fundraising.”

8. No Gift is Too Big or Too Small.

The students and teachers at Southwest Elementary use Alex’s wisdom that every penny counts! They remind supporters that no gift is too small or too large; because every penny adds up to a cure.

9. Take it offline.

The families behind Althea’s and Christopher’s Downtown West Chester Stand use their online fundraising page, but also make sure to interact directly with members of their community. Sharing stories and experiences, along with lemonade, is what really builds the interest (and support) of the community!

10. Be Your Own Publicist.

Hero mom and stand host Gretchen reaches out to her local newspapers with her story. Every time an article appears…and so do more online donations! 

11. Add a Bake Sale.

Who doesn’t love a cookie and a cup of lemonade?  At Annabelle and Daniel’s Annual Lemonade Stand, mom, Dina, does all the baking to help get more donations. To make it less overwhelming, Dina bakes in advance and freezes everything so she is ready to go on the big day!

12. Show Your Lemonade Spirit.

At Janney Montgomery Scott, showing their Lemonade spirit is the key their success. Their energetic and enthusiastic staff help give the stand amazing energy and they even have someone who dresses in a lemon costume!

13. Planning in Advance for Mega Impact.

Theresa Dudas, an Elsevier employee, says the key to their success is advance planning which allows plenty of time for employees to share the fundraising page!

14. Have Fun!

The best part of Lemonade Days is the fun you will have raising money to help researchers get closer to cures. At the Kids Helping Kids Fight Cancer Lemonade Stand, they have fun and draw in a crowd!   

Be a part of ALSF's efforts to fight childhood cancer during Lemonade Days, June 2-10, 2018. Lemonade Days is an annual event when thousands of supporters around the country host a lemonade stand or an event in their community to raise money for much-needed childhood cancer research.

Participation from individuals, families, businesses and childhood cancer hero families make this a special time to take a stand (a lemonade stand) against childhood cancer. Register here! 




Lemonade Days
This Nurses Week Jay Scott, Alex's dad, honors the hospice nurse they needed.

Alex Scott, with her brother Joey. 

Nurses play a critical role in the life of a family affected by childhood cancer. They are medical caregivers—overseeing medication schedules, post-surgery care and coordinating therapy appointments. They help manage pain and treatment side effects. They also provide emotional support to families—supporting parents, affected children and siblings when life is at its most uncertain. 

Hospice and palliative care nurses specialize in end of life care; navigating parents through uncertain and emotional territory. These nurses are the nurses so many families need, but don’t want. 

Jay Scott, Alex Scott’s dad and ALSF co-executive director, shares the story of one of Alex’s nurses, Nurse Gail, and her impact on the Scott family. 

During my daughter Alex’s treatment for neuroblastoma, we had so many wonderful experiences with nurses that helped her, as well as our family, cope throughout the treatments. In honor of National Nurses Week, I want to shed light on the critical care provided by hospice and palliative nurses.

Two days before Alex passed away, the cancer had taken over her body and she became non-responsive to almost everything. The team at the children’s hospital—where she could be found at least two days a week for check-ups and blood transfusions—suggested we meet with a hospice nurse the next day at our home. My wife Liz and I had little interest in meeting with this person, but we reluctantly made the appointment. In our minds, what could this nurse tell us? We had been the ones taking care of Alex during her 7 ½ year battle with cancer.

The next day, a Saturday, Gail came to our house. A huge package of medications had been delivered that morning. Together, we went over each of the medications one by one. Alex was dying and the medications were to help us manage various symptoms associated with a cancer death. This included things like the obvious pain medications, but also various patches and medications to help with nausea and dizziness. Once Gail was comfortable that we were up to speed she got ready to leave and asked what time she should come the next day. We told her that she didn’t need to come back. She told us she would see us the next morning. We assured her that she didn’t need to bother, we were all set.

It was a difficult Saturday night. Alex was sick to her stomach off and on. She was extremely restless as the three of us tried to get through the night. There were horrible thunderstorms that night. So bad in fact that water came in through the roof in Alex’s room—something that had never happened before. At one point Liz and I sat up startled during the storm because of loud thunder and extremely bright lightning. At that very moment, Alex sat up as well, looked at us and said, “What are you guys doing in my room?” That was the first coherent thing she said all day and the last thing she said to us with her eyes open. It was a very long night.

The next morning, we moved Alex downstairs to the couch, one of her favorite spots. Later, we heard a knock on the door. That darn hospice nurse was back! Gail first asked how Alex was doing. We told her that her breathing was labored and shallow all night.

At some point, Gail asked us to come into the kitchen. She was then brutally honest with us. Brutally honest, but in a loving and caring way. She said, “We all know that Alex is dying. You told me that you told her it was ok and that she would be ok.” She went on to give us a lecture, a lecture that we will never forget.

