You are here

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

Childhood cancer survivor Jordan Vincent battles diffuse neural glial tumors

There have been several times during her battle with childhood cancer, that Jordan Vincent has not been able to walk. It has never stopped her from going the distance for a cure. Jordan, who is now 18, has been slaying diffuse neural glial tumors since she was 4-years-old. Each year during Alex’s Million Mile, Jordan has found a way to log miles, even if it is just one mile in her wheelchair—or several laps walked with her family. This year, Jordan rode for the entire 45 minutes during her annual SoulCycle fundraiser and raised over $20,000 for childhood cancer research—just weeks after being in a wheelchair. 

Jordan is pictured, above, with her SoulCycle instructor Laura Crago.

“Jordan rarely looks back. She doesn’t look back to make future decisions. She has never shied away from the battles she has had to fight,” says Larry Vincent, Jordan’s dad. 
Read more about Jordan here.

Alex's Million Mile

Alex’s Million Mile is held every September to raise awareness about childhood cancer and to raise critical funds for childhood cancer research. There are thousands of participants—all around the world—and among the most dedicated are our childhood cancer hero families. Shannon and Jake Leonard, parents to Caleb, Xavier and Asher, log their miles in Kellyville, Australia, a Sydney suburb--a place that feels a million miles away from their hometown in Kansas. 

Their youngest son, Asher, was diagnosed with ependymoma, a tumor of the brain and spine, in October 2011 when he was just 2 years old. Asher passed away, at the age of 4 1/2 in July 2013. 

That year was also the start of Alex’s Million Mile and what would become the start of a family tradition for the Leonards and a new way forward in the fight against childhood cancer. Here is Shannon’s Alex’s Million Mile story:

The inaugural year for Alex’s Million Mile, September 2013, was just two months after Asher died. We were all reeling. The kids were back to school. Jake was back to work. I was left in the house, alone, with what felt like no purpose. I left my job the day Asher was diagnosed in October 2011, and had spent every day since taking care of him, researching treatments and doing everything in my power to give him happy, meaningful days. 

Participating in Alex's Million Mile that first year gave me a sense of purpose. I got up every day, put on my gym clothes and running shoes and hit the pavement. With every step I thought about Asher. I thought about all the years he'd miss living on this earth; all the steps he'd never run or walk; and all the firsts he'd miss. I pushed myself every day to run a little further, a little faster, because Asher couldn't.  

Our family joins Alex’s Million Mile each year for the same reasons, but I can say that every step I run and walk, doesn't carry the same weight it did 3 years ago. I smile and even laugh when I run; thinking about Asher and all the wonderfully funny, amazing and compassionate things he did. In his 4 1/2 years , Asher taught us how to live in the face of adversity. He never complained. He never asked why he had to go through such hell. He was a happy little boy, who loved knock-knock jokes, cooking, Star Wars, playing outside and his big bothers. He was always concerned about others and even on the hardest, darkest days, he was always asking how everyone else was doing, making sure we were all ok. 

Our family will always continue to do what we can—whether that be bringing awareness, seeking donations or gathering support—to  ensure that someday, no family has to watch their child and sibling suffer at the hands of cancer. We know that our hearts and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s mission align. We will continue to support all of their efforts to further research and support families.

We moved to Australia in July 2016. To have this amazing experience of living in another country, experiencing a whole new part of the world and giving our boys the opportunity of a lifetime, was an easy decision. Our boys have such a deep appreciation for life, having lived through the death of their brother. In discussing the move with the boys, it was Caleb who looked at us one day and said "Mom, this is an easy decision. We've had to make the hardest, most awful decisions with Asher, and THIS is not a hard decision.”

The majority of our team members are from Kansas and Ohio, our "homes." Asher's Stormtroopers began within weeks of Asher's diagnosis, as my sisters wanted to make t-shirts to support Asher and our family. Our boys suggested the color yellow, like Asher's blanket, that was always in his hand, a pale yellow color, was named "yellow." Asher loved everything Star Wars, due to his brothers’ love of Star Wars, and the name and design was born. We've stuck with the shirts and team name, as we carry on in honor and memory of Asher.

