By Becky Perlow CNN - They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and no one knows that better than the CEO of Alex's Lemonade Stand, Liz Scott, who is celebrating National Lemonade Day today, August 20!
Unofficially founded in 2000, Alex's Lemonade Stand is a charity that collects money for pediatric cancer research and raises awareness for the disease. It's not just any charity, though -- it's a charity founded by a then-four-year-old child who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma before she even celebrated her first birthday. But rather than lie in bed, depressed and helpless over her battle with cancer, the child decided to truly take lemons and turn them into lemonade.
According to the charity's website, Alexandra "Alex" Scott told her mother she wanted to help other kids in her situation by raising money for cancer research. And like every great American entrepreneur, she started with a lemonade stand. Sadly, Alex lost her battle with cancer, passing away at the age of 8 in 2004.
But Alex's memory lives on: Twelve years after raising that first $2,000, the charity has grown from a family-run enterprise into a non-profit organization that includes 7,000 individuals and has raised more than $55 million that is used for pediatric cancer research, as well as travel funding for families with children diagnosed with cancer.. Volunteers of Alex's Lemonade Stand build and manage the thirst-quenching venture across the world, some even setting up shop as far away as India and Taiwan, where one school designed T-shirts and pins. Groups also hold bake sales and charity runs to raise additional money for the organization.
For Liz Scott, though, it's not just the actual lemonade stand that represents her daughter Alex's generous dream.
"We've seen how participating in these lemonade stands have affected kids," Scott said. "It teaches them that they can be a part of making a difference for other people."
Liz receives pictures throughout the year from lemonade stands around the world, where she sees everything from professional-grade, movie set stands to the old-fashioned folding card tables decorated with cardboard signs.
"I look at those pictures and I can't help but smile because it reminds me of Alex, and it reminds me of a stand I would have made as a kid," said Liz, who added that anyone can make a lemonade stand and, ultimately, make a big difference in the life of a child.
Here are her tips on making your own:
• Pick a day and a place where you want to build your stand.
• Choose whom you want to help: Do you want to gather your Girl Scout troop together? Or how about your baseball team?
• Gather your ingredients beforehand and decide if you want to make lemonade from scratch or from a powder mix.
• Have fun with it: Decorate your stand with pictures, sell cookies if you like to bake or sell bracelets if you're crafty.
• Think outside the box: Take your stand on-the-go by strapping it to a wagon and selling it up and down the beach, or consider having a pie throwing contest!
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