Cancer is already a grave disease to have, and it's even more devastating when children are diagnosed. It's predicted that in 2020, over 11,000 children under the age of 15 will be diagnosed.
But not everything is so bleak. With the proper treatment, 84% of affected children will survive for 5 years or more.
However, as you may have guessed, the survival rate depends on the type of cancer and how well it's researched.
One organization that's been fighting hard for childhood cancer research is Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. Keep reading for some more information on this admirable group.
The Humble Beginnings of Alex's Lemonade Stand
Let's start at the very beginning, with the organization's namesake.
Alex Scott was born on January 18, 1996, in Manchester, Connecticut to Liz and Jay Scott. A year later, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
This is a type of cancer that usually starts from the adrenal glands, but can also originate from the spine, neck, chest, or abdomen. It can then spread to areas like the skin, liver, lymph nodes, and bones.
She went through some tough medical treatments to defy odds. Doctors said she wouldn't be able to walk even if she beat cancer as a 1-year-old, but 2 weeks later, she kicked her legs. And soon after, she was crawling and eventually walked.
Alex seemed to be fighting her cancer well, but a year later, her family received the devastating news that her tumors were growing back. As a result, she underwent a stem cell transplant in 2000.
At 4 years old, Alex told her parents that she wanted to help other kids like her. She didn't wish for other children to suffer from cancer like she had to and was determined to help researchers find a cure for childhood cancer.
Getting Things Going
Of course, her parents humored her, and in 2000, Alex set up a lemonade stand in her home's front yard with the help of her older brother Patrick. In that year, they raised over $2,000, which was significantly more than her parents expected to raise.
Because it was so successful, Alex's family decided to have an annual tradition of setting up Alex's Lemonade Stand. As an ambitious little girl, she wanted to raise at least $1 million for childhood cancer research.
With the help of the media (such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Today Show, plus newspapers and magazines), word of Alex's goal spread throughout the world. Tons of lemonade stands were set up globally to help little Alex chug along in her goal to reach $1 million. These people donated all their proceeds to her cause.
In July 2004, at 8 years old, she reached her goal. Unfortunately, after beating cancer twice, she lost her battle with neuroblastoma just 10 days later in August.
But her hopes and dreams didn't die along with her.
The Setup of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation
Alex's parents saw how passionate she was about fighting childhood cancer. Not wanting that fire to die out with her, her family started Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) in 2005. it is a registered 501(c)3 charity, meaning it's a completely non-profit organization.
Her entire family is involved; for example, older brother Patrick is ALSF's Manager of Donor Information Systems.
To date, ALSF has managed to raise over $150 million. This money has funded over 800 pediatric cancer research projects in the world.
What Alex's Lemonade Does Today
Every year, the organization has an annual kickoff event in Philadelphia. This occurs in the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
With each event, the organization gives out an award called the "Pitcher of Hope." This gives recognition to key players in childhood cancer research. For example, in 2019, the award was given to Lamia Baraket, PhD, who is the Director of Psychosocial Services and Director of the Behavioral Oncology Research Program in the Cancer Center at CHOP.
They have a website you can visit to see all the kids (childhood cancer heroes) you're helping. It's easy to use, which means people from all over the world can find out more about the organization and also find nearby fundraisers to pitch in.
How You Can Help
Obviously, the most direct way you can help ALSF is to donate directly. You can choose between a one-off or monthly donation, and you can even make the gift in honor or in memory of someone special to you.
There are also other ways to give. For instance, you can commit to a legacy gift, join the monthly giving club, make a stock donation, or even donate your vehicle. There are plenty of creative ways to help out ALSF, so feel free to take a look.
In addition, you can also get involved by donating your time. Whether you want to do so with your family, school, or business, you can either set up your own lemonade stand or host an event.
Support Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation
As you can see, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has done incredible work in the last 15 years. But they still need lots more help from the general public to find a cure for childhood cancer.
Help them out by either getting involved or donating to them. Even if you feel like you can't do much, know that every little bit helps. So if you can, donate and see what you can do in your local community to raise awareness and funds.
If you want to put on your own fundraisers to help raise awareness and funds, and want some merchandise for it, then take a look at our No Love 4 Cancer shirt now. Or you can just buy it for yourself and loved ones to wear in solidarity.