I’ve talked before about the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. I’m a huge fan of what they do, and how they do it. I’ve read their story, I’ve shared their links (you’ll find ‘em right over <----- there in my side bar!)
I got to learn more about the ALSF a few years ago, but it was for all the wrong reasons. As I sat in church one Sunday morning, they shared with us the news. A little girl, not yet five years old, who was in Sunday School with my boys, had been diagnosed that week with neuroblastoma.
Cancer. Stage 4. The week before her fifth birthday.
There were no words. Only prayers, and tears. And lots of internet surfing. I needed to know more. I needed to understand. And along the way, I met others. And suddenly, this cancer, this beast that was so distant to me was squarely in my face. There were families trying to hang on to a sense of normalcy while their children underwent chemo and radiation treatments. There were stem-cell transplants and weeks of isolation. There were celebrations when doctors declared “NED – No Evidence of Disease”, and there were tears when little ones earned their angel wings.
This past week, many bloggers that I visit have shared this little button:
That beautiful baby, at 16 months old, is one of the most recent to get the diagnosis.
I won’t lie. I HATE this disease. Hate is such a strong word, but there is no other that will come close. It’s the right one. For so many years, when I thought of cancer, I thought of adults. I thought of smokers. I thought of sunbathers. I envisioned first those who knowingly engaged in risky behaviors. That was followed by adults facing things like breast cancer, or colon cancer. But it was always ADULTS. Never, not ever, did it cross my mind that it was striking out at infants. At little girls who were just getting the training wheels off their bicycles. At little boys who were just learning to throw a baseball. At innocent, pure, unsuspecting children, who had never smoked a cigarette, or spent summer after summer laying in the sun, and winters in a tanning bed. Hate.
I’m so blessed that my children are healthy, and many of you are, too. Today, I want to encourage you to do something for those who are fighting. Some things are very easy to do – Applebee’s partners with the ALSF, and has raised over $1.2 million since 2005 through in-store fundraising. Chili’s raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where groundbreaking treatment options are shared with pediatric oncologists across the country. Often, just eating at these places results in you making a difference! June presents the ALSF’s National Lemonade Days – a great opportunity to hold your own stand, raising both funds and awareness.
And there – that’s the big one. Awareness. Share that button. Follow Alex’s Lemonade on Twitter, and retweet for them every once in a while. Find an organization that works for you if the ALSF isn’t it. Just tell someone. Please?