Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Alex's Lemonade Season: I want your money

It is lemonade season in my household.

This means we shake down all our friends, families, colleagues, acquaintances, strangers, random people, pets and other people with wallets for cash for Lily's Annual Lemonade Stand for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Do you know how uncomfortable it is to ask people for money? (it is awful.)

I know that we probably irritate a fair share of people. Maybe you are irritated reading this. Maybe you are rolling your eyes.  Or maybe you are deciding that you will donate, later, when you have more time. Maybe you think that the donation you can afford to give is meaningless.

Every gift, every donation, it means the world to our family--and the thousands and thousands of other families who are affected by childhood cancer.

I want your money. I need your money. And here is why:

1. You know what is really irritating? Childhood cancer. Lily was 14 months when she diagnosed. Before her 2nd birthday, Lily endured 4 brain surgeries, 6 weeks of radiation to her brain and countless needle sticks, sedations and procedures. Lily will have an annual MRI for her entire life. Her tumor can come back. Kids with Lily's same diagnosis are dying--they are dying weekly. More kids are diagnosed everyday.  I'd like to roll my eyes at childhood cancer and then kick it in the face.

2. If Lily was forced to wait even one more day for a diagnosis, she might be dead. The pressure in her brain was so high it would have killed her. I think about that everyday.  And while I am a natural-born procrastinator, when it comes to finding a cure for childhood cancer, I won't wait.

3. The most uncomfortable place to sleep in the world: on a bench in the PICU at CHOP. We slept there for a month. And tonight, tomorrow and until we have a cure, mothers and fathers are all camped out in the war zone that is the PICU. Kids are there waiting for a cure and fighting for their lives.

4. I never wanted to host a lemonade stand. Ever. In fact, when I first heard about Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, I turned my head. It was so painful. It was so incredibly horrible to think about children battling cancer.  And then, I had a child who had cancer.  Cancer happens to real children. It is horrible to watch. It is sickening to know. While I wish that cancer was a nightmare everyday, I know I cannot wish away the truth. Now, we push lemonade. And someday, we will have a cure.

5. Everyday, I fear that Lily's tumor will come back. I am scared she won't grow up. I am scared she won't go to college. I am scared she will get scared and depressed.  I am scared she won't get married. I am scared she won't be a mother. I am scared that Chloe and Nicholas will lose their sister. I am scared; but I refuse to cower in the corner. It is fight or flight. And in the fight for my daughter's life, my weapon of choice is lemonade.

6. The most meaningful donation we ever received was approximately 67 cents from a little boy we did not know, who lived a couple towns over and somehow heard about Lily's stand and held his own at his family's garage sale. The boy was 7. His donation is the one donation I will always remember.

We needed his 67 cents. After he put into the jar and sipped his hard earned cup of lemonade:

We raised $10,000.

That is the power of YOUR donation. It inspires more and more and more. So give; give with your hearts, your wallets and whether it is 67 cents or 67 dollars or 67 million dollars, know that your donation with join all the others in our fight against childhood cancer.

One cup at a time.

Lily's 6th Annual Lemonade Stand is June 7, in our front yard. All proceeds go to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer and will help find a cure. Lily was diagnosed with ependymoma, a type of brain tumor, when she was just 14 months old. In August 2014, we will celebrate 7 years since treatment ended and 7 years of clear scans. We've always found our hope in a cup of lemonade and in the smile on our beautiful miracle girl's face. It is that smile we fight for, every day. Donate here: http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/1113863


  1. Who cares if a few people are irritated, as long as the end result helps kids!! Thank you for your efforts :)

  2. It's not easy asking for money, but we spend a dollar here and a dollar there on everything else that we don't need! So why not skip lunch out and today and donate? I did :)

  3. Kim's comment above is so very right. We spend money everywhere, needlessly. A wonderful place to donate to.:)

  4. This is for such a great cause, no one should be irritated!

  5. We are holding a stand on May 18th in honor of Lily... I've titled it "Lessons in Love & Hope" inspired by yours and her story. Wishing you all the best in the everyday moments and of course a very successful event on June 7th!!

    1. Oh Barb, how fantastic! ( : Can't wait to hear all about it!

  6. Trish, thank you for writing this. My wife and I raise money every year on behalf of Team Payton, named after our daughter who is a hero. You have managed to put into words exactly how we feel...every bit of it. The pain comes from all directions but in the end it is the hope that drives us. Good luck this year and we hope to catch you at an event.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Brian. It is nice to meet you here and I look forward to seeing you at an ALFS event soon!

  7. I will be stopping by the lemonade stand. Keep up the good work!