When Life Gives You Lemons, You Make Alex's Lemonade
When my daughter was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, I knew nothing about Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer (ALSF). Then one morning in June while she was upstairs at the Children's Hospital of Phildelphia in the PICU recovering from brain surgery, I went downstairs to buy a cup of lemonade.
CHOP was buzzing with excitement — it was the ALSF annual Lemonade Days. I, however, was in a bad place. The day before Lily had complications during a procedure. I hated the world. I hated everything and everyone. I was spent.
Then I heard Alex's mother, Liz Scott, speak. I only remember one word that Liz said:
Hearing this amazing woman and mother, who lost her child, tell me to have hope, saved me.
My daughter Lily is a 6-year-old brain tumor survivor. She was diagnosed when she was 14-months old, after weeks of throwing up. Her pediatrician kept diagnosing a GI bug and a bladder infection. Finally, we begged for more answers and we were sent to the emergency room at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Within 30 minutes we had our answer: a brain tumor.
Those are two words, you never, ever want to hear as a parent.
Lily has endured multiple brain surgeries, seven weeks of proton radiation and continued therapies to help improve her motor skills and strengthen her muscles. Brain surgery damaged Lily's overall muscle tone and coordination. Therapy and hard work have brought Lily full circle. The little girl who once could not walk, now runs and tumbles and dances. She is a shining beacon of hope and strength and love.
But we know that Lily's battle is not unique. Everyday, 46 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer. Everyday, 46 mothers and fathers learn that their child will begin the fight for their lives. Seven children die everyday at the hands of childhood cancer. 46 children is 46 too many. The suffering has to stop.
Our Lemonade Stand
It because of these children that our family holds an Alex's Lemonade Stand to support ALSF every year. For the past four years, our family has hosted a Lemonade Stand in our front yard and online to raise money for Alex’s.
Childhood cancer research is consistently underfunded and under researched. But ALSF is working to change that. Since 2004, the foundation has made a major impact–raising over $50 million for research. It all started with Alex–a little girl who was really sick and really wise. Alex knew that every penny counts and every donation adds up.
This year, our family aims to raise $10,000 for a cure to all forms of childhood cancer. It is an enormous goal–but it is one we hope to reach with the help of kind and generous friends
Every donation–whether $5 or $50 counts. When you buy a cup (or 100 cups, please!), you will be sipping in the beautiful stories of some of my favorite people in the world, my heroes. In honor of all those children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who fight, have fought and will continue to sell lemonade for their friends, until cures for pediatric cancer are found, I ask, I beg you to raise a glass to these amazing blessings.
Together, we will beat childhood cancer, one icy cold, sweet cup of lemonade at a time!
To donate to Lily's stand: http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/80920
To donate in person, come to the stand on June 9, in Lily's front yard in Lindenwold, NJ. There will be loads of great activities for the kids: face painting, a sour lemon face contest, moon bounce, crafts, raffle prizes and much more!
Lily speaks in support of Alex's Lemonade Stand
Trish Adkins is a South Jersey mom. This post is adapted from her blog, Yoke.