Journal Entry

Sunday, June 13, 2004

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!"

Raising Money for Pediatric Cancer
Research - one cup at a time!

Tiffin, Ohio stand to be run by Alex's friend
and fellow cancer fighter,

Christi Thomas

Friday, June 25th 2004

10:00AM - 2:00 PM

on "Lemonade Lane"- outside of the
Old Fort Bank - Westgate Branch

(in Tiffin / across from McDonalds)

*in case of inclement weather, the stand will be moved inside the bank

The big day has finally been planned! Christi is VERY EXCITED that she will hold her Lemonade Stand to help her 8 year old neuroblastoma fighting friend, Alex Scott of Philadelphia, raise money for pediatric cancer research. The date will be Friday, June 25th and the location will be at the Old Fort Bank's Westgate branch in Tiffin 10:00-2:00. Christi says thank you to: the Old Fort Bank including President Mike Kerschner for his enthusiasm and help with this project, to Hardee's for donating the cups and ice, McDonald's for donating the Igloo coolers, Viewpoint Graphics for donating the shirts and to Country Time Lemonade for their generous donation so that all money donated will be given to cancer research. Christi has wanted to have a lemonade stand for over a year so she's excited that the big day is nearly here and she is hoping to help Alex reach her goal of raising $1 million dollars. She and her sister have been practicing holding a lemonade stand with her borrowed Country Time Lemonade stand in the garage (thanks, Nick & Shayna!).

Last year, Alex's Lemonade Stand raised over $100,000 with other stands raising $30,000. This year Alex decided to take it nationwide for the first time and to set a goal of raising $1 million dollars. 300 stands have been committed to donating their funds and the Thomas Team hopes that Christi's stand in Tiffin, Ohio makes a BIG donation for a great and needed cause! "Raising $$ for Pediatric Cancer Research - one cup at a time!" Christi Thomas has benefited directly from Alex's work as funds from Alex's Lemonade Stand have helped to open up two of the recent clinical trials that Christi has been able to participate in. (And the study that Christi is currently on -oral chemo / ABT 751, is showing promise and great hope for our little princess who has been bravely battling cancer for nearly two years.) So far all of Alex's lemonade stand efforts have raised over $200,000 with all monies going to fund desperately needed research for children's cancers. Thank you, Amazing Alex for your great and honorable deeds!!

Alex, along with her family, has bent over backwards in welcoming the Thomas Team to "their" hospital - CHOP!! Even though they're quite busy with their own horrendous issues with Alex's cancer and taking care of THREE OTHER children, they're never too busy to bring Christi a treat, to stop and chat, to offer to a coffee run, to give the "insiders tips" at CHOP, or even to offer their home to us. Alex has been fighting this beast for over trying seven years!

Neuroblastoma is a rare, little-known cancer and its research is seriously under funded. Of all childhood cancers, it has the worst prognosis. When Alex was four years old she came up with the idea of having a lemonade stand because she didn't want to be sick, or see her friends sick with cancer anymore. Her Mother, Liz, told her that even if she charged fifty cents a cup for lemonade, she might only raise ten dollars. Alex said with conviction, "I don't care; I want to do it anyway!" and they did! That first year she raised and donated $1,000! Since that time, Alex has raised $200,000 for pediatric cancer research. Donations are sent to a Donor-Advised fund at the Philadelphia Foundation called Alex's Lemonade Stand Fund. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Christi won't have a set price for her lemonade, but she will have a jar set out for donations - and no one will be refused a cup of lemonade due to lack of funds!! (Just as no one should be denied medical care due to lack of funds!!!) Christi says, "Even ten cents is fine. Every little bit helps."

Alex Scott's fundraising efforts have not gone unnoticed. Last Monday she was featured on the Oprah show and days before Oprah she was featured on the Today Show – sitting in her wheel chair promoting her lemonade stands and her new book "Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand" (available at and borders). After the Today Show ended Liz said that the crowd began to chant, "Pass the jar!" so they did - and collected $900! Then an office collection brought out $1600! Liz told us that it's $2,500 closer to Alex reaching her goal, but to me that is just another reminder: God's people are good! Maybe someday a cure will be found!

Alex's wonderful book is about the power of one being able to make a positive difference and about helping others. For the "Christi Fans" there is a likeness of Christi on page 25 in Alex's book. (Her aunt drew all of the illustrations!) Alex's story has been featured on the Today Show, The CBS Early Show, CBS Evening News, Time Magazine, People, USA Today, Oprah and Fox News. Alex has been named the recipient of many prestigious awards such as the: Volvo for Life Hero Award, the Philadelphia Foundation Philanthropist of the Year, and the Good Housekeeping Heroes for Health Award.

While I've written in my journals many times, "I think it's appalling that these kids have to set up lemonade stands to try to fund their own cure, yet sadly that is the reality of it all! Precious lives are being lost as a result of not enough research being conducted to figure this out." Every day, at least forty-five children in the US, are diagnosed with cancer and thirteen of them will not survive. As Alex, Christi and their friends around the country raise money for pediatric cancer research with their lemonade stands, they believe that one day - children everywhere - will have hope to be cured from this evil beast which has rudely invaded their bodies. Won't you stop by Christi's stand on Friday, June 25th? Thank you!

