Phila. Child’s Cancer Battle Inspires Giving

September 22, 2004 1 min read

When life gives you lemons, turn them into lemonade. That positive outlook is what one little girl who recently lost her battle with cancer communicated to more than a hundred schoolchildren in the 200,000-student Philadelphia school district this summer.

School officials there set up student-manned lemonade stands to help raise money for pediatric-cancer research. The fund-raiser was inspired by Alexandra Scott, who had decided at age 4 to sell lemonade to help pay for cancer research after she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a severe childhood cancer. Best known as Alex, she died last month at age 8.

“This is a great thing for kids to learn-that they can make a difference,” said Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the district.

Alex, he said, was a great example because her determination showed students that even a child who was critically ill could still reach out and help others. If she could do it, so could they.

Teachers spoke to students before the July fund-raising event and discussed the issue of cancer, the importance of financing research, and how the students could make a difference in the lives of others by contributing a little of their time.

The youngsters really liked the idea, Mr. Gallard said.

With plenty of volunteers, the district turned to the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co., which donated 625 cases of canned lemonade, and to Alex’s family, to help host the event.

Some 150 students and 30 teachers volunteered to run 30 lemonade stands throughout Philadelphia, selling lemonade for $1 a can. They raised $8,500, which was donated to Alex Scott’s Lemonade Stand campaign. The program, begun by Alex and her parents, offers research grants to organizations studying childhood cancer. It has raised more than $1 million.

Alex’s family intends to continue her campaign and has published a children’s book, Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand.