Childhood Cancer Awareness one lemonade stand at a time

September is Childhood (Pediatric) Cancer Awareness Month. To commemorate it, we're spotlighting an amazing young girl who, before she succumbed to the childhood cancer neuroblastoma at age 8, founded a major effort to fund childhood cancer research.

Alex ScottAlexandra "Alex" Scott was less than a year old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. By the time she was four, she had decided she wanted to raise money to give to doctors to "help other kids, like they helped me." She chose to set up a lemonade stand in her front yard. This first lemonade stand alone brought in $2000, which she donated to the hospital where she was treated. This effort burgeoned into Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Alex held yearly lemonade stands, and she inspired people from all over the world to hold their own lemonade stands and donate the proceeds to help kids like her. A glance at Alex's 104-page Guest Book shows hundreds of people – friends and strangers – who have been touched and humbled by her life and work:

I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. She is precious. I am a 3rd grade teacher and we are holding a lemonade stand in Alex's honor on October 8th!! We'll be sending you the proceeds. She is such an inspiration to my class. They love her!!!

My name is Josephine and though I have never met you or your daughter I recently heard her story and got goosebumps. She was a wonderful inspiration to all of us. I want to send my condolences to the family. On October 14th I will be doing the Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and my team and I would like to walk in honor of Alexandra Scott and her legacy.

Alex was a very special person who touched many lives. I recently lost my nephew Evan on 04-03-04 to Neuroblastoma. We often would see Alex with her wagon at the hospital always full of smiles. Her courage and strength was an inspiration to all of us.

I am Brownie from Troop 686 in San Antonio. I think Alex is the most special girl I know. We were glad to help raise money for her fund. I know you are better in heaven - and I pray for your family.

By the time Alex passed away in 2004, she had helped raise over $1 million for childhood cancer research, and to date the foundation has raised more than $30 million, with $12 million coming from lemonade stands just like Alex's.

It's money that is sorely needed. Every day in the U.S., about 46 children and teens are diagnosed with cancer. While many childhood cancers are treatable, and the overall survival rate from childhood cancers is about 80%, cancer is still the leading cause of death by disease in children under 15 in the U.S. About 1500 children will die of cancer this year. Yet pediatric cancer research is underfunded: For every six research dollars per patient with AIDS and every one research dollar per patient with breast cancer, a child with cancer receives 30 cents.

You can help make a difference. There are many charities benefitting childhood cancer research in the Children's Organizations section of's charity database. Any of these organizations would be grateful for your donation during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, or any time of the year.

But even if you don't have much money to donate, there's plenty you can do to help children with cancer and to carry on Alex's legacy. Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation suggests a wide variety of ways you can get involved – you can volunteer with the foundation, race with Team Lemon, start a school or business service project... or, of course, open your own lemonade stand.

Have you seen an Alex's Lemonade Stand in your community? Have you known or been touched by a child battling cancer? Please tell us about it in the comments.

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