The NMU branch of Alex’s Lemonade Stand held its second annual Lemon Run on Sunday, Oct. 24. Beginning at 1 p.m., NMU students and community members walked or ran two miles inside the Superior Dome. The noncompetitive event coincided with the Lemon Run held by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer, which will receive the money raised by the run at NMU.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) was started in 2005 by the parents of Alex Scott, a young girl who died from neuroblastoma at the age of 8. When she was four, Alex began holding yearly lemonade stands to raise money for childhood cancer research. The foundation was started to carry on her mission to help children like herself.
Today, the organization has raised over $35 million to fund pediatric cancer research projects, to cover travel expenses for families of children receiving treatment and to develop resources to help those affected by childhood cancer.
The ALSF group at NMU was started last year by Meghan Connell, a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in psychology. Connell, who ultimately hopes to become a pediatric psychologist, was inspired to bring the organization to campus after volunteering at a camp for children with cancer.
“It’s made such a huge impact on my life,” Connell said about the camp, which is called One Step at a Time. “If you ever have a chance to meet a child with cancer, their hope and their inspiration is just so refreshing.”
Instead of starting an entirely new organization, Connell chose to represent the already established charity.
“I chose Alex’s Lemonade Stand because it’s one of a kind. It was started by a little girl who had cancer and has lived on through her family and others who care about the cause she started,” Connell said.
Zach Bartel, a senior secondary education and Spanish major, chose to participate in the Lemon Run after hearing about the event from friends and then researching the cause.
“It’s a simple thing to do and it’s not asking that much. Hopefully it will make a genuine difference in at least a few kids’ experiences,” Bartel said.
The group’s goal for this year’s Lemon Run was to raise more money than at last year’s run, which brought in $2,300. Although participation dropped from 223 runners to 177 this year, the group collected $2,678.
The money came from registration fees, a silent auction of over 40 items, money from sponsors left over after event costs, and through the Kohl’s Associates in Action program.
Kohl’s Associates in Action helps nonprofit organizations that benefit children in the community. Store employees volunteered at the Lemon Run, and in return Kohl’s gave a $500 grant to ALSF.
Abby Bush, a senior finance major and vice president of NMU’s ALSF, knows how cancer can affect a family.
“My own mother had breast cancer a few years ago. It’s easy to get involved when you’re fighting for something that’s close to your heart,” Bush said.
Bush emphasized the value of advocating for this cause.
“It’s so important to raise awareness for pediatric cancer, because so many children fall victim to cancer each year. We need to do our part by helping in the fight. Alex’s Lemonade Stand is just one way in which you can get your voice heard in raising awareness for childhood cancer research,” Bush said.
ALSF is appreciative of the efforts of the NMU group.
“Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation is honored to have the support of students at Northern Michigan University,” said Gillian Kocher, foundation spokesperson.
“Planning a large scale event like their Lemon Run takes a great deal of commitment, and it is clear through their fundraising that they followed through with that commitment and attained immense success,” Kocher said.