Everyone Can Make a Difference
Podcast #8 — Aired December 5, 2013

Anyone, at any age, can make a difference in the world. This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’ll share the story of a little girl with a dream to raise money for childhood cancer research. Our guest this week is Jay Scott, Co-Executive Director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). Jay will talk about how his daughter’s dream of starting a lemonade stand turned into to an organization that has raised more than $65,000,000 for cancer research. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

 

 

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Jay Scott
Co-Executive Director, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation

Jay Scott is the Co-Executive Director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. When his daughter Alexandra “Alex” Scott decided to hold a lemonade stand to help doctors find new treatments and ultimately a cure for all childhood cancers, including her own, Jay and his wife Liz supported Alex’s mission every step of the way. After cancer took Alex’s life they continued Alex’s legacy of hope. What started as the vision of one little girl has been embraced by a team of 100,000 volunteers. Jay speaks frequently to groups including businesses, schools and community groups, in addition to participating on panels at national conferences. Jay’s speaking topics include the story of Alex as the impetus for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation; how to make a difference and meaningful impact; the power of one; caregiving for a child with cancer and other topics related to Alex and her inspiration.

Episode Transcript

MarySue Hansell
Joining us today is Jay Scott, the Co-executive Director of Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundation. Alexs Lemonade Stand began in 2000 when Jays daughter Alex decided to hold a lemonade stand to help doctors find new treatments and ultimately a cure for all childhood cancers including her own. Jay and his wife, Liz, supported Alexs mission every step of the way. After cancer took Alexs life, they continued Alexs legacy of hope.

Raymond Hansell
Jay joins us today to talk a little bit about how a little girls dream turned into an organization has raised so far, $65 million for cancer research and a movement that has been embraced by a team of over one hundred thousand volunteers. Jay, it is a pleasure. Welcome to the show.

Jay Scott
Thanks for having me on and also thanks for all of the good that you guys do.

Raymond Hansell
Oh, youre very, very welcome. Id like to tell our listeners a little bit about the Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundation and how it has become such a well-known organization. For those who dont know, tell us a little bit about Alex.

Jay Scott
Well, Alex was my daughter. She was diagnosed with cancer just before her first birthday and actually went into surgery the day before her first birthday; came out on her first birthday at about one in the morning into critical care. We were told at that time that she was paralyzed during the surgery from the chest down and that if she was able to survive her cancer, she would certainly be paralyzed for the rest of her life. And so, you know, my wife and I thought, wow, you know, what a way to celebrate your first birthday, being paralyzed and told that you have cancer. But Alex was a determined some people would call her stubborn, but she was just a very determined kid and over the next seven and a half years, she fought her cancer non-stop. She never went into remission but she went through intense physical therapy to learn how to walk because she regained movement in a lot of her muscles but she never regained sensation in her legs so she wasnt able to feel her legs but she learned how to walk first with leg braces and a walker, and eventually without leg braces and without a walker. You can imagine what its like when your legs fall asleep and how hard it is to walk. Thats what she was like all the time. During that time, she was fighting her cancer, so she was a real battler and a very determined kid.

Raymond Hansell
Little hero. Now she had a dream to start a lemonade stand to raise money for cancer research. Tell us about that first stand. I know it brought in a lot of money but what was that like for your family?

Jay Scott
Well, I think, you know, before I tell you about that first stand, it would be cool to tell you the how she came up with the idea for this lemonade stand.

Raymond Hansell
Yes, please do.

