On any given street corner all summer long, you’re likely to find a gaggle of kids hawking lemonade and cookies.
But some of those would-be salesmen and –women are selling for a good cause.
This Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29, Madison King, 9, Owen Greco, 9, and Nadia Greco, 7, will set up a lemonade stand at 8434 Rollercoaster Drive, Cicero, and donate the proceeds to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a charity that funds pediatric cancer research.
Lisa King, Madison’s mother, said the children, who are neighbors, host the stand every year because they recognize the importance of the charity.
“They feel that raising money in support of pediatric cancer research is such an important cause,” she said. “It relates to children in their own age bracket.”
Last year, the youths raised money in honor of their school librarian at Cicero Elementary as she battled cancer. This year, though they’re not honoring anyone in particular, Madison, Owen and Nadia think their efforts are just as important.
“They want to make sure pediatric cancer research is at the front of people’s minds,” said Lisa King.
The King-Greco stand is one of hundreds, if not thousands, hosted by kids nationwide to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which was started in 2004 in honor of Alexandra “Alex” Scott. Alex was diagnosed with neuroblastoma shortly before her first birthday and defied doctors’ predictions that she’d likely never walk. She underwent rigorous treatment and, the day after her 4th birthday in 2000, told her mother, “When I get out of the hospital, I want to have a lemonade stand [to] help kids like me.”
With the help of her older brother, Alex put together a lemonade stand and managed to raise $2,000 for pediatric cancer research. She continued the fundraisers every year, despite the fact that she was continuing to battle her own disease. Her story spread, inspiring others to contribute to the cause; people across the nation held lemonade stands and contributed money to Liz and Jay Scott’s little girl’s charity.
In 2004, Alex succumbed to her cancer. But by that point, she and others had managed to raise more than $1 million for pediatric cancer research.
In her honor, the Scotts founded Alex’s Lemonade Stand foundation in 2005, allowing people like the Kings and the Grecos to continue to hold lemonade stands in her name. Since the Alex opened her first stand, more than $55 million has been raised, helping the foundation to fund more than 250 cutting-edge research projects, create a travel program to help support families of children receiving treatment and develop resources to help people everywhere affected by childhood cancer.
Most important of all, the foundation allows kids to make a huge contribution, something they often feel they can’t do, said Gillian Kocher, media liaison for the foundation.
“We are thrilled that Owen, Nadia and Madison are hosting an Alex’s Lemonade Stand to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer following in the footsteps of our founder Alex, who believed that you are never too young to make a difference,” Kocher said. “Childhood cancer remains the leading disease killer of children under the age of 15 in the United States, and it is vital that research continue toward finding better treatments and ultimately cures for all kids with cancer. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is able to do just that through the support of volunteers just like Owen, Nadia and Madison.”
The Cicero children started hosting the stand two years ago after learning about a similar effort Lisa King had made in the past.
“Probably about six or seven years ago, I heard about the foundation through word of mouth, and I wanted to make a conscious effort to help, so I hosted a stand at my house,” King said. “This year, we wanted to do it again. It’s a great event, and it’s wonderful to see it through their eyes.”
In addition to raising money for an important cause, the lemonade stand provides an important lesson for the children.
“I think it’s important for Madison and her friends to continue their efforts,” said Lisa King. “It reminds them not to take life for granted and to be thoughtful of others around you, and to be grateful for what you do have.”
Last year, the youths raised a total of $1,257.08 with a $100 match from Carrier Corp. Lisa King said she hopes for an even bigger turnout this year.
“We’re just hoping people can stop out whether it’s to offer encouragement or well wishes, or if they can make that small contribution,” she said. “We’re really hoping to raise awareness of an important cause, regardless of the financial donations we get. It’s such an important cause, and we hope to have the community’s support.”
The stand will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29, at the Kings’ home, 8434 Rollercoaster Drive, Cicero. For more information about Alex’s Lemonade Stand or to learn how to host a stand of your own, visit alexslemonade.org.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.