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Lemon aid.

Seven-year-old Alexandra Scott resides in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, with her parents and three brothers. But the family was living in Connecticut when, two days before Alexandra's first birthday, physicians found a growth on her spinal column. It was diagnosed as neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer that proves fatal in about 40 percent of cases.

Alex (as she prefers to be called) underwent the first of numerous surgeries on her birthday, and has also undergone stem-cell transplants, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. The initial surgery removed 99 percent of the tumor, but the stubborn growth persisted.

At age four, while being treated at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center (CCMC) in Hartford, Alex came up with the idea of running a lemonade stand to raise money for pediatric cancer research. Her first "stand" against cancer in July 2000 raised $2,000 (at 50 cents per cup) for CCMC.

Unfortunately, little progress was made in treating Alex's neuroblastoma. Her parents were given the name of a physician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), one of two U.S. hospitals authorized to use new experimental procedures. The physician started Alex on a radioactive iodine treatment, which stabilized her condition. So the Scotts decided to move to Wynnewood so that the family could be together while Alex underwent additional therapy at CHOP. The medical textbook company for which her father, Jason, works as a regional sales representative arranged to transfer him to Pennsylvania. In October 2001, Alex opened another stand. Students and faculty at her elementary school chipped in to help, and the effort raised around $6,000 for CHOP.

In April 2002, five-year-old Toireasa Barry, one of Alex's friends, died of neuroblastoma. Two months later, Alex again set up a lemonade stand in front of her home and raised about $15,000 for "Toireasa's Dream," a cancer-research endowment in her friend's memory. With contributions burgeoning, the Scotts registered "Alex's Lemonade Stand Fund" with the Philadelphia Foundation, which promotes philanthropy and administers charities. The foundation manages the money while the Scotts suggest the recipients. The step was taken in part, Mrs. Scott says, because "we didn't want anybody questioning our intentions."

Foundation spokesman Phil Arkow describes the response to Alex's charitable endeavors as "unbelievable." The list of donors during 2002 alone ran more than four pages and included some 600 names, more than any of the other 550 charities administered by the foundation. Some donations have come from other countries, including money from Japan and dolls from Russia.

A few weeks earlier, on May 7th, administrators and students at Philadelphia's Clara Barton Elementary School, inspired by Alex's example, raised $6,500 by shaving their heads or trimming their ponytails to make wigs for young cancer patients. And on June 7th, Alex again opened the lemonade stand outside her home and collected another $14,000. Four days later, she received the Philadelphia Foundation's "philanthropist of the year" award.

Alex recently completed first grade at Penn Wynne Elementary School in Wynnewood, where about 30 schoolmates have also established lemonade stands to help raise funds. Mr. and Mrs. Scott have described their daughter's remarkable story (she has to date generated contributions estimated to exceed $110,000) in a children's book that they hope to have published soon, with all proceeds earmarked for "Alex's Lemonade Stand Fund."
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Title Annotation:The Goodness Of America
Author:Lee, Robert W.
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 6, 2003
Words:548
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