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Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, with the help of founding sponsor Volvo and with support from Summit Entertainment, is giving one lucky Twilight fan, and 49 of their closest friends, the opportunity to see New Moon before it hits theaters. Starting today, Friday, November 13, 2009, Twilight fans will have the opportunity to enter a fundraising challenge at AlexsLemonade.org to win a pre-screening of the new Twilight movie for 50 people. The challenge will end at noon Eastern Time on Monday, November 16, 2009, at which time the individual who has raised the most funds for the childhood cancer charity will be awarded a private screening of the movie for Thursday, November 19, one day before it is slated to hit theaters. The screening will take place at an available theater in the United States and within the geographic region of the winner.

In order to enter the fundraising challenge, Twilight fans will need to follow three easy steps:
  1. Create a fundraising page on AlexsLemonade.org
  2. Tell all of their friends
  3. Raise funds for the battle against childhood cancer! The challenge will end at noon Eastern Time on Monday, November 16, 2009.
Only funds raised throughout this specified time period will count and only United States residents are eligible to win the prize. No funds raised offline will be eligible. Visit www.AlexsLemonade.org/Twilight to view challenge details!
As you probably know by now, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for all childhood cancers. While on the surface, this statement seems to allude to medical research (which of course is true and vitally important), there is so much more that goes into the everyday lives of children and their families fighting the disease. In 2007, in an ongoing effort to improve the lives and care of kids with cancer, we introduced a Nurse Researcher Grant Program.

These grants are given to nurses to help them find better ways to care for children undergoing cancer treatment. If you have ever been in the hospital for even an hour, you probably know that the person you see the most is your nurse. Nurses have a unique view into what patients go through, and in the case of childhood cancer patients, this is no different. Nurses have an understanding of what simple changes can make a huge difference in recovery times, and overall comfort levels.

Here’s what I mean:

During the first year of this program, one of our grant recipients had the idea that cancer patients’ recovery times could be quicker if their sleep was uninterrupted. We all know that sleep can be your body’s best defense, but when a patient is staying in the hospital they are often woken up in the middle of the night. If they were allowed to sleep uninterrupted throughout the night, without their trash being emptied, or being disturbed for medicine and procedures that could wait until morning, would they have a better recovery time?

Another grant recipient looked into the impact of a teen weekend on the quality of life of adolescents with cancer. These kids had certainly seen other kids with cancer, but they were likely in hospitals or a setting that wasn’t conducive to sharing life experiences. What if they were taken out of that element and allowed to just be? She found out that while they didn’t spend large amounts of time discussing their diagnosis, they did share information and experiences that helped them to better process their own cancer. This study helps to better understand the overall needs of this population, and the subtle ways that we can make their lives better.

2009 Teen Weekend

Having gone through this battle ourselves with Alex, we of course want to see her dream of a cure for all childhood cancer, but we also want to simply make the lives of cancer fighters better in any way that we possibly can. Nursing grants help us to garner tangible results, and results that can make a difference in the lives of these patients now, while the medical researchers are out there doing their job as well. Check out our website for some more information on our Nurse Researcher Grant programs and of course to read about the most recent recipients!

- Liz Scott, Alex's Mother
As we approach the fall, and we look back at our recent activities, including our children’s first day of school, it is hard not to think about how very different the lives of children with cancer and their families are. Whether it is nursery school, kindergarten or even senior year of high school, we send our children off to prepare for the future dreams that await them every September. But what if they didn’t have the chance to partake in such a normal activity? For over 12,000 families whose children are diagnosed with cancer every year in this country, this isn’t merely a question - it is a harsh reality.

Why is this more relevant now than ever? Because this is such an important time in our country for families fighting childhood cancer, as well as all families who may someday face an illness they hadn’t anticipated. September was National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and it also represented an important time in the future health care of the country. President Obama had originally set a September deadline for producing a bill on health care reform, which when it comes to fruition, will surely affect the way we fight childhood cancer.

If you have watched the news lately, you know that President Obama is busy spending his days talking about the future health care of the United States. As he makes speeches at different venues in different cities around the US, he often pulls at the heart strings of his audience by using examples of families whose children have been affected by an illness. These stories often end in the family facing bankruptcy, or battling with their insurance companies for the medicines and treatments that their children need. These are in his own words, “the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them.”

