Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

by Megan Tanney, ALSF

There are so many ways to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), some you may not even know about! For example, did you know that when you shop online you could be generating a donation to ALSF? We made a list of our favorite, easy-to-use sites and platforms so you can start making a difference today.

1. Shop on Amazon Smile

As you know, you can buy almost anything on Amazon! When you shop at and select ALSF as your charitable organization, the Amazon Smile Foundation will donate .5% of your eligible purchase price to us. While that may seem like a small percentage, every penny counts when comes to finding a cure! In 2017, we were able to fund over 100 hours of research through Amazon Smile shoppers!

Click here and start giving back while you shop today! You can also download the Chrome extension Smile Always to redirect you every time you shop. Watch the video here for a step by step guide.

2. Shop for (or sell) items on eBay for Charity

In 2017, $84 million was raised for charities through eBay! That’s $160 raised every minute. Talk about a big impact! Sellers can donate a percentage of their sales to ALSF, and buyers can also make a direct donation at checkout. All donations are tax-deductible too! Select ALSF as your favorite charity here, and start shopping products that help kids with cancer. 

Psst! If you’re a seller–the most popular categories for charity listings are nonfiction books, women’s clothing, laptops and tickets or experiences. eBay will also credit back a portion of your seller fees. It’s a win-win!

3. Take Surveys on Survey Monkey Contribute

Start making a difference by taking surveys at For each quick survey you take, $.50 will be donated to ALSF.

Sign up for free here, choose ALSF as your charity to support and surveys will be sent to you based on your profile. 

You can also download the Survey Monkey app and make an impact while you’re on the go!

4. Donate a vehicle

Your old car, truck or boat can benefit kids with cancer! Through our Cars that Cure program, you can donate anything with an engine, from construction equipment to snowmobiles. The process is quick and easy! Fill out the online form or make a toll-free call to (855) CAR ALSF or (855) 227-2573. 

5. Download the Good Cents App

Are you on your phone a lot? Turn that time into a donation by setting up a reoccurring donation to ALSF based on how much you use your phone! Download the Good Cents app, select ALSF as your charity and set your donation amount per hour and your monthly maximum giving. The Good Cents app will track your hourly screen time, and at the end of the month, it will equate your usage into your charitable donation to ALSF!

Start taking small actions today and you can make a big impact on a child’s future. If you have any questions, please contact Megan Tanney at 866-333-1213 or [email protected].
Check out our donations page to learn more about all the ways to give.

Fundraising Ideas

Dr. Catherine Flores, with childhood cancer hero Sawyer. 

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

Ever since she was a child, Dr. Catherine Flores, of the University of Florida, loved the challenge of experimenting and investigating the origins of things. Now, as a pediatric cancer researcher, Dr. Flores is applying those interests to curing childhood brain cancer. 

ALSF awarded Dr. Flores a Young Investigator grant in 2015, which she used to study the preclinical development of adoptive cell therapy to fight high-grade gliomas,  a category of fast-growing pediatric brain tumors with particularly poor survival rates. Her project laid the groundwork to better understand how a child’s own immune system cells could be altered to fight brain tumor cells. This research may lead to better survival rates and minimize the use of treatments with high levels of toxicity. 

Her work also led to a phase 1 clinical trial that studies the use of immunotherapy in kids with high-grade gliomas. The study is set to open in March 2018 and phase 1 will determine safety and dose. It is the first immunotherapy study of its kind for children, moving the oncology world one step closer to a breakthrough and a cure. 

We spoke with Catherine Flores about her work and what it is like to be a woman researcher. 

What made you want to get into science and research? 

(CF): I have always been a curious person. I love exploration and experimentation. I love the discovery. I find "failed experiments" to be a challenge, not a discouragement. I never really realized that there aren't many women in science until my first faculty appointment and I am one of only two tenure-track female faculty members in my department. 

What are obstacles that you have faced?

(CF): I have a two-year-old and balancing life is such a challenge. Being a researcher is not a 9-5 job, so rearranging the day and writing at night to get it all done was and is a huge obstacle. But I love it all. It is just challenging, that's all. 

Sometimes, I feel a little judged when I come to work covered in banana, or can't do 6 pm meetings. BUT, I do a huge amount of work between my daughter's bedtime and sunrise. 
If cancer was cured, what would you be doing?

(CF): When I was 10 years old, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I love the ocean and its animals. It is still fascinating. After I cure brain cancer, I still want to be a marine biologist. 

Who are your role models?

(CF): Working moms with multiple children and Michelle Obama. 

Do you have an impact story from your research—a story when you saw your work help children?

