Our names are Liz and Jay Scott, of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, but we were parents first. Our daughter, Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004), was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer, before her first birthday. Though cancer would certainly not define the person she was, it did define the amount of time she would have with us. Alex made the best of her time, always hoping for better treatments and cures, and perhaps more importantly, doing something about it. Not only did Alex voice her simple wish to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research, but she followed through with it, hosting lemonade stands that have inspired a national volunteer movement. Many of those inspired by Alex’s stand for hope were families and friends of childhood cancer patients, much like many of you, the members of PAC2.
The Foundation bearing her name, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), continues in that hopeful spirit of Alex, - that we can make a difference and that cures are possible. With the help of volunteers across the country, ALSF has raised $25 million and funded over 80 research projects at leading institutions and hospitals. ALSF is also in the process of building programs to help families dealing with childhood cancer in practical ways. We feel that in 2008, people are more aware of the problems of childhood cancer, than in 1997 when Alex was diagnosed and that things are moving in the right direction. However, we are also keenly aware of the realities and adversities we still face. Childhood cancer is simply not a priority cause in the United States. Though it may seem hard to believe, the number one disease killer of children under the age of 15, and the second overall, doesn’t command the same sense of urgency as other adult cancers.
We need to change this. Now.
Take a look at the statistics - each and every school day, 46 children, or more than two full classrooms of kids, will be diagnosed with cancer. This leads to one in every four elementary schools having a child with cancer, and the average high school containing two students who are current or former cancer patients. Additionally, childhood cancer is increasing among adolescents and young adults at a greater rate than any other age group, except those older than 65 years. These statistics are staggering, and something we simply cannot ignore. Keep in mind that they don’t even acknowledge the lifelong complications childhood cancer survivors face.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is dedicated to continuing the crusade against childhood cancer until we find what we are so desperately seeking. In order to succeed, we need help. This October, we took the first step. Eighteen childhood cancer research organizations joined us in Philadelphia for the first Childhood Cancer Charity Summit. As organizations with a shared goal of curing childhood cancer, we know that we have a great deal of work to do to achieve our goal. We need to join forces to raise more funds, more awareness, and more than anything, create the same partnerships and media saturation of other causes. Let’s make curing kids’ cancer as urgently important as many adult cancers have become.
The Childhood Cancer Charity summit and PAC2 are just the first baby steps on this journey. We are in this fight together, and it is about time we all joined forces for the sake of our children. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is proud to be a part of PAC2, and more importantly, we are proud to join our mission of “fighting childhood cancer, one cup at a time,” with PAC2’s vision of becoming “one voice against childhood cancer.”
Liz and Jay Scott
Alex’s parents, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer
About Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). At the age of 4, Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of volunteers across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised $25 million towards fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 80 research projects nationally.
In addition the current Medical and Nursing Grants program, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is expanding to provide assistance and resources to families affected by childhood cancer. Among the new additions for 2009 - a Travel Fund to assist families facing financial difficulties traveling for necessary treatments; creation of online childhood cancer informational resource, and a Symposium on Childhood Cancer to provide the opportunity for families to learn about new treatments, survivor issues, fertility issues, grief issues and more while meeting with other families in a group setting.
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