Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

Alex in a Halloween parade 12 years ago.

Recently, when I was in Los Angeles to attend the L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonadeculinary event, my wife Liz reminded me of something our daughter Alex had said quite some time ago. In a discussion with her older brother Patrick, Alex asked him if he believed in miracles. Patrick, always the thinker (he's a sophomore at Harvard!), took pause, and instead of awaiting his reply, Alex simply piped in and said -- "I do, I mean I could wake up one day and my cancer could be gone, that would be a miracle."

Alex was right, she had battled cancer since before the age of one, and at the time of her death in 2004, she hadn't been cancer-free since diagnosis; had her cancer disappeared, it certainly would have been a miracle. But I'm not here to tell you about a miracle that saved my daughter's life; instead of I'm here to tell you about the miracle that was her life, and how her 8 ½ years of life have left an enduring impact on the lives of other children battling cancers.

Many of you have heard the story of Alex before, how she had surgery on her first birthday that left her without feeling in her legs, and how she willed herself to walk anyway; some would call that a miracle. You may have also heard that after receiving a treatment that made her feel better, Alex became determined to help doctors on their way to cures through a front yard lemonade stand. She would raise more than $1 million in her lifetime; that could be considered a miracle too. For me, the true miracle is that what Alex started in our front yard continues to make a difference today, nearly ten years after she lost her own life to the disease. Through Alex's determination to help others, she got her miracle, in the form of being a part of the cures for others.

You may recall the story of Edie Gilger, featured on CBS Sunday Morning earlier this year. Edie, like Alex, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma before she was a year old. Despite aggressive treatment, Edie's cancer persisted and she became a candidate for a clinical trial for children harboring a specific cancer causing gene, anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK). The trial tested the effectiveness of the drug crizotinib, already being used to treat lung cancer in adults to literally turn the ALK gene off, stopping the fuel for the cancer. If all goes as planned, the cancer disappears. For Edie, that is exactly what happened -- Edie now has no trace of the cancer.

For Edie, through research that was funded by the Foundation my daughter started (and other sources too), her miracle happened: She woke up one day and her cancer was gone.

Of course this treatment works for only a small number of children, with certain types of cancer; but for those children and their parents, it has made all the difference. As we ready ourselves to turn the page on yet another year, the words of my daughter reverberate in my mind; miracles are possible through hard work and determination. We are making progress on the way to finding better treatments and cures for all kids with cancer, but we have such a long way to go. Alex knew how powerful hope was, and that when there is reason, hope is a powerful thing. We shouldn't stand in its way. She believed that she would get her miracle, and although it wasn't the cure she had dreamed of for herself, her vision of helping others has been fulfilled.

I hope wherever you are, and whatever you did this year to help in the fight against childhood cancer, that you will continue that for years to come, day in and day out. After all, as Albert Einstein said:

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

Originally posted Jay Scott's Huffington Post blog on Oct. 25.

Aah, The Lemon Run…temperatures in the mid 80’s, tropical views, the smell of the ocean…it doesn’t quite sound like a November day in Philadelphia does it? That’s because this is what virtual Lemon Run participant Danielle Cococcia will be experiencing on November 10 in her hometown of George Town in the Cayman Islands. Although more than 2,000 of us will be pounding the pavement around beautiful Fairmount Park on November 10 in Philadelphia, we have several virtual participants that have joined the effort and are completing their own 5K (3.1 mile) run or walk where they live on November 10. In addition to Danielle and her team, Team Cayman, we also have international participation in Greece and across the U.S. from Connecticut to California!

Danielle and her family.
Danielle decided to get involved with ALSF after realizing how little awareness there is for childhood cancer research and how it’s vital to finding better treatments and cures for our heroes. By bringing The Lemon Run to her sunny island on November 10, Danielle is not only increasing awareness but she’s also doing an amazing job of raising funds – she’s already raised $300 and has set a goal to raise $1,000. Considering $50 funds one hour of childhood cancer research, this translates into much needed support for some of the best and brightest pediatric cancer researchers.

L Cpl. Tim Sullivan
Last year we had Lance Corporal Tim Sullivan, who at the time was stationed in Afghanistan, participate virtually in The Lemon Run. According to Tim..."I attended the first Lemon Run in the fall of 2009 and had a great time. I thought running virtually while serving abroad would be a cool way to still participate, fight childhood cancer and get other troops involved in something fun here in Afghanistan." 

So don’t let the geographic location of The Lemon Run deter you from participating – sign up as a virtual participant and be an integral member of Team Alex at our largest one day event to help kids with cancer everywhere.

Thanks to another amazing L.A.Loves Alex’s Lemonade event, more than $530,000 was raised for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the fight against childhood cancer – in just one afternoon! 
The event at Culver Studios Mansion on Sept. 28 sold out with more than 1,700 supporters attending including over 30 chefs who donated their time to prepare and serve their delicious dishes; celebrity supporters such as Jimmy Kimmel, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Kirsten Vangsness and Bailee Madison (just to name a few); as well as childhood cancer heroes Elijah Herman and Jordan Vincent.
David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris
Jimmy Kimmel and Giada De Laurentiis

Kirsten Vangsness

ALSF Youth Spokesperson Bailee Madison

From the aromatic smells of barbeque emanating from Adam Perry Lang’s station to the delicious pizza served by Chris Bianco – guests enjoyed tastings as well as refreshing drinks from participating mixologists. The warm weather kept the lemonade stand busy where a number of kids in attendance helped to serve up icy glasses of our signature drink.

Chris Bianco
Adam Perry Lang
Kids from the show "Parenthood" manning the lemonade stand
Amidst the fun, childhood cancer hero Elijah Herman (on what happened to be the day before his sixth birthday) spoke of his personal battle with childhood cancer, which he has been fighting since he was 3, and why it’s so important to support research to find cures. His message resonated with everyone as just minutes later; $50,000 was raised to fund a research grant in Elijah’s name- awesome!

Elijah Herman (and his mom)
Lively auctions and poignant words from Liz and Jay Scott as well as hosts Suzanne Goin, David Lentz and Caroline Styne rounded out the afternoon that showcased the love that L.A. truly has for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and all children with cancer. 

Suzanne Goin, David Lentz, Caroline Styne, Liz and Jay Scott
Check out all of the photos from the event on our L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade album on Facebook.

Want to go to next year's event? Sign up to be notified when tickets go on sale.