All around the world, children are inspiring adults to take action with the things that matter most. One such child, Alex, took the matter of cancer into her own hands, and her legacy has created a grassroots movement across the country. Today, Alex's Lemonade Stand is one of the most successful fundraisers for cancer research in America.
The idea for Alex's Lemonade Stand began in 2000, when four-year-old Alexandra Scott, a cancer patient announced to her friends and family that she wanted to run a lemonade stand. This activity, something children do across the United States, was not just a way to pass the time and earn money for candy or toys, though. Instead, Alex's profits were all going to go toward helping "her doctors" find a cure for cancer. With the help of her brother Patrick, Alex set up a lemonade stand in her neighborhood, calling it "Alex's Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer." The first stand was run in July 2000.
The project took off, warming the hearts of everyone in the community. Alex continued to operate her stand, and as word spread, more children and adults set up lemonade stands and sent their profits to Alex for her contribution to cancer research. The project became extremely popular, and although Alex's health began to deteriorate, she continued to inspire people to run lemonade stands and hold other fundraising events to benefit pediatric cancer patients. Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation was created, giving people an easy way to donate to this registered 501c3 charity.
Sadly, in the summer of 2004, Alex passed away, losing her fight with cancer. She was eight years old. However, in those eight years, she did more to better the world than most people do in an entire lifetime. Alex raised over $1 million to give toward childhood cancer research. To honor her memory and continue supporting other children fighting cancer, her family continued to run this organization, and as of July 2007, the foundation has contributed over $20 million to childhood cancer research. Alex has proven that no matter how young or old, you can do something to help change the world.
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation's motto is "no donation is too small," and today, they are still battling cancer one cup of lemonade at a time. They provide grants cancer researchers and help doctors around the world learn more about this disease. Because of the money Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised, researchers are getting closer to a cure every day.
Alex and her foundation have been recognized by a number of organizations over the past eight years. She has personally won many awards during her lifetime and posthumously, which include the Philadelphia Foundation's Philanthropist of the Year for 2003, the Kellogg's Child Development Award for 2004, and the Sunshine Foundation's Impossible Dream Award for 2004. In addition, her foundation has been honored with the PPRA Gold Medal Award for 2005 and the Gilda's Club Ann Silverman Award for 2006, to name just a few of their many achievements. After Alex's death in 2004, two awards were also named in her honor. Every year, Volvo Cars gives away the Alex Scott Butterfly Award, which honors a child who is making an extraordinary difference in the world and the Philadelphia 76ers have renamed their community service award to be called the Hometown Hero in the Spirit of Alex Scott Award. Alex has been featured in countless magazines, newspapers, and TV shows, including The Oprah Show, The Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated.
Anyone can easily become involved with Alex's Lemonade Stand. Helping to honor this girl's amazing spirit can be quite rewarding. Adults and children alike can run lemonade stands, or you can make a straight donation or hold a different fundraising event. In addition, the foundation's website allows you to purchase items from the gift shop (items include books, jewelry, coffee, and more), as well as find Alex's Lemonade Stand events in your area, so you can attend and support the cause. They also hold an annual Lemon Ball to honor those who support their foundation and to raise money for the cause. You can attend this event if you are in the Philadelphia area during the month of January.
The moral of this story is that although the ocean is large, it is only made of drops of water. In other words, when everyone works together, small contributions to good causes add up to make a huge difference. Alex's Lemonade Stand started out as one child hoping to contribute a few dollars to cancer research. The cure for cancer is closer because of Alex and her foundation. Anybody's dream can become reality and Alex's desire to help those with cancer has created one of the most well known charities for Cancer research.
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Cynthia Andrews is a freelance writer who writes about food and beverages, often focusing on certain brands such as Alex's Lemonade.
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