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Kick-It, a national charitable athletic campaign for childhood cancer research has officially joined the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation family.

Liz Scott and Allison Clarke are two moms on a mission to cure childhood cancer. 

by Trish Adkins, ALSF 

In 2000, 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott asked her parents to help host her first lemonade stand in her front yard. Alex had been battling neuroblastoma since just before her first birthday and wanted to do something to help other kids battling cancer feel better. Alex raised over $2,000 at her first stand and kicked off a legacy of lemonade stands and hope. 

Nine years later, 10-year-old Quinn Clarke was fighting his second battle with cancer. Like Alex, he asked his parents to help him do something to help other kids. Quinn wanted to hold a kickball game to raise money for research. More than 500 people came to support him and he inspired a movement! People everywhere, even in Australia, began to hold kickball games to support childhood cancer research. 

Now, these organizations started by two amazing childhood cancer heroes have come together to find cures for childhood cancer, one kick at a time! Kick-It, a national charitable athletic campaign for childhood cancer research has officially joined the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation family. We chatted with Alex’s mom Liz Scott and Quinn’s mom Allison Clarke about this new amazing partnership. 

Both Alex and Quinn battled childhood cancer. Tell me about your children and their fight against cancer.
 
Liz:
Alex was a determined, courageous, confident and inspiring child with big dreams and big accomplishments. After her first surgery for neuroblastoma,  doctors told us it was doubtful Alex would ever walk again.  Just two weeks later, Alex slightly moved her leg at our request. I think that shows her determination was always there. Later, she became determined to hold lemonade stands and give the money to her hospital. And when those efforts took off, but her own health was failing, she became still more determined to raise $1 million dollars before her death—and she did it.

But Alex is more than just a girl who battled cancer. She is my daughter and a sister and a cousin and a niece and a granddaughter. She loved fashion and Junie B. Jones and her dog Shammy and her cat Herbert. Her favorite colors were blue and purple. We miss her every day.  

Allison: 
At 6-months-old, Quinn was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow along the nervous system. Most tumors are benign, but some can be cancer.  At 20-months-old, Quinn was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of soft tissue cancer. He immediately underwent surgery to remove the tumor followed by a year of chemo and radiation. 

He was relatively healthy until age 10 when doctors found a large MPNST (malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor) in his hip. Chemotherapy was not effective and doctors sent him home on hospice. We ended up at MD Anderson for proton radiation therapy and then surgery to remove the tumor and his hip. After surgery, Quinn started an experimental drug. Doctors don’t know if the drug has kept Quinn cancer free or if he is in the 3% of MPNST kids that survive. Quinn had a long recovery process learning to walk with only one hip – which then led to a curve in his spine and spinal fusion surgery. 

Quinn is now a 17-year-old high school junior. He also loves to ski, which he re-learned to do through an adaptive ski program. Despite physical limitations, he never complains, works hard and takes life as it comes! He continues to do well in school and is excited to go to college.

How did battling cancer change your family?

Allison:
It’s hard to quantify how cancer has changed our family. On the positive side, it has made us grateful for each day we have together and we don’t wait to take vacations and do fun things with the kids. Kick-It would not exist if we didn’t experience the world of childhood cancer and it has been personally fulfilling to help others. On the other hand, we all worry that Quinn’s cancer will return and sometimes those emotions can be difficult to manage. 

Liz:
It is hard to say how cancer changed our family because it has been a part of our lives since our family was very young. In addition to losing our daughter, there are many other things cancer took from our family-- worrying and some level of anxiety became a way of life for all of us, which shapes you as a person. On the other hand, we have seen firsthand what has been gained and the good that can come from something so tragic. Alex’s life and legacy are something our whole family is proud of and she gave us a way to continue to have her in our lives; we know how lucky we are in that regard.  

Liz, what about Quinn reminds you of Alex?

Liz:
Like Alex, Quinn was determined to help other kids which took an extraordinary level of leadership in that you have to look past your own pain and challenges to see that others are suffering also. Like Alex, he believed that his age was a not a barrier to making a difference and he created an easy way for people of any age to get involved and contribute to the fight against childhood cancer. 


Allison, what about Alex reminds you of Quinn?

Allison: 
I wish I had the opportunity to meet Alex! I think Alex and Quinn inspired others to get involved because of their belief that anything is possible. The optimism and innocence of kids fighting cancer are amazing. They both wanted to do something to help other kids with cancer and weren’t focused on their own situations. 

What makes the ALSF and Kick-It partnership, so great?

Allison:

We have deep admiration for Liz and Jay, both as the co-executive directors of ALSF and as people. We have been co-funding research with them for years and knew that they had the ability to take our Kick-it program to the next level. Working together, we can have an even bigger impact! 

