A Lemonade Stand for Cancer Research or How a 4 Year Old Made a Huge Difference

It is wonderful to read about amazing people. This is especially so as we are surrounded by news about people who are everything but. This website I stumbled across is called myhero and it is a collection of stories about exceptional people.

One of the most heartwarming stories on this site is about a little girl called Alex who at the age of one, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a particularly aggressive childhood cancer. The survival chances are only 40%. By the time Alex was four years old, the plight of other children with cancer made her determined to do something about childhood cancer.

Alex and her brother Eddie started a Lemonade Stand in her family’s garden to raise funds for research into this field of medicine. The Lemonade stand is often depicted as the quintessential symbol of capitalism for kids to start learning about how to make money for themselves. It is therefore especially heart warming to see this idea used to raise awareness and funds for a worthy cause such as cancer research.

The Lemonade Stand’s first year’s takings were a total of $2 000 which is a fair amount for one lemonade stand. By the time Alex was 8 years old, she had lifted her target to a hugely lofty amount of $1 million. Three months after Alex died at the age of 8, her goal of $1 million for cancer research was surpassed. In fact her parents estimated that at the end of that year, being 2004, the total would be closer to $1.5m.

Besides Alex and brother Eddie’s Lemonade stand, other children, adults and organisations took on the challenge with lemonade stand fund-raisers set up in all of the 50 American states, as well as in Canada and France. Alex participated in as many interviews as she could, with the Oprah Winfrey Show for instance providing huge amount of exposure for her cause.

Funding is of course also procured by donations other than through Lemonade stands. There is an online gift shop and one is able to make an online donation. Other events, besides running a lemonade stands are encouraged. Companies donate cakes and cookies to be sold at stands. Two seven year olds heard about the idea (source) and set themselves a target of $4 000 selling lemonade. And they achieved it.

Reading on the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation website, in August 2007, the total amount of money raised so far toward finding a cure for all children with cancer stands at $12m. This is a staggering amount. To think that this was started in 2000 by a four year old suffering from cancer herself.

It is uplifting to read about human endeavour that focuses on doing good. It is refreshing to see that the world citizens are able to expend extraordinary effort, enthusiasm, caring, love, willpower and many more attributes for the sake of others.

One could think with regret that a fine little human being such as Alex Scott, died early. What could she have achieved, with the spirit that she had. Someone, one would have hoped would end up being president of a country. Not to be. But even with the limited amount of time she had on earth, she showed what can be done with passion and a caring for the human race.

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