You can read more about Asher’s story and Asher’s Stormtroopers here. 

guest post by Rob Schuster, ALSF staff accountant

Rob Schuster, our revenue staff accountant, keeps track of donations for the Foundation. His numbers job is one we could not manage without. With every donation he logs, Rob gets us one step closer to cures for childhood cancer. Today, Rob shares how he is adding up the miles and the hope for Alex's Million Mile. 

As an accountant, I can attest to the fact that we aren’t really known for our physical fitness. Accountants like me sit at our desks all day and work with numbers. So how are people like me supposed to contribute to Alex’s Million Mile, an event that is focused on running, walking, and biking? 

Well, we can start by looking at the numbers.

I set a personal goal for myself to walk and run 100 miles by the end of September. Does that seem like a lot? Because it does to me. 

However, if you divide that 100 miles by 30 days, then I only have to walk or run about 3.33 miles each day to reach my goal by September 30th. That seems much more manageable. Just by following my normal routine throughout the day, I can log about 1.5 miles, which means I need to walk an extra 2 miles each day. This is something I can accomplish by taking about 30 minutes to walk at night.

So if you’re having trouble reaching your own goal for the month, figure out how many miles each day you’ll need to walk, run, or ride and try to hit that goal each day. By breaking it down into daily objectives, the monthly goal will become much less intimidating. It’s definitely helped me stay on track to reach 100 miles. And remember that every mile you travel brings us closer to the collective goal of one million miles in September.

Running, walking, or riding one million miles in a single month… it’s a daunting goal. Yet all you have to do is consider the life of the Foundation’s founder, Alex Scott, to see how it can be accomplished.

While Alex was still fighting her battle with neuroblastoma, she set a goal to raise $1 million in order to help children with cancer. This goal might have seemed unattainable to many. How could one child raise $1 million on her own? She couldn’t. Not on her own, at least. In addition to her family, Alex had support from people across the country. These people were inspired by Alex’s courage, determination, and selflessness. Like Alex, these people wanted to achieve the mission of ending childhood cancer, so they began holding lemonade stands to raise funds for childhood cancer research. By the summer of 2004, before she passed away at the age of eight, Alex reached her goal of raising $1 million dollars for childhood cancer research.

Alex’s Million Mile, much like the Foundation itself, is a continuation of Alex’s accomplishments. The month-long event is focused on bringing people together to work towards a common goal. It would be impossible for an individual to run, walk, or bike one million miles in a single month. But when thousands of people participate, the goal becomes achievable. And by collectively logging one million miles, we can increase awareness and raise funds for critical childhood cancer research.

How far are you willing to run, walk, or ride to help raise awareness of childhood cancer? If you haven’t already, ask your friends to register for Alex’s Million Mile and invite them to join a team. We’re more than halfway through the month, so it’s time to get moving!  

Raise $1 million for childhood cancer research during Alex's Million Mile and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in December

When Alex was just  4-years-old, she announced she wanted to raise $1 million for childhood cancer research. It sounded impossible—but Alex proved that anything is possible if we work together! This September during Childhood Cancer Awareness month and Alex’s Million Mile (AMM), we are going a million miles and raising $1 million for childhood cancer research. Here’s how you can help:

1. Promote your AMM team on social media.

Encourage your friends, family and social media followers to donate to your team. Those who are unable to join a team can still donate and help you reach your goal.                         

Value: 100 followers at $10 each = $1,000

2. Host a lemonade stand at the end of your run.

Do you run with a group? Plan to end a run with a lemonade stand and ask everyone to donate $1 for every mile they complete. (Bonus: you get to rehydrate with fresh lemonade!)  

Value: $1 per person per mile completed

3. Check for a company donation match.
Many companies match employee donations to charity. Inquire whether your company will agree to match your donations for Alex’s Million Mile! 

Value: $100 donation + a company match= $200

4. Ask for friends to sponsor each mile you go. 

Tell your friends your mileage goal for AMM and ask them to sponsor you for every mile you complete.

Value: $1 per mile you log x 50 miles in September = $50

5. Dress up your competition. 

Think outside the typical sports gear and have your team walk, run, jog or cycle in crazy costumes. Ask your team, friends, family or followers to vote on their favorite costume. The votes will be taken in the form of any monetary value. To vote twice, the voter will match their first vote and so on.