Liz:
Kick-It and ALSF are such an amazing match. We are inspired by Allison and her husband Kip and just connect on so many levels as parents. We love their energy and how fun they are to be around but recognize how serious they are about making a difference for this cause. I think it is pretty clear why people have gravitated to their family to create the Kick-It movement. The atmosphere of a Kick-It kickball game is fun, positive and inspirational! It so much like an Alex’s Lemonade Stand.  And I think the Kick-It Champion program is such a smart way to leverage the dedication of student-athletes to their sport by turning their accomplishments into funds raised for childhood cancer research.

Curing childhood cancer can seem like an impossible goal at times, but Alex believed that if we all work together, “we can do it.” Today, I know that is true more than ever and could not be more honored to be work together with Allison, her team and everyone involved with Kick-It to reach that goal!   

Kick-It, formerly a program of Flashes of Hope, is a national charitable athletic campaign to raise money for much-needed childhood cancer research. Kick-It partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) this year in order to further the vision of a 10-year-old boy with cancer who wanted to help other kids like him. This partnership emerged from their similar beginnings as both charities were founded by children battling cancer. Kick-It encourages supporters to host charity kickball games in their communities. It also partners with student athletes through its Kick-It Champions program. Athletes dedicate their season’s performance to Kick-It and raise awareness and funds for research. Learn more and host your own Kick-It game here.

Categories: 
Fundraising Ideas
20 Motherhood lessons from childhood cancer

by Trish Adkins, ALSF

We talked to some hero moms and asked them, “How did childhood cancer alter your motherhood? What lessons did you learn?”

Last year, we shared 10 of those lessons. However, it was not enough. So this year, here are 20 more things that we learned about motherhood from childhood cancer:

1. Motherhood is the coexistence of every emotion that exists. 

2. Motherhood can mean parenting a legacy because your child is not physically here, but their legacy lives on. 

3. Motherhood is appreciating the noise. 

4.  Motherhood is made easier with other mothers walking beside you offering their support.

5. Motherhood requires self-forgiveness.

6. Motherhood is knowing that your hopes for your child will change as they change and accepting that you cannot control the outcome. 

7. Motherhood is knowing that you will fail and fall, but unconditional love will always lift you up. 

8. Motherhood is being grateful for all things, even the less than ideal moments.

9. Motherhood is not waiting for tomorrow—because tomorrow is never guaranteed. 

10. Motherhood is holding onto the moment.

11. Motherhood is the center of everything you do—career, friendships, your home, yourself—are all still important, but only in the context of motherhood. 

12. Motherhood is knowing that the dark days will come and they will come again, but the light days—the bright days come again too. 

13. Motherhood is learning to see your child separate from you.

14. Motherhood is knowing that growing up is a gift—and the end of childhood should not be mourned, it should be celebrated. 

15. Motherhood is learning to treat your children equally, but differently and parenting each specific to their needs. 

16. Motherhood is being an advocate, but knowing you can’t do it everything for your child, no matter if they 3 or 30. 

17. Motherhood is experiencing the ultimate humility. You are not invincible and you are not a superhero. You cannot make it all okay for your child.

18. Motherhood is taking a vacation, being goofy and laughing.

19. Motherhood is having unconditional love—not just for your children, but for yourself.

20. Motherhood is forever. Nothing, not even childhood cancer, can take your title of “Mom” away. 

 

Special thanks to Robin, AnnMarie, Kira, Liz, Anita, Miriam, Keren, Jennie and Beth for sharing their stories with us. Happy Mother’s Day to hero Moms, heroes, SuperSibs and the wonderful mothers who love and support them all.

Trish Adkins is a writer for ALSF. She is most proud of being Mom to her childhood cancer hero Lily and SuperSibs Chloe and Nicholas. 

Nurses Week is a great time to give thanks to the amazing oncology nurses who care for children battling cancer.

All of the illustrations in Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand are real people. Above, one of Alex's favorite nurses, Lisa

by Jay Scott, Alex’s Dad

In our book, Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand, there is a picture of a woman on crutches. This character was based on one of Alex’s favorite nurses, a woman named Lisa.   Alex loved her so much, that she once asked Lisa if she would come along if her lemonade stand took a cross-country road trip. Alex did not want to her port accessed by nurses that didn’t know how to do it as good as Lisa did. 

Lisa was not just a nurse. She was also a childhood cancer hero. First, she battled Ewing’s sarcoma when she was ten.  Then in college, Lisa relapsed with osteosarcoma and lost her leg to the disease. As an adult, she battled cancer twice more—beating it each time.

Lisa was also the fastest nurse on the oncology floor—even on her crutches. She was a joy and understood how Alex and other kids battling cancer needed to be cared for—because she was once in their position.

Lisa died in December 2016—not from cancer, but from side effects of treatment. Her body was so beat up from fighting cancers with chemotherapy and radiation. Lisa’s story is another example of why we do what we do at ALSF—we need better and less toxic treatments so kids not only survive, but they thrive and continue to live long healthy lives. 