Christi will also have boxes of her "Christi's Flower" card available for purchase at a separate table. The cards are $10.00 per box and there will be no shipping charges this way. So if you didn't order them on line through the National Childhood Cancer Foundation (CureSearch) we'll have some on "Lemonade Lane" if you're interested on the 25th.

Now on to the medical scene: All continues to go well here at the Thomas home! (Thank you, Lord!) Sadly, we've had three neuroblastoma deaths in recent days from our support group. Seven year old Alex L. (a boy) from Pennsylvania who did some treatments in NYC, Baby Brice - who also treated in NYC and Grace (whose sister also died from this beast just ONE short month ago – can you believe lightning striking twice! Unreal! My heart just breaks for the Dad – who also lost his wife in September and now two little girls to neuroblastoma.). I know I'm asking a lot, but please, please keep our friends left here behind in your prayers. They really need extra strength and comfort. Their pain must be horrendous! This beast is so evil. And I have so many questions! I'm thankful that Christi is currently doing great; yet, I feel very guilty about her being able to be so "normal" when others are suffering terribly or are back in their eternal home.

The girls thoroughly enjoyed Bible School and practices at the Ritz theatre all of last week even though we could really tell Christi was panting while dancing on stage. (But with her hemoglobin being so low what would you expect?!) And it didn't stop her from having fun and smiling. My tears were flowing just at the practice to see her up there - like a normal child! What a blessing!!

Friday's blood counts at the hospital on Friday morning were pleasantly surprising!!! Hgb. 10.0, platelets 85, white 2.2 with an ANC of 1,200. All below normal, yet pretty decent for being on chemo for 8 days. Praise be to God! Thank you, Prayer Warriors!!!

Dance Unlimited's ballet recitals last night and today were incredible and incredibly emotional for us given the circumstances! Seeing your child dance on stage after knowing that it would never happen again, is simply indescribable. The tremendous blessings I feel can't even be expressed. I know she's far from being out of the woods with this beast inside of her, yet somehow I take great comfort in the fact that she's been able to live and live so fully for ten months since we've been back home. It's a wonderful feeling! Christi did FABULOUS on stage and it was great not only to watch her dance, but to dance with a HUGE smile on her face was priceless!! (And it was also hilarious to watch these little skinny girls dance to "Ho Down" - you know: "The BEEF Commercial song!" What a hoot!) Also, precious and priceless was little Shayla dancing on stage with her friends in their beautiful yellow costumes. She did a TREMENDOUS job!!! We've been so blessed!

Thank you for checking in friends, cheerleaders and prayer warriors! Like Alex Scott - you are amazing!

Yours in Christ,

PS: As of tonight, Alex's lemonade stand (Official Day was yesterday, but we couldn't do it due to the ballet recital) had raised over $300,000. (This total is from folks all over the country who had reported back to the Scott's their dollar amount.) Word has it that Alex's stand alone had over 1,000 folks stop by!! (Thank you Angels on earth for caring about our kids!!!!) Tomorrow morning on CBS Early Edition is to be an update about Alex's Lemonade Stands. So far, Christi has collected $4.00 and she hasn't even poured a single cup yet!!! (Thanks, Cindy!!)

Christi's Joke: It's raining cats and dogs! The weather man said it's cloudy with a chance of poodles! Hee hee!

What's Next? Thanks to a scholarship, Christi will be attending the Ritz Theatre's children's camp all of next week during the day. There will be a show on Friday night and Saturday afternoon which I'm positive Christi will love to perform in! She seems to really shine on that awesome Ritz's stage! So that Shayla gets to do something special too, she will attend a summer camp all week long at the Earth Literacy Center. I will be residing at Shayne's sweet cousin and her husband's home in Columbus (Thanks, Corrine and Tony!!) all week as I'll be taking a 800 level class on teaching reading at OSU. I'm hopeful Shayne can hold the fort down while I'm gone and I'm sure he can - the house may have a mural painted on the side when I return or something, but I know the girls couldn't be in better hands!! They adore their wonderful Daddy and I do too! Christi will continue on with her blood count checks and taking her oral chemo every day. We pray and hope that all continues to go so well! We will continue to watch for the side effects which mainly include: neuropathy, constipation, nausea, sleeplessness, but so far so good! (Actually, GREAT!!!) Tests and scans will be scheduled after her THIRD round of this new oral chemo (ABT - 751) which will most likely be for just two days of testing in August or September.

Christi's Joke: If dogs go to obedience school, where do cats go? (Kitty-garten)

Lemonade Stand - Friday, June 25th on "Lemonade Lane" at the Old Fort Bank - Westgate branch. 10 AM to 2 PM. Please stop by if you can! We'll have a cold refreshing drink waiting for you. Just watch for the yellow shirts and balloons!

Pennsylvania Girl Hopes to Raise $1M for Cancer: Story