Alex Scott with Herbert the cat. (Courtesy
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation)
The story behind a $10-per-person “Flapjack Fundraiser” at the Greeley Applebee’s next
Sunday goes back to the year 2000 and 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex”
stand in her family’s front yard in Manchester, Conn.
Two days before her first birthday, she was diagnosed with a childhood cancer,
neuroblastoma, and her battle
began. By 2000, she
had fought cancer for three years.
"She had just been introduced to her first clinical trial, which made her feel dramatically
better,” said her mother, Liz
Scott, in a phone
interview. “It inspired her because shortly after that, she said she was going to have a lemonade stand.
“We didn’t know why, but she talked about it for several months.”
Finally, that June, Liz asked Alex why
she was so adamant.
“She said she wanted to give the money to her hospital so they could help kids
like her,” Liz said. “As she got sicker each year, she would get more determined to raise more money.”
To be closer to the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, the Scott family moved to Wynnewood, Pa., and Alex
continued her annual lemonade stands there, twice in her yard and once
at her school. Her efforts drew
national attention, as others put up their own lemonade stands and donated the proceeds to Alex’s campaign.
“As she was older and fought harder, perhaps it changed into her really wanting to make sure that other
kids could be cured, once she knew that she wouldn’t be,” Liz said. “She raised
in 2000, and then she had a stand every year in our front yard, and she would raise $12,000 and then $15,000 and it would
just go up and up.”
There were stands all across the country, and Alex helped come
up with the idea for stands to take place all on one day for a massive fundraiser. It
was a huge success.
Alex Scott.(Courtesy Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation)
money) started out going to her hospital, Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, but by the time she was 6 or so, she
was determined to make a bigger
difference,” Liz said. “We started funding research projects
all over the country.”
In ensuing years, through numerous surgeries, many sieges of chemotherapy,
stem-cell transplants and other experimental treatments, Alex gave those around
her lessons in bravery,
perseverance and even perspective.
Alex died in August 2004. She was 8. Her efforts
directly and indirectly already had led to the raising of $1 million.
cause went on.
The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, now based in Bala Cynwyd,
Pa., just outside Philadelphia, has raised more than $150 million for childhood cancer causes since it was founded in 2005.
Liz said the Foundation has funded about 820 projects, usually in two- to three-year grants. Lemonade stands still
are part of the effort, but mainly serve as symbolism and reminders of the
unselfish little girl. Liz and
her husband, Jay, serve as co-executive directors of the foundation.
Alex Scott at her Lemonade Stand.(Courtesy Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation)
Billy King, then the Philadelphia 76ers’ general manager, visited Alex’s third annual lemonade stand
in 2002 and championed her
cause, and the team’s “Hometown Hero” award at every game was renamed
after her — after she was honored as one of the winners. An annual “Lemonade Ball” in Philadelphia
one of the Foundation’s major fundraisers.
The year after Alex’s
death, the colt Afleet Alex was among the 2005 Triple Crown contenders, and his owners adopted Alex’s Lemonade Stand
and called attention to the cause. Afleet Alex was third in the Kentucky Derby and won the Preakness and Belmont,
and Alex Scott’s pictures and
battle were one of the major sports story lines that spring.
“That was huge,” Liz said. “That was really the first year that
we were doing it without Alex. We’d had a certain amount of media attention and
people were interested
in her, but we didn’t think we’d have that again in 2005. We just thought we’d do what we could, but Afleet
Alex got so
much media attention and brought so many new people to the story and to the support of Alex’s
Lemonade Stand, it was a boost to our efforts.”
Thirteen years later,
Liz is certain progress is being made — with the foundation’s help.
Alex Scott with a pitcher of lemonade.(Courtesy Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation)
“We’ve become one of the largest independent funders of pediatric cancer research in the country,”
she said. “We grant all over the country to support every
phase of research, from early laboratory innovative
science all the way through clinical trials in children. That amount of money is having a huge impact.
are studies we have funded that have directly cured kids who were previously incurable.
still have a long way to go. There are still too many kids who don’t respond to anything.”
The Greeley fundraiser is a part of that continuing movement.
feel like her story and her impact would have ended in our front yard but not for other people doing other events like this
years after she passed,”
Liz said of Alex. “People are carrying on, and it’s having
a huge impact. That keeps her spirit very much alive.”