I’ve posted before about the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s Change Childhood Cancer fundraiser that I’m doing at my daughters’ school. When I started the fundraiser in mid-October, I was modest in setting the goal. I figured each kid (there are only 89 students at the Pre-K-5 school) would fill their cup once with pennies and I’d raise about $500.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my surprise about having raised $647 after only two weeks. About how amazing it was to see these kids empty their piggy banks into their ALSF cups, not just with change, but with $1 and $5 bills. About watching several teachers empty their wallets into their class’s collection bags. After collecting almost $650 in just two weeks, I raised the school’s goal to $1,000. I wasn’t sure we could reach that high, but I figured it would be great to try!
So imagine my surprise last week, when I did the second of three collections. One father of a 5th grader donated almost $100. And one 4th grade girl, apparently very touched by Alex’s story, held her own lemonade stand outside of a local Publix supermarket and proudly donated the $100 bill she raised. The bags from each classroom had $5, $10, and even $20 bills.
The total raised after one month? $1,488.
Eighty-nine children at a small elementary school have raised almost $1,500 in less than a month. We have our final collection next Friday. Our final goal is $1,750. I think we’ll make it!
A cynic might say it’s all about the competition…that the teachers and students want to win the pizza party I promised for the winning class, so they’re giving money to ensure a win. But it’s a pizza party I promised, not a trip to Hawaii. Yes, the element of competition is there, and it’s certainly helping to raise more money. But I don’t think even for a second that the competition alone is what’s driving these kids and their parents to donate so much money to the cause.
Nope, that’s not it. I know Alex’s story has gotten to everyone. These kids understand that they’re raising money for childhood cancer. Because so many of them have asked me, how many kids will this money help? Will we be able to make the kids with cancer better?
I don’t lie to the children. I don’t over-promise. I do tell them that when the money from our school is combined with all the money collected from the other schools, we can help a doctor do lots of research to find a cure. And knowing they’re contributing to that cause makes them so proud.
And the parents get it too. When I started the fundraiser, I not only read Alex’s book to every class, but I crafted a note for the parents too. I explained the fundraiser, gave them the url for the ALSF website, and told them about my goals for raising money for childhood cancer research. But I also told them about Isabella Santos. I told them about the lack of funding for neuroblastoma, and how Isabella died at age 7 because research could not keep up with her disease. And being parents themselves, they heard me. They’ve donated because they know this isn’t just another fundraiser. They know they’re giving money to help cure childhood cancer. Isabella’s story gave the fundraiser a face. It made it real. It touched their hearts.
Imagine if every kid in every school participated in this fundraiser. If every child in every classroom were read Alex’s story and asked to collect change for this cause. If every child and every parent were made aware of childhood cancer and how every cup of change can help find a cure.
Based on the results from my little school, I dare say that if every school did this, we would have a cure. Because if 89 kids between the ages of 3 and 10 could raise $1,500 in less than a month, imagine what could be done if the kids from every elementary, middle, and high school participated. Imagine it.
Who better to save children than other children ? With their pure hearts and undying optimism, I truly believe that they could be the ones to raise the money necessary to find cures for childhood cancers. And their parents, when given the story of a child like Isabella, would be just an generous as their children. This is my belief.
So I’m thankful for Alex Scott and her foundation, for giving me the chance to try and prove it.