Tropical Treats, just north around the corner from the Bethany Beach bandstand, will be setting up a special “Alex’s Lemonade Stand” on Saturday, July 9.
Eight-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott formed Alex’s Lemonade Stand for Pediatric Cancer Research in 2004, shortly before her death from the disease, and the organization carries forth her cause.
According to the Web site at www.alexslemonade.com, Scott was diagnosed with neuroblastoma (an aggressive form of pediatric cancer) shortly before her first birthday.
In July 2000, at age 4, she opened her first lemonade stand to raise money for a cure.
Scott raised $2,000 for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center that year.
Her family moved in 2001, pursuing experimental treatment options, and Scott raised $600 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) that year.
Her lemonade stand raised $18,000 for CHOP in 2002 — and people had started to take notice. Scott raised even more money in 2003, and in 2004, with people across the country running lemonade stands to support her efforts, Alex’s Lemonade Stand raised $220,000 in one day.
While doctors haven’t yet found a cure for neuroblastoma, that sympathetic response has raised more than $2 million for research. The organization funds an endowment at CHOP (www.chop.edu), and supports research and data management positions at the University of California-San Francisco Children’s Hospital and the University of Michigan-Mott’s Children’s Hospital.
One of the cancer treatments Scott received is available in the U.S. only at those three hospitals.
Alex’s Lemonade also supports children’s hospitals in Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Connecticut and Nevada, a “young investigator” position at the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation and a research fellowship focused on reducing the side effects of chemotherapy through Hope Street Kids.
This year, Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex has brought a little extra celebrity power to the cause — but even before he hit the big time, the racehorse’s owners had been donating a portion of his earnings to Alex’s Lemonade Stand every time he did well in a race.
According to Tropical Treats co-owner Krista Littleton, her mother, Debbie, had come up with the idea to run a stand themselves, after seeing Scott on television the previous year with the news of her passing.
Littleton took the idea and ran with it. She spread the word, and a family member of one of the shop’s employees built a replica of Scott’s original lemonade stand. They’ll have that set up in front of Tropical Treats on July 9.
“We sell so much lemonade. It’s such a large part of our overall sales. So we decided to donate 100 percent of our profits from lemonade sales that day,” Littleton explained.
She paraphrased the Alex’s Lemonade motto – “fighting pediatric cancer, one cup at a time.” The organization is now targeting a $5 million goal, she said.
“She was just a person who cared about everyone else, and she was only 8 years old,” she said. “It’s important for us to let the public know her story — to let everyone know they can make a difference.”