We could easily be one of these voices – our late daughter, Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004), founder of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, was diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer before her first birthday. As young parents, we would quickly begin to collect credit card debt, opting to provide our daughter with the medications and treatments that might save her life, whether the insurance company was willing to pay for them or not. We saw first hand the challenges of our health care system, but we also saw how when done right, hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies can work together to improve lives. We saw doctors provide the best quality of care for children without regard to cost; we received a personal phone call from a case manager at our insurance company to inform of us that they would in fact pay a large claim; even the pharmacist at the hospital worked with the insurance company to make sure we could obtain a new drug for Alex that was not covered under our plan.

Through our daughter’s seven year battle with cancer, we witnessed families struggling with high out of pocket costs, low wages and being denied potentially life saving treatments due to lack of insurance. We also saw the polar opposite when insurance companies or state-funded programs paid for life saving treatments for children without hesitation. The bottom line was and still remains, that while we might not have all the answers, the United States has all the components to improve upon an already outstanding health care system. No one should be denied health care because of their inability to pay for it, but fixing this problem requires all parties to come together – including doctors, health care professionals, hospitals, insurance companies, and most importantly, the people that the health care system is supposed to serve.

Thankfully, childhood cancer is becoming a survivable disease, though there is still so much work to be done to find better treatments and cures. Nearly 80% of children diagnosed with cancer will survive, but the medical costs that families endure throughout their battle and follow-up will continue to linger. Additionally, children often face lifelong complications and the development of chronic health problems due to their disease and subsequent treatment. The best quality of health care is imperative to children fighting this disease, and to all other children and families who face long term illnesses. It is time for this country to come to an agreement to protect ourselves and especially our children from suffering the long term financial effects of a serious illness.

As we move out of September, with the battle against childhood cancer fresh in our minds, let’s also recognize how important health care reform is. If we could stop the partisanship and finger pointing that only emphasizes our differences, and serves only to divide us, we would get to the core of this issue - that everyone deserves to have access to good medical care. The process will no doubt be a learning process, but one that is imperative to start now.

Liz and Jay Scott,
parents of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer founder Alexandra “Alex” Scott.
If you have been visiting our website lately, you know that it has been a busy end of summer/beginning of fall for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. This past weekend was no exception, as both myself and Alex’s dad were busy attending events in three different states. Though the events couldn’t have been more different – they all had a common theme – amazing things are possible when a community comes together.

Above: Riley, Lauren and Jeremey celebrate a successful day of raising awareness for childrens cancer.
Photo Credit: netequityloans.com

I saw evidence of this theme right off the bat when I attended the event of a young stand host on Saturday. The stand host, Riley Gillespie, may only be 12-years-old, but he has accomplished amazing things in his quest to help make life better for kids touched by cancer. Four of those kids are friends of Riley’s. Riley decided to get involved with ALSF after his very best friend was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. When that friend, Jeremey, reached his last chemotherapy treatment, Riley decided to hold a lemonade stand to celebrate. Since that time, three more of Riley’s friends have been touched by childhood cancer, and sadly two of them passed away earlier this year. If anything, this only made Riley’s dedication to the cause stronger, and he proved that this weekend. Riley hosted a lemonade stand, walk-a-thon and car show, organizing every last detail, and his hard work paid off when he was able raise more than $17,000 for the Foundation! What an amazing kid, and what an amazing community surrounding him and supporting him this weekend.

After being immensely inspired by a young child following in Alex’s footsteps, I was off to another special event, this one in my hometown of Windsor, Connecticut. As some of you may know, both Jay and I grew up in Windsor, and the town has acted as one of our largest support groups. The residents continue to hold events for the foundation and make sure everyone who passes through knows the story of Alex. For this particular event, more than 500 people came out to participate in a 3.5 mile race/walk known as the Tavern Trot. After the run itself, the community continued the celebration together, and when all was said and done had raised over $12,000!

