Above: Riley, Lauren and Jeremey celebrate a successful day of raising awareness for childrens cancer.
Photo Credit: netequityloans.com
Photo Credit: netequityloans.com
I saw evidence of this theme right off the bat when I attended the event of a young stand host on Saturday. The stand host, Riley Gillespie, may only be 12-years-old, but he has accomplished amazing things in his quest to help make life better for kids touched by cancer. Four of those kids are friends of Riley’s. Riley decided to get involved with ALSF after his very best friend was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. When that friend, Jeremey, reached his last chemotherapy treatment, Riley decided to hold a lemonade stand to celebrate. Since that time, three more of Riley’s friends have been touched by childhood cancer, and sadly two of them passed away earlier this year. If anything, this only made Riley’s dedication to the cause stronger, and he proved that this weekend. Riley hosted a lemonade stand, walk-a-thon and car show, organizing every last detail, and his hard work paid off when he was able raise more than $17,000 for the Foundation! What an amazing kid, and what an amazing community surrounding him and supporting him this weekend.
After being immensely inspired by a young child following in Alex’s footsteps, I was off to another special event, this one in my hometown of Windsor, Connecticut. As some of you may know, both Jay and I grew up in Windsor, and the town has acted as one of our largest support groups. The residents continue to hold events for the foundation and make sure everyone who passes through knows the story of Alex. For this particular event, more than 500 people came out to participate in a 3.5 mile race/walk known as the Tavern Trot. After the run itself, the community continued the celebration together, and when all was said and done had raised over $12,000!
Finally, though I wasn’t there, I heard a lot about a special event in upstate New York on Sunday. Actor Peter Facinelli, who is currently appearing in the Twilight movies, held an autograph signing with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Foundation. Along with his autographs, The Galleria at Crystal Run also allowed us to set up a lemonade stand to raise funds and quench the thirst of the fans in attendance. Speaking of the fans, hundreds, if not thousands showed up for the day. Scheduled to go from 12-5PM, there was still a line at 6PM when the mall was set to close. Luckily, the final fans were allowed to stay for their photos and Peter happily obliged. It was a wonderful day, which raised over $7,000 for ALSF.
In total, these three events raised over $30,000 for the Foundation in one weekend! While my husband and I, along with two of our sons, spent several hours in the car this weekend traveling to and attending events, it is nothing compared to what others have done to show their support. We hear a lot in the news these days about how the country is changing, but weekends like this one remind us that no matter what the economic state is, or what personal challenges people face, that the spirit of community remains. Whether that community is a group of Twilight fans coming together to meet one of the actors and in the process supporting a good cause; hundreds of people coming together in our hometown of Windsor to show their support; or a 12-year-old boy who brings an entire community together in honor of his four friends who just happen to be childhood cancer heroes, they all prove that the spirit of this country is very much alive.
We are so very thankful to have the privilege and honor of calling all of these communities supporters of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. They are proving that when we all come together, anything is possible. Alex knew that, and through events like these, we know it too.
- Liz Scott