A little rain last Friday didn’t deter a group of summer campers from having their annual fundraiser.
After all, the inconvenience of an afternoon drizzle pales in comparison to the challenges faced by the children they were raising money and awareness for.
For the fourth year in a row, The Learning Treehouse in Rincon hosted an Alex’s Lemonade Stand to help in the fight against children’s cancer.
The campers collected donations for lemonade and baked goods for three-and-a-half hours and brought in a little more than $1,000, the highest amount in The Learning Treehouse’s four years of the fundraiser.
“They see it as a fun way to help,” said Learning Treehouse owner Ashley Boland. “They don’t care if it’s raining; they’re out there doing their thing and trying to help. These are children helping children.”
The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation began with a front-yard lemonade stand run by young cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott. Just 4 years old at the time, Alex held a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer.
Alex died in 2004 at age 8, but her legacy lives on. The foundation bearing her name reports raising a million dollars before she died and more than $60 million since her death.
Though the summer campers at The Learning Treehouse are 5 to 12 years old, they are fully aware of Alex’s story. As she does each summer, Boland discussed it with the children prior to them hosting Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
“They said, ‘She didn’t get to raise all the money before she died,’ and I said, ‘Because you’re helping raise it. You’re part of this,’” Boland said. “They’re learning how to give and help people in their community and beyond, and they’re learning to do it young.”
As Cullen Peel, 12, explained, “It makes me feel good that I’m helping people while I’m having fun, too.”
Makayla Croft, 6, added: “Alex’s Lemonade Stand is about Alex starting it and making a million dollars, and people do it for now on to help raise more money for the other people who have cancer.”
That said, some of the younger children don’t understand the cause quite as well as the older ones do — but they all want to chip in.
“Some of them will say, ‘Well, (Alex) lost her hair. We’re helping people who get sick and lose their hair,’” Boland said. “They don’t always get the gist of the story, but that’s fine. They’re excited, they know they do it every summer, they know they’re raising money and not keeping it for themselves and it’s going to help sick children.”
All 35 of the summer campers took turns working the lemonade stand. When they weren’t doling out lemonade and goodies, the children were greeting customers or waving signs to get the attention of passers-by.
“I like working the stand the best. It’s just fun,” said Justin Wilcox, 11.
Makayla certainly got into the spirit of it, calling out to customers in her best carnival-barker voice.
“We got frozen treats! We got cookies!” she bellowed.
The Learning Treehouse’s best-ever total for Alex’s Lemonade Stand was boosted by the organizers promoting it on Facebook for the first time. Also, parents were e-mailed a link to make donations online.
For more information about the foundation, visit www.AlexsLemonade.org.