My name is Aimee Jackson, and I was blessed to be a mother of twins, Kendall and Zachary. Zach is a typical fourth grader, loves martial arts and basketball, and is an active cub scout. Sadly, his brother Kendall was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of pediatric cancer, just after their second birthday.
Zach was treated with some of the most aggressive drugs, radiation and nuclear medicine agents available. He endured multiple surgeries and scans, as well as three stem cell transplants (his own cells). Through it all he laughed, played, danced, and charmed everyone he met. Kendall fought hard, but died just before their fifth birthday. During that time, I met some of the most amazing people in the world – children with cancer and their families. One of those families was Alex Scott’s.
Alex Scott died of the neuroblastoma too. At the age of four, she decided to hold a lemonade stand to raise money for her doctors so that they could find a cure for her and her friends. Through her determination and inspiration, by the time she died she had met her goal of raising one million dollars. To date, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over 50 million dollars and funded over 200 grants.
No one should have to suffer from this horrible disease, but particularly for children, it is just unfair. Many of these kids never really get a chance to be a child, let alone grow up. Of those who do survive, many face daily challenges and continuing health problems related to the treatment or to the disease itself.
One of the most astonishing things I learned during my son’s treatment is that, comparatively, little government funding goes towards pediatric cancer research, and not many developed treatments have been designed specifically for childhood cancers. It is non-profit organizations, like Alex’s Lemonade Stand, that help to fill this gap in funding through their research grants, and help to make treatment more manageable for children and their families through their nursing grants and travel fund.
I want to encourage everyone to stop by the IPS booth #3136 at the INTERPHEX Conference on May 1st and May 2nd to enjoy a glass of ice cold lemonade and make a donation in honor of these very brave children. You may also donate online at their fundraising website: http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/81258
Aimee Jackson is a Hero Ambassador for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and will be at INTERPHEX in IPS Booth #3136