Today at 1 p.m., Collingswood Middle School students will seek to raise $1,000 in their annual Walk-a-Thon to benefit the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
The charity, which is well-known throughout the Delaware Valley, began 12 years ago by pediatric cancer patient Alexandra Scott, who braved her disease by establishing a lemonade stand to raise money for similarly ailing children.
Scott died at age 8 in 2004, but the innocence of her story inspired a movement that resonates with children and families nationwide.
Put simply, there is a unique beauty to the selfless, compassionate nature of youth. Every year, the foundation allows us to see it in the outreach of a few small, helping hands.
Margaret Ralston, 7, and Sarah Shellenberger, 8, were introduced to the idea of Alex’s Lemonade Stand when they were 4 “because that's how old Alex was when she started,” says Ralston.
Learning of Scott’s circumstances “made us feel really sad,” Shellenberger says. “It wasn't really fair because all the other kids got to still be alive and go to school.”
When the girls and their parents decided to participate in the fundraiser, the charity sent them a book to help explain Alex’s disease to the children. In it were “all kinds of pictures of Alex and her mom and dad,” Shellenberger says.
“It felt good to raise money for her,” Shellenberger says.
“When we first started it it was kind of hard because nobody knew what was happening, but when people started coming by the next summer, they realized it was a donation,” she says.
“I got to help somebody and I got to be with my friends.”
“You can feel good about yourself,” says Ralston. “All kids come to help you.”
Last year the girls raised $300; this year they’re hoping to exceed that amount by setting up shop at the Oaklyn Public School Spring Fling, which will be held May 12.
When asked what they like most about Scott’s story, the girls say they are inspired by her commitment to helping her fellow patients.
“She just wanted to help other kids because she had a very kind heart,” Ralston says. “She loved to do things for kids.”