When Alexandra Scott was four years old she set up a lemonade stand in her front yard. Although most children attempt to hold a lemonade stand at least once, Alex’s stand was a little different. Just prior to her first birthday Alex was diagnosed with aggressive childhood cancer. Three years later she was still battling it and underwent a stem cell transplant.
Shortly after coming home from the hospital, Alex set up a lemonade stand. She told her mom she wanted to raise money for her hospital so they could help other kids with cancer like they helped her. Alex’s first stand accumulated $2,000 dollars, and she donated it all to her hospital.
For the next four years until her death in 2004, Alex held her annual lemonade stand. People came from miles around to purchase a glass of lemonade from her, sometimes willing to pay hundreds of dollars. Alex’s Lemonade Stand evolved into a nation-wide project with people all over the country setting up lemonade stands in her name. At the time of Alex’s death at age 8, she had contributed over 1 million dollars to cancer research.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand lives on even today. There are Alex’s Lemonade Stands in cities and campuses all over the country, “fighting childhood cancer, one cup at a time.” To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over 35 million dollars, used to fund approximately 150 cancer research projects.
The cliche old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” comes to mind. However, it is important to remember that simply squeezing the juice out of the lemons doesn’t automatically make lemonade. This only makes lemon juice, which is just as sour as the lemon. In order to make lemonade the juice requires sugar and water to tame the bitterness. But the sour flavor of the lemons never goes away, even after the sugar and water are added.
When things go wrong in life, sometimes there is nothing you can physically do to take away the bitterness of it. In Alex’s case, there was nothing she could do to change the fact that she had cancer and that it was a sad and scary thing. But she found a way to serve others who felt the same pain as her, and although this did not make having cancer any more enjoyable, suddenly her situation was not just lemons and lemon juice. She added another aspect to her life that made the lemons more bearable. She made lemonade.