Finally, though I wasn’t there, I heard a lot about a special event in upstate New York on Sunday. Actor Peter Facinelli, who is currently appearing in the Twilight movies, held an autograph signing with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Foundation. Along with his autographs, The Galleria at Crystal Run also allowed us to set up a lemonade stand to raise funds and quench the thirst of the fans in attendance. Speaking of the fans, hundreds, if not thousands showed up for the day. Scheduled to go from 12-5PM, there was still a line at 6PM when the mall was set to close. Luckily, the final fans were allowed to stay for their photos and Peter happily obliged. It was a wonderful day, which raised over $7,000 for ALSF.

Above: Actor Peter Facinelli (Back) with some ALSF staff and supporters.

In total, these three events raised over $30,000 for the Foundation in one weekend! While my husband and I, along with two of our sons, spent several hours in the car this weekend traveling to and attending events, it is nothing compared to what others have done to show their support. We hear a lot in the news these days about how the country is changing, but weekends like this one remind us that no matter what the economic state is, or what personal challenges people face, that the spirit of community remains. Whether that community is a group of Twilight fans coming together to meet one of the actors and in the process supporting a good cause; hundreds of people coming together in our hometown of Windsor to show their support; or a 12-year-old boy who brings an entire community together in honor of his four friends who just happen to be childhood cancer heroes, they all prove that the spirit of this country is very much alive.

We are so very thankful to have the privilege and honor of calling all of these communities supporters of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. They are proving that when we all come together, anything is possible. Alex knew that, and through events like these, we know it too.

Thank you!

- Liz Scott
Lawrence, KS Hy-Vee Lemonade Stand from June 2009

With September and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month upon us, I am getting out to as many events and speaking engagements as possible to raise the profile of childhood cancer. These events often bring memories of Alex to the surface, allowing me to reflect on the time that has passed, and what I have learned about childhood cancer, and especially life over the passed 10 years. I wanted to share a recent experience with you, a trip to Kansas City, worth reflecting upon.

I went to Kansas City, which is the home to many of ALSF’s greatest supporters, to attend an event entitled Heroes and Halos. The event was held on National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day, Saturday, September 12, on the farm of Ken Waldock. Ken, who had come upon a lemonade stand held by one of our volunteers, decided to hold a day of celebration for families of children who have or had cancer. It was a day of fun, entertainment and amazing food that brought together over 300 people in the area who have been affected by the disease.

As always, I was honored to represent the foundation, but this event represented a special situation for me. As you know, I am Alex’s mom, and I have experienced what children with cancer go through firsthand. I have seen the sadness, worry and heartache that accompany us on the journey. It is a journey that is all too familiar to the attendees at the Heroes and Halos event. What this event reminded me of however, is something far removed from that anguish – it’s that for every tear there are many more smiles, for every worry there are many more carefree days, and for each moment that our hearts ache, there are even more moments when it soars. It is sometimes hard to imagine that anything positive can come out of something as awful as childhood cancer. I know that I didn’t believe it when thirteen years ago my daughter Alex spent her first birthday in the ICU instead of at home eating her first slice of birthday cake. In fact, I probably would have had some choice words for anyone who tried to tell me that anything good could come out of my baby’s suffering. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to learn this through my daughter, Alex showed me through the way she lived the next 7 years of her life and the legacy of hope she left behind.

The Heroes and Halos event too taught me that even in the seemingly worst of situations, there are reasons to smile. Like so many of the children present at the event, Alex taught me about helping others and overcoming challenges. She taught me about believing in dreams, even if they seem impossible. She lived life to the fullest each day and made the best of any situation. Living with childhood cancer taught me that life is what you make of it, and that for all the bad in life, it is far better to focus on the good.

The truth of the matter is, there are tens of thousands of children who are battling cancer or have battled cancer with the same determination, grace, and courage that Alex did. I had the immense pleasure of meeting many of them, and their families last weekend. Alex was the spark that started this lemonade movement to find a cure, but these children are the inspiration to continue in her memory. Thank you to everyone in Kansas City for allowing me to not only remember how important the battle against childhood cancer is, but how important it is to appreciate every day too.

- Liz Scott, Alex's Mother
Did you know that September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. While many people are aware of other important months in the calendar year, September flies largely under the radar. However, as the parent of a child who fought this deadly disease, I am not necessarily concerned about raising awareness during this month, but rather with raising awareness all year round.

