When I was four years old I believe I was learning how to write my name. I had no concept of cancer. I was four. I was playing in my backyard and watching cartoons on Saturday mornings sprawled out on the living room carpet.
In 2000 there was another four year old with knowledge of illness you wish you could keep shielded away from your little one. Alexandra Scott was diagnosed in 1997 with neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer; two days before her first birthday. Stepping, too young, into the world of doctors, hospitals, and chemotherapy Alex began her fight. The doctors had informed her parents, Scott and Liz, that even if she was able to beat this disease raging inside her they were doubtful she would ever walk again.
Very shortly Alex was able to show everyone she was a fighter; two weeks into treatment her parents asked her to kick her leg and she was able to move it; slightly, but she did! By the time she turned two she was crawling and could stand with the help of leg braces and was courageously determined to walk.
Despite her constant fight Alex’s cancer was still growing. The day after her fourth birthday Alex found herself once again in the hospital receiving a stem cell transplant. Of all the things that could have been racing through the mind of a little four year old, Alex (now with stripes of wisdom earned well beyond her years) was thinking of others. She informed her parents that when she got home from the hospital she wanted to have a lemonade stand and raise money so the doctors could help other kids like they help her. Later that year she opened her first lemonade stand in the front yard of their Connecticut home and raised $2,000.
Though her family was still in an ongoing battle with Alex’s cancer they began holding yearly lemonade stands and donating the proceeds to childhood cancer research. As the word began to spread of this brave little girl, people all over the world opened lemonade stands and donated the money to Alex and her fight against childhood cancer.
By the time Alex turned 8, four short years after her first lemonade stand, she had been able to lead the way in raising over $1 million. Alex lost her single battle in August of that year. However, she didn’t lose the war! The war continues against childhood cancers and due to Alex’s drive to find a cure her parents, along with her three brothers, have been able to continue the fight, giving inspiration to supporters around the world through Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Today her Foundation has funded over three hundred research grants, helps families with travel expenses, raised more than $25 million dollars and conducts multiple events across the country. From their National Lemonade Days to Philadelphia’s annual “Yellow Tie” Gala, The Lemon Ball. L.A.’s annual culinary event, L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, features more than 30 chefs who prepare dishes and allow attendees to participate in a popular live auction opened this year by National Advisory Board Member and friend of the Foundation Jimmy Kimmel.
How simple an idea, like a lemonade stand, mixed with the passion to help others, could grow into a huge, life-changing foundation. Armed with childlike inability to be daunted by obstacles, we as adults won’t even try to tackle, Alex has made a difference. We may take moments throughout our lives to think of what kind of legacy we’ll leave once we are gone; what grand plan will seal our name in the pages of history. Maybe we should stop thinking and begin by actually making small, simple steps at helping those around us. You never know what good may evolve from those first tiny steps.
This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October. Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.