(CF): We have a clinical trial out of our program for children with recurrent medulloblastoma and PNETs. One of our patients, Sawyer, had always wanted to be a scientist. So I closed down the lab for the day and set it up to make it "Sawyer's lab". We had a personalized lab coat made for him with the University of Florida and his name all embroidered. We set up a kid-friendly experiment for him on each bench complete with exploding bottles, dry ice, glow in the dark chemistry, all the kid things! At each bench, I had a different grad student helping him - because grad students in lab coats are super cool to an 8-year-old boy. Then we all had pizza which is his favorite. His mom mentioned that Sawyer had said it was more fun than Disneyland. 

Sadly, Sawyer passed away the following Christmas. Even though we couldn't ultimately help him fight against his disease, we at least let him be a scientist for a day. Sawyer was already unstable on his feet from his cancer, so his dad was there to keep him steady. That family made an impact on our grad students and researchers because we were all touched by him and inspired and motivated to do more. As lab researchers, we generally don't come in contact with patients, but it was amazing to see who we are trying to help. Interacting with him during a fun time made me want to work even harder. It also made me realize that receiving grants and manuscripts (our metrics as academics) are great, but they are nothing compared to actually finding a cure. 

This picture of me (above) with Sawyer making magnetic slime, is my favorite. It hangs in my office to inspire me every day. 

In honor of Women’s History month in March, ALSF will feature interviews with some of our outstanding funded women researchers on the ALSF blog. You can follow along here.

Women Curing Childhood Cancer: Meet Future Doctor Sabrina Wang

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

For as long as she can remember Sabrina Wang, a student at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, wanted to be a scientist. As an undergraduate student, Sabrina received a 2016 Pediatric Oncology Student Training (POST) grant from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) to work with Drs. Eric Raabe, Charles Eberhart and Jeffrey Rubens at Johns Hopkins. 

Sabrina spent the summer working in the lab, learning and studying atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT), a very rare, fast-growing tumor that typically starts in the brain, kidneys, spinal cord or other soft tissues of the body. About half of these tumors occur in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls movement and balance or in the brain stem, the part of the brain that controls essential life functions like breathing, blood pressure and heart rate. Sabrina’s work focused specifically on MYC-driven AT/RT. MYC is a gene that drives the growth of some cancer cells. 

Part of her research work also involved the ability to see the clinical side of research and the tangible impact of research on the lives of real patients. 

Sabrina entered the undergraduate student competition at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) with a poster based on her POST grant work—and she won the top prize beating out several hundred entries. 

Now, Sabrina is continuing her pediatric oncology education and career as a research technologist—focusing on gathering, cataloging and organizing data—with Dr. Rubens at Johns Hopkins. We spoke with Sabrina about her research interests and her future goals:

What made you want to get into science and research?

(SW)When I was 10 years old, I wanted to be a scientist and a pianist. I couldn’t decide between the two.

I have always wanted to be in medicine for as long as I can remember, but it actually wasn’t until I received the POST award two years ago, worked in Dr. Raabe’s lab, and experienced my first research conference that I could really see myself pursuing both research and medicine as part of my future career.
What are obstacles that you have faced?

(SW) I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by supportive people who have helped me overcome any hurdles that pass my way. 

If we’re talking literal obstacles, I’d say that 85% of all lab furniture is at an awkwardly tall height for me. I have never been able to see the inside of an over-the-range microwave.
Who are your role models?

(SW) Oh, definitely my mentors – Dr. Raabe and Dr. Rubens – for showing me the possibility of what I can pursue in my future and for always pushing me forward. I’m their biggest fan. They’ve lead by example on how to integrate science and medicine together, how to balance research, patients, and family life while being tremendously gracious (also known as, ridiculously perfect). Since I’ve been at the Baltimore campus, Dr. Leana Wen has been someone who I aspire to be in the future – her drive and compassion are qualities I try to emulate as well. And growing up, Anne of Green Gables was my literary heroine. (I, too, tried to cram as many long words as possible everywhere.)

If cancer was cured, what would you be doing?

(SW) Most likely painting and baking lots of sourdough! (But I would definitely still be in science.)

Was there a moment when you felt the impact your research might have on curing childhood cancer?

(SW) The “a-ha” moment for me happened during my second day of shadowing in the clinic. My mentor asked a parent how a standard chemotherapy treatment had gone. Coincidentally, the treatment was also a drug I had investigated in the lab, and the connection between research and what it meant for patients suddenly fell into place for me. It’s something I often read about in literature, but to actually experience the “click” was quite surreal.

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8 and Women’s History month, ALSF will feature interviews with some of our outstanding funded women researchers on the ALSF blog. You can follow along here