“When was the last time you ate anything?” she asked. “Alex can tell what is going on even if her eyes are closed. If she thinks that you guys cannot take care of yourselves, then she is not going to let go. You both need to go upstairs and take showers and change your clothes. Then come down and eat breakfast. Then, Alex will know that you will be okay without her.”

Liz and I did as she said. Of course, we did it one at a time because we needed one of us by Alex’s side. We whispered to her that we had eaten and taken showers (I am guessing she could tell we had showered because we smelled better). A calmness came over Alex and she let out a big sigh of relief. Shortly after that, she drifted off to her final sleep.

At the time the nurse was telling us what to do, we may have resented her a bit. But it didn’t take long for us to appreciate what Gail did for us and Alex. Our gratitude is endless for Nurse Gail for being so right and changing our lives.

Thank you to nurses everywhere for your dedication and the critical and valuable role you play in supporting families going through difficult times.





Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s Nurse Researcher Grants Program is designed to improve the quality of life for young cancer patients and their families. ALSF added the Nurse Researcher Grant program to an already successful and innovative pediatric research grant program in 2007. We recognize the importance of investing in research that enables nurses to find better ways to care for children undergoing cancer treatment. Meet some of our nurse researchers here.

Alex Scott


Guest post by Chelsea Keeler, LSW, leukemia & lymphoma social worker, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Learning that someone in your community now has a child with cancer can leave you feeling helpless or uncertain. You want to help but don’t know how. 

You can support the family in a number of ways—providing concrete resources such as food, helping with sibling needs or household tasks, and providing critical emotional support. Below, consider some dos and don’ts that have made a difference for other families in these shoes:

DO reach out to offer help now and often.

A new cancer diagnosis is overwhelming and scary, and no family should feel as if they’re going through it alone. Often there is an outpouring of love, support and offers of assistance in the very beginning and families might say they don’t need anything. However, this is a time when families cannot process or imagine what they’re going to need. 

So, keep reaching out. Someone new to this may not realize that they’re going to need someone to mow the lawn on day one, but by the third month of treatment, they start to realize that these household tasks are falling behind. 

One suggestion: set up a Google calendar (with the link, it can be accessible to anyone in your network!) and write various household tasks on relevant days: taking out the trash, doing laundry, watering flowers, mowing the lawn, walking the dog–and then organize your network into signing up for tasks throughout the months of treatment. 

DON’T automatically send a lasagna (or meals in general) without asking.

Yes, people need to eat. For the first number of days after a cancer diagnosis, however, there’s a strong possibility that no one is even home to eat this food you mindfully prepared. And throwing out rotten, homemade food adds emotional stress and time and energy in an already heavy situation. Freezers only have room for so many lasagnas. 

Food can be overwhelmingly helpful, though, once families are settled into the treatment routine and spending entire days at appointments or in therapy. Ask your loved one what days they need meals during the week–you can make a sign up online and people can pre-arrange to deliver food for those days. 

You can also consider arranging for online grocery delivery of staples and snacks, so the family always has something to grab in a pinch. 

DO offer to help with siblings–their lives have been turned upside down.

No childhood cancer parent feels like they’re being a 100-percent good parent to all of their kids. Treatment can be so demanding that siblings lose normalcy in almost every aspect of their lives. They’re not seeing their sick sibling or their parents as often and they worry that they may lose their sibling or their parents, they even worry that they may also become ill. 

Sibling care may be handled in the immediate aftermath of a diagnosis while parents are in the hospital, but sibling needs continue throughout the entire treatment journey. Offer to drive them to or from their hobbies, sports or activities, because that may be the only way they get to do them. If you’re taking your kids to the zoo for the afternoon, offer to bring a sibling along. Encourage your children to stay connected to their sibling friends or relatives. 

DO remember that this is a long journey, and sometimes there is no silver lining.

Cancer treatment is long, and it can be hard to find the right words to say to a loved one in such a difficult time. Sometimes there are no words that make it better and parents are simply looking for someone who will listen. 

For some, there is no silver lining and parents aren’t looking for a “fix” – they’re looking for open ears and a caring heart. Reaching out to say the truth (“this is so difficult and unfair”) can be so much more helpful than saying impersonal motivational phrases (“but this will make you stronger!” or “this happened for a reason”). Sometimes, parents want to talk about what is going on with their child in their treatment, and sometimes they’d rather talk about literally anything else. Ask them what they need. Ask them how you can help. Ask if you can come over with coffee to give them a break. And most importantly, keep asking.  

Chelsea Keeler is an oncology social worker in Philadelphia, PA. She completed her Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and has been working with children with blood cancers for three years. When she is not meeting families at the hospital, you’ll find her at the beach or taking her Siberian Husky, Tala, for hikes along the Wissahickon.

Guest Blogger