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The Fight Against Childhood Cancer

Despite groundbreaking advancements in research and treatment, curing children’s cancer still remains one of the toughest challenges of our time. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 10,400 United States children were diagnosed with cancer in 2007 - a foreboding figure that validates every hypothesis of childhood cancer being the leading cause of death among U.S children. Fortunately, the remarkable work of pediatric cancer charities all over the world is catalyzing pioneering research into treatments and cures for children’s cancer. An inspirational exemplar of such a nonprofit is Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), which boasts a two-fold mission of raising funds for childhood cancer-oriented research, and empowering others, particularly youth, to make a difference in the lives of children afflicted with cancer. I was able to get some insight from Cara Cassidy, ALSF's Fundraising Specialist, regarding her involvement with the organization and the impact of leveraging the power of youth in the fight against childhood cancer.

VolunTEEN Nation: How does ALSF aim to "fight childhood cancer, one cup at a time"?

ALSF has raised more than $75 million to date and has funded over 375 research projects nationally. These funds have also created a travel program to help support families of children receiving treatment and developed resources to help people everywhere affected by childhood cancer.

Fundraising events held by supporters all over the world help to spread awareness and raise much needed funds for childhood cancer research. ALSF events are held throughout the year and are a significant part of continuing Alex’s legacy of hope in finding a cure.

The Foundation also holds several special events during the year to help boost our fundraising efforts. Some of these events include an annual 5K and walk, bike ride and Alex’s Original Lemonade Stand at Alex’s elementary school.

VolunTEEN Nation: Can you tell us more about ALSF's National Lemonade Days' 10 year anniversary?

This year marks 10 years since National Lemonade Days started. National Lemonade Days signifies the time of year when Alex held her annual lemonade stand, and it has become an annual June tradition that raises over $1 million for childhood cancer research through thousands of stands and activities!  

VolunTEEN Nation: How can youth get involved with ALSF?

There are several ways that young people can get involved at ALSF. We encourage this by holding a fundraising event to help spread awareness and raise much needed funds for childhood cancer research. A few fundraising ideas include holding a lemonade stand or bake sale, collecting change, hosting a virtual fundraiser and participating in an athletic event.

We would love to get as many supporters as we can involved during National Lemonade Days and reach our goal of $1 million! If you are unable to hold an event during this specific weekend, you can certainly hold one at any time of the year! Youths of all ages can get involved with ALSF and be sure to visit our website to learn about our opportunities!

VolunTEEN Nation: What inspires you about ALSF's mission and vision?

ALSF’s mission is simple yet impactful: to raise money and awareness of childhood cancer causes, primarily research into new treatments and cures, and to encourage and empower others, especially children, to get involved and make a difference for children with cancer.

The Foundation was started by Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who while fighting neuroblastoma, began holding lemonade stands to raise funds to help find a cure for all childhood cancers. By the time she passed away in 2004, Alex had raised more than $1 million to help find a cure for all kids with cancer. People from all over the world are inspired by her story and have continued Alex’s legacy by holding their own lemonade stands and donating the money to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Alex’s passion and determination to help kids just like her is what inspires us every day to continue working to fight childhood cancer, one cup at a time.

VolunTEEN Nation: Why is leveraging the power of youth in the fight against childhood cancer important to you?

Youth can easily relate to Alex’s vision and they are so pivotal in making a difference in their communities. It is very powerful when youths come together behind a cause and are able to spread awareness about the significance of finding a cure for childhood cancer. It is also a great way for them to work together as a team and promote philanthropy. Young people of all ages can get involved at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation!

VolunTEEN Nation: What, to you, are ALSF's biggest accomplishments / achievements?

Since Alex’s first stand in 2000, the Foundation has raised more than $75 million and funded over 375 research projects nationally. This has been a huge achievement as we continue to grow overall as a Foundation. Our Travel Fund program has helped numerous families affected by the disease with transportation, lodging and meal costs. This program has been very significant in helping families get their children the proper treatment and care when it is not always easy for them.

Our grassroots fundraising events are the core of how we got started and continue to be an important part of how money is raised for the cause.

Our sponsors/partners also play a major role in contributing to our efforts. As we continue these relationships and acquire new ones, it helps us to build on Alex’s vision.

VolunTEEN Nation: Why do you love being part of ASLF?

I work with many of our families, businesses, schools and community groups who fundraise for the Foundation by holding lemonade stands and other unique events. I enjoy seeing how these supporters are making a difference through their efforts which is affecting children with cancer. It is a great feeling knowing that we as a Foundation, but also our supporters, are working hard every day to spread awareness and continue Alex’s legacy.