Value: 1 vote= $1, 2 votes= $2, etc. 

How will you help us Journey to a Million? Share your Alex’s Million Mile tips with us and sign up your team today!

Alex's Million Mile

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) works every day to raise awareness and shed a light on all childhood cancers--and you can, too!  Here are 10 fast facts you need to know:


1. Childhood cancer happens every month, everywhere. Every day, there are almost 700 new cases of childhood cancer around the world—adding up to over 250,000 new cases of cancer in children under the age of 20. 

2. Childhood cancer is not one disease; it is dozens of diseases. Childhood cancers, like adult cancers, are varied and include blood cancers (like leukemia), brain and spinal tumors, other solid cell tumors (like neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma) and many variations of each disease. Research is needed for each type of childhood cancer. 

3. Childhood cancer kills. Long term survival rates continue to increase, but not fast enough to save the lives of the 250 children killed each day due to cancer and its complications. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States.

4. Childhood cancer leaves survivors with long-term side effects. Toxic treatments and surgeries can leave childhood cancer survivors with an array of side effects—suppressed immune systems, chronic health conditions, hearing and visual impairments, muscle weakness and learning issues. Research into safer, more effective treatments will lead to fewer side effects for childhood cancer survivors. 

5. Childhood cancer research is severely underfunded. Less than 5 percent of the federal government’s total funding for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancers each year—without funding, research will not happen. And without research, cures won’t happen either. 

6. However, ALSF is working to change that through innovative research. ALSF uses money raised to fund innovative and targeted research to find new cures for childhood cancer. ALSF also funds nursing grants to improve the quality of care for children battling cancer and has a Travel for Care fund to alleviate financial burdens and ensure everyone can access treatment.

7. Data, collaboration and innovation will lead us to a cure. ALSF not only funds cutting-edge research—we drive collaboration amongst scientists through our annual Young Investigators Summit. We are also launching the first ever bioinformatics labs that will analyze and decipher childhood cancer data being generated in research facilities across the country to accelerate research. 

8. Childhood cancer research works. Just ask Zach and Edie. Innovative childhood cancer research works and breakthroughs are happening. Zach, who is now 11 years old, survived relapsed anapestic large cell lymphoma because of breakthrough treatment funded by ALSF. 

9. Awareness is critical.  More awareness about childhood cancer—both its impact and the need for research—is critical. Awareness spurs action and action leads to research and ultimately a cure. You can share the childhood cancer gold ribbon on your social media pages to help raise awareness. 

10. You can make a difference.  Donate, host a lemonade stand, participate in Alex's Million Mile and share these childhood cancer facts with your network. Everyone can make a difference in the fight against childhood cancer, one cup at a time. 



Alex's Million Mile
Share this gold ribbon for childhood cancer awareness month in September

Childhood cancer spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class or geographical region. It takes the lives of approximately 250 kids around the world, every day. Help us spread awareness this September, during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, by sharing this image and joining us in the fight against childhood cancer.

About Monthly Shareables:
You can help Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation raise awareness of the need for childhood cancer research and cures for all children! Each month, we will share a new "shareable," an image for you to share with your social media network. Every time we start a conversation about childhood cancer, we bring ourselves closer to cures.

How To Share:
Sharing is easy! Links to the shareable on Facebook and Twitter are on the tabs below. Simply click on each tab and share, like and favorite! Thank you for helping ALSF fund innovative, cutting-edge childhood cancer research. 

Social embeds


Kaela Cruz, osteoscarcoma survivor and Alex's Lemonade Stand Hero Ambassadorby Kaela Cruz

ALSF Hero Ambassador Kaela Cruz lost her leg to osteosarcoma, the most common type of childhood bone cancer, when she was just 5 years old. Read more about her story, in her own words. 

My name is Kaela Cruz. I am 14 years old and I'm a junior paralympic athlete. When I was 5 years old, I suffered from osteosarcoma, which is a form of bone cancer. I lost left leg because of it. The past was very horrifying and it kind of stinks to look back. However, now, I've  learned be grateful, think positive, love myself for who I am and to be proud of my many accomplishments. I am so excited to tell you: 

I fought with all my heart and beat cancer! I have been cancer free for 9 years and I have done so much and could not be happier.

The things I love and enjoy doing is playing the ukulele on my spare time and hanging out with friends and family. I do track and field on Fridays and swim 4 times a week. I'm on the 

Navigators Adaptive Sports team and we train for upcoming competitions in our area or travel around the country. I am also involved with the Challenged Athletes Foundation and they helped me stay active and granted me a running prosthetic to help me run. Just recently, I went to Wisconsin with my team for the Adaptive Sports USA Junior Nationals Competition. Our team netted 146 medals (105 Gold, 27 Silver and 14 Bronze). We set several new national records; and once again we placed first in the Large Team category. I recieved 8 gold metals from nationals. It was awesome!

I got involved with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation when our family met Alex's parents, Liz |and Jay, at the Childhood Cancer Symposium in Philadelphia several years ago. Since then we've been part of so many different events, including Alex's Million Mile. 

Alex's Million Mile really means so much to me. It gives me an opportunity where I can be active, hang out with my friends and family and get other people involved.
I have been able to tell my story and inspire kids and adults to make a difference to help end pediatric cancer. If I can do this, so can you! No excuses, get out there, grab your family, neighbors and friends and Run, Walk and Ride. Log in those miles, make a donation and make a difference! Have Fun Everyone!

Learn more about Alex's Million Mile and join our journey to a million today! 

Alex's Million Mile


It's back to school time! The school year is a great time to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. We have lots of amazing programs that your classroom (and school!) can participate in to raise funds for childhood cancer research. Not only will your kids help other kids, but they will learn some valuable life lessons

Here are five great ways to get involved and help find a cure for childhood cancer!

1. Join the Great Lemonade War
Get ready to compete with other schools! Inspired by the book The Lemonade War by Jaclyn Davies, schools across the country compete to see who can raise the most money through a lemonade stand project or other event. Schools who compete receive a copy of the book, lesson plans and resources on math, business and finance. Your students can learn about profit and loss, marketing and advertising. 

2. Run. Walk. Ride. for Alex’s Million Mile
Get your student body moving during Alex’s Million Mile—our annual campaign to collectively go one million miles for childhood cancer research. Each September, teams log the miles that they run, walk and/or bike in honor of the children battling cancer. Your school can create a team and log miles as part of their physical education program. Set fitness goals, host fundraising events and get your teachers involved by competing to see who can go the most miles! 

3. Help Make a Change with your Change! 
Sign up for our Change Childhood Cancer program! Just by collecting spare change, students can help other children battling cancer. It is a great lesson in saving, philanthropy and working together. Pennies add up to quarters which add up to dollars which can fund more research! Schools that participate receive adorable coin collection boxes that look like little lemonade stands. 

4. Add Some Lemonade To Your Math Lessons 
Lemonade stand math is a fun, creative way to reinforce word problem skills, measurement, operations and logic. ALSF has brand new math lesson plans appropriate for grades K-5. 

5. Share Alex’s Amazing Lemonade Stand Story
The story of ALSF starts with our founder Alex Scott—a girl just like your students! The book, Alex’s Amazing Lemonade Stand is a great read for classroom story time! Schools can request a complimentary copy and download discussion materials from our website.

ALSF has even more tools in our Lessons and Downloads section of the website, including coloring pages! Ready to get your school involved in ALSF? Email our Community Engagement Specialists, Ellie Paparone (Pre-K-8) or Gayla Carr (High School and Universities).

Have a great school year!


In addition to the medical research ALSF funds, ALSF also supports and funds research projects investigating quality of life issues. High quality care is a powerful tool against childhood cancer. The Quality of Life and Care grants empower those best positioned to make effective discoveries: the caregivers themselves. In our Nursing Grant awards, our grantees include nurse practitioners who are leading the field in pediatric oncology nursing practice, as well as those who will become future leaders. In our Psychosocial Grants, recipients are researchers and practitioners investigating novel approaches to understanding the psychosocial aspects of pediatric cancer that will impact clinical care. Here is one research project happening now conducted by nurse researcher - Dr. Nancy Moules together wtih co-investigators Dr. Andrew Estefan, Dr. Catherine Laing, Dr. Fiona Schulte, Dr. Greg Guilcher and Dr. Doug Strother.

