Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation “Hero” Mary was 4-years-old when she was diagnosed with a rare, deadly brain tumor called a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). This diagnosis came with many things for young Mary’s family: fear, a poor prognosis and a loss of hope.
This heart-wrenching situation is all too common among families – and is growing increasingly worse. Childhood cancer is on the rise, increasing a steady 0.8% per year since 1976.
It’s so easy to feel powerless in the face of childhood cancer. But, fortunately, there organizations like Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) that are empowering everyone to get involved in the fight.
In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Naturepedic is teaming up with ALSF. We’re excited to shine a light on the important work ALSF is doing and we hope you’ll join the fight, too. Read on the learn more!
Why Is Childhood Cancer on the Rise?
Cancer cases in adults continue to fall, but childhood cases are rising. This begs the question: why? Here are some potential causes.
Many experts believe that increased childhood cancer rates could be the result of environmental factors. Over the past 50 years, more toxic chemicals have been released into our air and water than ever before, and the problem is only getting worse. Combined with genetic traits, toxic chemicals in our environment are a likely cause for the sharp increase in many different childhood cancers.
Toxic Chemicals at Home
Concentrations of carcinogenic VOCs are consistently higher in our homes than they are outside. Why is that? It’s because these chemicals are used in many common household products, such as:
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Makes a Difference
To learn more about what ALSF is, how the organization started and the action they are taking to support childhood cancer research, we asked ALSF Senior Partnership Coordinator Selina Andrews to tell us more about the organization. Check out our Q&A session below!
Q: What is Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation?
A: At Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, we believe that a lemonade stand can cure childhood cancer. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, ALSF is focused on funding innovative and impactful research that will provide safer treatments and cures for all types of pediatric cancers. By raising awareness, supporting families facing a diagnosis and empowering everyone to make a difference, ALSF is turning lemons into lemonade, one cup at a time.
Q: Most big stories start small – our Naturepedic story started newborn-baby small. Where did ALSF’s story begin?
A: Alexandra “Alex” Scott was born to Liz and Jay Scott in Manchester, Connecticut, on January 18, 1996. She loved French fries and playing with her kitten, Herbert, and she dreamt of becoming a fashion designer. Shortly before her first birthday, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer. After receiving a stem cell transplant at four years old, she announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand.
But she wasn’t keeping the money for herself. She wanted to hold a stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Her spirit and determination inspired others to support her cause, and when she passed away at the age of eight, she had raised $1 million. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation honors Alex’s courage and generosity and carries on her mission.
Q: Curing childhood cancer is a big goal. There are so many types of cancer, and each is treated differently. Where do the funds raised for ALSF go?
A: ALSF funds cutting-edge medical research grants at leading hospitals and institutions across the globe that have led to lifesaving discoveries and safer, more effective treatments.
We select research projects through a rigorous peer review process with expert advice from our Scientific Advisory Board comprised of esteemed pediatric cancer researchers across the country. ALSF is a leader in funding studies that engage early career researchers, drive innovation and improve quality of life and care.
ALSF also knows firsthand the difficulties of childhood cancer families and offers family services programs that can help. Programs like Travel For Care, which provides flight, lodging and gas cards for families that must travel for treatment, and SuperSibs, which offers emotional support and comfort to siblings of children with cancer, help ease the burden of these families.
Q: How much money has ALSF raised?
A: Today, ALSF is one of the leading funders of pediatric cancer research in the U.S. and Canada raising more than $250 million so far, funding over 1,000 research projects and providing programs to families affected by childhood cancer.
Q: Wrapping up our interview on a note of hopefulness, are there any new or exciting developments in the research field you would like to share?
A: ALSF’s Crazy 8 Initiative is one of the Foundation’s newest research programs, but it’s also one of our most exciting and ambitious. Its goal is to tackle the most difficult challenges facing childhood cancer research with the goal of “curing the incurable.”
The initiative started with bringing 90 leading researchers from across the globe to Philadelphia to meet and construct the roadmap to cures for this project. This summer, we awarded two new Crazy 8 grants, bringing our total commitment to $26 million across six projects that span 21 institutions from Austria to California. These collaborative projects have already made exciting progress towards potential treatments for kids with some of the deadliest cancers. More information can be found at Crazy8Projects.org.
Naturepedic, ALSF and Healthier Sleep for You!
You know us here at Naturepedic for our certified organic, certified non-toxic, planet-friendly mattresses – but we’re so much more than just a mattress manufacturer. A leader in the organic sleep field, we understand the harm that toxic chemicals can cause to our children. So, in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we’re teaming up with ALSF to make a change.
Naturepedic supports the important work ALSF is doing, and we’ve set a goal to raise $25,000 in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to help their efforts. When you shop our organic mattresses and sleep accessories now through October 9, not only will you save 10% OFF sitewide – we’ll take another 10% of your purchase and donate it to ALSF. You can also donate directly to our ALSF fundraiser here.
Other Ways to Support ALSF
ALSF has many options for families, businesses and schools to get involved. From holding lemonade stands or hosting a virtual fundraiser to participating in one of ALSF’s in-person or virtual events, there is something for anyone who wants to get involved.
No fundraiser or idea is too big or small. More ideas and information can be found at Alexslemonade.org.
The Power of Hope
Remember ALSF Hero Mary from the beginning of this post? Thankfully, Mary’s story isn’t over yet. Her doctors told her family about a clinical trial at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. The trial, funded in part by ALSF, uses CAR-T immunotherapy to target the tumor. Mary enrolled in the trial, and her family began making monthly visits to Stanford, a thousand miles away from their home in Colorado. ALSF is supporting the family’s travel expenses through their Travel For Care program.
Mary’s family has hope again as she continues treatment. She gets to enjoy her childhood around treatment and fights every day for a cancer-free future.
“You are not alone,” Andrews reminds families who are currently dealing with this terrible disease. “Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation offers many programs and tools to help families navigate the challenges of having a child with cancer. We are here to help.”