A few years ago, Lisa was honored with the Pitcher of Hope Award, an award that Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) gives out to someone who has had an impact on the CHOP Oncology Department. Her awards ceremony included a flash mob—something she always wanted to be a part of. One of our Scientific Advisory Board members, Dr. Garrett Brodeur, even joined the flash mob. Here's a video: 

Lisa’s legacy of turning lemons into lemonade lives on in the nurses she inspired, the patients she cared for and the families she loved each and every day. 

Nurses Week is celebrated each year in May to honor the amazing nurses, like Lisa, who do so much for their patients. Do you have a story of an amazing nurse? Share it with us on Facebook. You can read more about Lisa here.

 

Categories: 
Alex Scott
You know the old saying that accessories make the outfit? Well, accessories also make your lemonade stand! ALSF has all the extras you need to make your stand Stand Out from the crowd! Here are my top 5 favorite event accessories from Alex’s Shop:

Alex's Shop has the perfect accessories for your lemonade stand! 


by Megan Tanney, Merchandise and Production Coordinator

You know the old saying that accessories make the outfit? Well, accessories also make your lemonade stand! Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) has all the extras you need to make your stand Stand Out from the crowd! Here are my top 5 favorite event accessories from Alex’s Shop:

1. Collect donations in style
Where does the money go? First it goes in our donation container! Watch the donations stack up in our ALSF-branded donation container, complete with a coin slot lid.

2. Elevate your selfies
 Have your visitors take photos with our Selfie Sign and tag @alexslemonade. It's not all about fundraising, but spreading awareness too!

3. Keep yourself in the shade with our signature Lemon Shades
Lemonade Days are sunny days! We’ve got you covered with our Lemon Shades. Our bright yellow sunglasses will definitely help you stand out and let everyone know that you're fighting childhood cancer. Lemon shades are sold in a multipack of 10, so you can share the shade! 

4. Make your mark
Attract more people and let everyone know what your fundraising for with our trendy pennant flags! Fabric banners are also available—both are the perfect way to elevate your lemonade stand and let everyone know you are raising money for childhood cancer research.

5. Cups, of course
Serve every cup of lemonade in our ALSF-branded cups! Let everyone know that with their donation we're one cup closer to finding a cure for childhood cancer. Our cups are sold in a package of 100, so everyone can enjoy a cup of icy cold lemonade! 

Visit Alex's Shop to find even more items to decorate your stand and make a difference.

Megan Tanney grew up with pink lemonade in the refrigerator and a love of design. The Merchandise and Production Coordinator job is a dream come true for Megan!

Categories: 
Lemonade Days
Partnering with local businesses is a great way to raise more awareness of the need for childhood cancer research.

by Anita Gates, Manager of Partnerships

One great way to expand your lemonade stand is to get local businesses involved! Local businesses can help you raise awareness, increase donations and bring more traffic to your lemonade stand. Asking and getting the yes can feel daunting, but it is actually not as tricky as it seems. Here are my tips for getting the yes and help make your Alex’s Lemonade Stand a success! 

1. Pick a business where you are the customer.
If the owner sees you on a regular basis, they are much more likely to say yes!

2. Do some research.
Find out about the business. Are there other charities they support? Have they supported Alex's Lemonade Stand in some other way before? Is there a good way to link their business to your stand? Take a look at their social media pages and learn more about their businesses. 

3. Share your reason. 
Let the business owner know why you are hosting an Alex’s Lemonade Stand. If there is a personal connection, share that story! Your inspiration will likely inspire the business owner to participate. 

4. Be prepared. 
Have all of the details of your fundraiser ready. If you are asking someone to support your stand in person, plan ahead to a time when you know the business owner will be available to talk. If you are asking via email, be sure all the details in your email are correct and include a link to your fundraising page. Don’t forget to follow up with them over the phone – especially if you don’t get a response. 

5. Be specific. 
Be ready to ask for specific support—do you want donated supplies? Do you want help spreading the word about your stand? Are you looking for a cash donation or volunteers? Be ready to tell the business what they can do for you! 

6. Smile!
Even though you might be nervous, smile! Smiling is contagious and the business owner will smile back (and no yawning—that is contagious, too!) 

7. Say Thank You!
Whether you get the yes or you get a no, always say thank you!  If you get a yes, send them a handwritten thank you note, an email and also thank them on social media! Publicly thank them with a sign at your stand. You can never say Thank You, enough!

8. Include your new local business sponsor in your lemonade stand!
Have fun with your new relationship. Invite the business owner to your stand, take photos, introduce them to your other volunteers and tag your business partners on social media. 

9. Share your success and say thank you, again! 
After your fundraiser, share photos and your success and say thank you, again! 

Now get out there and have a fun fundraiser!!

Alex's Lemonade Days are held June 3-June 11, 2017.  Pick a day (or days!) that week and host a stand! Sign up here <link to registration page>(it's easy!) Thank you for joining us to find cures, one cup at a time! 

Anita Gates is Manger of Partnerships at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  She is a grateful Mom to a Hero and a Super Sib.  

Categories: 
Lemonade Days

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