Dr. Nancy Moules, professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary and Kids Cancer Care Foundation Chair in Child and Family Cancer Care, is studying the effects cancer and cancer treatments have on the relational development, sexuality and body image of adolescents. 

Together with her research partner, Dr. Andrew Estefan, Dr. Moules combined two research techniques, hermeneutics and narrative inquiry, to delve deep into the psychosocial effects of a cancer diagnosis. 

Hermeneutics is a methodology of interpretation—participants are interviewed and their interviews are interpreted for what we can learn from their experience. In the narrative inquiry methodology, Dr. Estefan worked with subjects to write their personal narratives—the story of their experience.

One research subject shared his digital story in another study conducted by co-investigator Dr. Catherine Laing about battling cancer and body image, which you can see in the above video. 

Dr. Moules interviewed 10 adolescents, all in various stages of childhood cancer treatment, beginning in January 2014. Dr. Estefan followed with in-depth interviews and narrative development with two of the subjects. 

"We are delighted that ALSF recognized the value and the importance of this kind of study. Using qualitative research helps us to understand the experience of childhood cancer through the eyes of those living it," said Dr. Moules

Adolescence is a time when teenagers are dating, forming relationships and moving psychologically away from their parents. When a cancer diagnosis happens, all of this typical development is still happening, but with cancer as a shadow. 

As Dr. Moules continues to compile and study her over 800 pages of research, she hopes that this research can result in resources for both adolescent patients as well as their nurses and other caregivers.  

ALSF has funded 650 childhood cancer research grants since 2006. Read more about our innovative grants program here.


by Liz Scott, Alex's Mom

It is hard to believe that it has been 12 years since our beautiful daughter Alex left us – August 1, 2004. It is even harder to believe that my little girl would be 20 years old.

Sometimes, I try to imagine her as a young woman; I try to conjure up an image of what she might look like and more importantly, what she would be like. It is hard to admit this, but no matter what I do, for several years now, I can’t bring myself to picture her as anything but an 8 year old. Maybe it is because it is just too hard to “go there." Imagining her as a 20 year old requires me to construct all of the years between 8 and 20 that would have played a part in shaping who she was, and that leads me to contemplate all she missed. My thoughts at those times are filled with so much bitterness and anger for all that cancer put her through and everything it stole from her.  

But invariably, it is at those moments when I get some inspiration from someone--sometimes it may be a message from a parent of a child with cancer that talks about the hope they feel because of all that has been accomplished through Alex’s legacy, or it may be a letter from a child who held a lemonade stand and is so proud to donate their money to “help kids like Alex”, or a researcher who says how vital the funding has been in advancing cures for their patients. These moments are so powerful that I have come to realize that I shouldn’t dwell on the “what ifs” of the life Alex did not have but instead focus on the extraordinary life she did have.  

Alex's 8 short years were packed with a lot of love and living. To most, Alex’s long battle with cancer and her amazing lemonade stands are what are most remembered about her life, but as a mom, I am lucky because I can add many more facets to her story. In fact, my most vivid memories don’t involve cancer or (dare I say!) even lemonade. It is the moments that came and went without much thought at the time that fill my heart. These are just plain, everyday moments that come to mind. Moments like Alex and her brother Eddie dancing like no one was watching to their favorite song, or Alex giggling every time her baby brother Joey yelled “mine!” even when there was no object in sight that belonged to him, or overhearing her chatting in the next room with her older brother Patrick about nothing in particular. These are the moments that made up her life and that made it great. When I think of the 8 ½ years we were blessed to share with her, there are endless reasons to smile and be grateful -- her joyful spirit, her feisty attitude, her incredible fortitude, her quick wit and of course, her determination to make sure other kids with cancer would have the chance to be cured that she did not.

So today, as I count 12 years since I last made memories with my girl, I will not allow myself to wonder what could have been but instead cherish her as she was, as an extraordinary person but also as my daughter—forever 8 years old. And I will cry a little, smile a little, and be grateful for it all.