As you may know, the case for finding a cure for childhood cancer is a compelling one, and one that is easy to sell when you are equipped with the facts. Here’s a good one - childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children under the age of 15 in the United States. It is the second overall killer only behind accidents. If that fact isn’t staggering enough, then how about this one, over 12,000 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer this year alone.

It is hard to think about children with cancer, I know this all too well. When you look into the bright and playful eyes of a youngster, you cannot fathom that a sinister invader could be inside their tiny bodies. But it happens, and it happens more often than any of us would like to face. It happened to me, my daughter Alexandra “Alex” Scott was diagnosed with childhood cancer prior to her very first birthday and went on to fight it for the rest of her life.

Since that time, I have seen hundreds, if not thousands of other children struggling through the same fight – the fight to save their lives. Like Alex, these children will face chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation treatments, and in the end, the cancer itself may be smarter than all these treatments put together. However, here is a statistic that sounds better – nearly 80% of children will survive their battle with childhood cancer. What this statistic doesn’t tell you is that long term, if not life long, side effects will follow.

If this doesn’t seem fair, that is because it isn’t. All cancer is horrible, and no one should have to face it, but there is absolutely no greater reason to help find a cure for childhood cancer than that these are children we are talking about. They are meant to live long lives, lives that they deserve. Sure there will be obstacles to overcome, as there is in any life, but cancer shouldn’t be one of them.

Let’s use September to raise the profile of childhood cancer awareness, but let’s also do this year-round. If you have the chance, volunteer at a Ronald McDonald House, or find another way to interact with children who have cancer. They will teach you a lot about life, their spirits and positive attitudes will change the way you look at the world. Let’s change their world too, by taking a stand against childhood cancer, and coming together to find a cure.

- Jay Scott, Alex's Father
2009 Tournament Champions, Team Berlin Police & Fire

On Sunday, August 23, 2009, we held our 7th Annual softball tournament benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in memory of my mother, Theresa Gigliotti. My mom was the most giving and loving person I have ever known. She would take people in or give the shirt off her back to someone in need. She always put others before herself. On March 2, 2003 the world I knew was taken from me.

My mom passed away from lung cancer which had metastasized to her brain and liver. For a year and a half she lived life to the fullest despite her diagnosis. I tried to give her whatever she wanted. Unfortunately I couldn’t give her the healthy life she needed to be here today. We decided to host a softball benefit in her honor in 2003 shortly after she passed away. At the time, the only foundation I really knew for cancer was Susan G. Komen. Then one day I saw a little girl on Oprah named Alex Scott. I called my wife and told her I found the foundation in which we would be holding the tournament in honor of the very next year.

My mom loved kids and what better way to keep her spirit alive then by helping a cause which benefits the lives of children. This young girl touched my soul! She reminded me of my mom but at a different age. She had the short hair, fragile limbs and a heart of gold! So in August 2004 we held our 2nd softball benefit in Glenolden, Pennsylvania, with all proceeds going to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Sadly, right before our benefit, Alex passed away. Since that time, we have become friends with Liz and Jay Scott, as well as their three boys - we consider them part of our family. I tell them all the time, now I have two angels watching over me, one is my mom and one is Alex. We have seen the foundation grow so much over the years, it is amazing that this one little girl has touched so many lives. I know this to be the truth since she has touched our lives forever.

I honestly believe that people come into your life for a reason and Alex was definitely a blessing to ours. Ever since I saw Alex we have been holding annual softball benefits in memory of my mom along with other fundraisers with all the proceeds going to her foundation. Last year the softball benefit took place in South Ardmore Park and our team, Team Theresa, won the championship! This year we beat our goal by raising over $6,000 regardless of mother nature having to change our date. What a fun-filled day complete with clowns, a moon bounce, food, music, softball and of course, Alex’s Lemonade!

2009 Team Alex

We would like to thank everyone for supporting such a great cause which is near & dear to our hearts and hope everyone looks out for our 8th annual softball benefit in August 2010!.

- Albert & Natalie Gigliotti
When I encounter people as wonderful as Liz and Jay Scott, as well as the rest of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation crew, I sometimes wonder if people are really as good as they seem. Can they really be so giving by donating so much of their time to helping other people? Yet as I have spent time at the foundation over the past three weeks as part of the Julien Krinsky Career Builders summer program, I have found that everyone is just as great, in fact, even better, than I ever could have known. Seeing as this was my first job, I didn’t know what to expect. Sure, I stuffed a few envelopes and typed up a few spreadsheets, but to some extent I expected that. What I did not expect, however, was how welcoming everyone was to me, a 17-year-old who was newly employed. Everyone here made me feel like I was part of the lemonade family and for that I am grateful. They let me into their world, even allowing me to meet the children and families who inspire their work, and I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer!

Probably the greatest thing that I was able to do was attend a check presentation at Rita’s in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Beforehand, I was asked to read about all of the children who would be attending. These Heroes, childhood cancer fighters, would be in attendance along with their families. After my initial introduction to the children via the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation website, I was unsure if I was going to be able to handle this interaction. Not only were the descriptions of the children so beautifully written, but I myself am no stranger to cancer as it has greatly affected my family. So, to be perfectly honest, I was scared. Upon entrance to Rita’s though, I knew I would be okay, as the smiling faces of everyone present kept my spirits high. The Rita’s staff did a great job of entertaining the children and providing everyone with delicious treats, but it was the children that made the experience so special to me. It was then that I was able to fully understand the effect that the foundation has on the lives of so many, and I’m so thankful that I was able to be a part of it.

-Alexis, ALSF Summer Intern

Six companies in the Delaware Valley area, Aqua Scapes of the Delaware Valley, Aquatic Connections, Cedar Run Landscapes, James Ponds, Laurel Oak, & Splash of Nature sponsored their first Pond Tour to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). The Tour, entitled ‘Alex’s Lemonade Pond Tour…A Tour for the Cure’ was held on Saturday, August 1, 2009.

The purpose of a Pond Tour is to provide an opportunity for watergarden enthusiasts/hobbyists, as well as novices to the industry, to travel around and visit waterfeatures (be they a pond or pondless waterfall) and enjoy the beauty, tranquility and serenity of each unique feature. There were 24 features showcased on this tour. A modest fee was assessed to take the tour; 100% of which were donated to ALSF. Approximately 200 people participated in this inaugural event. One tour was held in Pennsylvania and the second in New Jersey. Between participants as well as individual & corporate sponsors, we are thrilled to say that we raised over $8,000 for Alex. A sincere “thank you” is extended to everyone who participated.

Our goal is to be the #1 volunteer fundraiser/supporter of ALSF. We even expect to challenge some of the larger corporate supporters. The true reality--anyone who aligns themselves with ALSF and its cause to rid the world of pediatric cancer is #1. We (Al Lentz, George Mihalchick, Alden Zove, Diane Baker, Guy Scott, Brent Ludlow and me, Jerry Lister) invite you all “to dare to make a difference.” Our kids are depending on us...lets deliver for them!!!

(Stay tuned for next year!!!)

- Jerry Lister
Hi, my name is Anja Hollander, and I work for HC Brill, a baking supply company based in Atlanta, GA. One aspect of my job is to go to grocery store bakeries during their promotions and offer support. One store that I’m contracted through is Giant Eagle, a large grocery store based in Pennsylvania, with over 200 stores expanding into the surrounding states.

Giant Eagle was taking part in a special promotion with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. Their bakeries sold special “lemon” baked goods to raise awareness for childhood cancer. They also made a donation to the Foundation.

Giant Eagle ran this special promotion for 2 weeks in all of their stores. HC Brill supplied items the stores could use as part of their displays; awareness stickers to be applied to the packaging and Alex's Lemonade Stand signs. Each store created a display set up with Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Drop Cookies & Half cakes using Giant Eagles’ signature cake - White Almond with lemon filling.

Things went amazingly well during the promotion; excitement was high within the bakery as well as throughout the entire store, which easily carried over to the customers! The most touching part of the event was how so many people got behind and supported the cause. The stores put together some really great displays and a lot of them posted Alex’s story. Customers were drawn to the colorful displays and once they read the story, were more than happy to take home a delicious desert from Giant Eagle. A success for all involved!

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