Jay Scott
So, she was about four years old and we lived in Connecticut at the time and we would go to hospitals in Connecticut and Boston and New York for different opinions on how to treat her cancer because all of the doctors disagreed on how we should treat her. It was when she was about four, they all agreed that on how to treat her and that was to stop treating her, that she couldnt be cured and that we should just enjoy her last days outside the hospital. Dont make her come into the hospital. She was so full of life, had so much spunk that, you know, we just werent ready to give up on her and we heard about a treatment that was available in Philadelphia and so we we came down to Philadelphia and got an experimental treatment. This was her first experimental treatment and when she went into this treatment, she was on morphine twenty-four hours a day for the pain because the cancer was as high as her neck and as low as her foot. And she got out of the hospital three days later with no pain. She told my wife that the treatment worked and my wife said, what do you mean the treatment worked? How do you know? She said, I could tell by the way I feel. And so it had such an impact on her, you know, going in in so much pain and coming out with no pain. She asked my wife if they could go shopping for a Christmas dress. It was just about this time back in 1999 when she had that treatment. We went back to Connecticut and when they scanned her, they could not believe how much of the cancer was gone. She had less cancer in her than she ever had in her entire life since her diagnosis and they decided they were going to do a stem cell transplant on her which they previously cancelled its like a bone marrow transplant because she had such a small amount of disease. And when she went into the hospital right after her fourth birthday, it was January of 2000 and it was going to be a month long stay and it was while she was in the hospital for that treatment that she said just simply to my wife, you know, when I get out of the hospital, I want to setup a lemonade stand. My wife said, well, its January. We live in Connecticut. Its probably not the best idea to have a lemonade stand. And so over the next five, six months, she kept asking, you know, I want to setup a lemonade stand. I want to setup a lemonade stand. And finally one day, my wife said, Alex, what do you want to buy? You know? You dont have to have a lemonade stand to buy a toy. We can just buy it for you. She said oh, I dont want to keep the money. I want to give it to the doctors so they can come up with treatments like the one I got in Philadelphia. As simple as that, that is how it started.

Raymond Hansell
Oh, thats fantastic.

Jay Scott
So we kind of joked with her and maybe teased her a little bit and said what are you going to do, give the doctors a check for five or ten dollars and help them to cure kids with cancer?

Raymond Hansell
Right.

Jay Scott
And she just said, you know, I dont care. I want to do it anyway. And so how can you say no to that?

Raymond Hansell
No, absolutely.

Jay Scott
So we picked a date. It happened to be July 4th weekend and we called some family members so that she would have some customers and we let her setup and she was so excited about this lemonade stand that she laid out her breakfast which was Cheerios the night before. She laid out her clothes. And I think that the flyers we put up said that she would be open at around 10 or 11 AM. She was so excited; she was out there by seven.

MarySue Hansell
Wow.

Jay Scott
People started coming at seven believe it or not. It was a holiday weekend so people were heading to the beach and they wanted to stop by and get a cup of lemonade before they went away for the weekend and she was so excited about it. She just had a pitcher of lemonade and a little plastic table and her and her older brother were setup there and people just kept coming. The thing I remember was some people came with smiles; some of them came with tears. Most people had a story to tell her and they just kept coming and coming and we had to keep running out to the store to get more and more lemonade because, you know, maybe we bought one or two canisters of it. So many people were coming and at the end of the day, she had raised $2,000.

MarySue Hansell
Wow.

Jay Scott
So a pretty good lemonade stand.

Raymond Hansell
Absolutely. Thats fantastic. Did you have any idea back then that it would have this kind of a big impact?

Jay Scott
No, not at all. Not at all. So we we delivered the money to the hospital. My wife and I didnt think about it again. You know, it was it was fun. It was something that we did but, you know, we didnt think about it much. And then over the next year, we were told by the doctors in Philadelphia that if we could spend more time there, they would have more treatment options for Alex. So we talked. My wife and I talked and we said you know what; we need to move to Philadelphia. If we have a chance for better treatments for her, you know, were not going to have a second chance at this so I took a job transfer and we just relocated to Philadelphia so that she would have the best chance at, you know quality of life. We didnt have expectations that she could be cured but we wanted more time and we wanted a good quality of life for her and so we moved down there. Shortly after we got down there, she started talking about setting up this lemonade stand again. We said, well, Alex, we dont know anyone. You know, this is two hundred and fifty miles from anyone we know. No one is going to come. And she kept asking and my wife finally said, look, lets wait until school starts in the fall and maybe we can make some friends and invite some of them to come to your lemonade stand. And so school started and my wife talked to some people and got some people to come because we didnt want her to be disappointed when no one came. And she setup and it was an October day and it was a particularly cold day and so she had a winter hat and mittens on and she setup in the front yard and she raised about $800 which is still a pretty good lemonade stand. We counted the money at the end of the day and she was not happy because it was less than a thousand and she said you guys told me that no one wants lemonade when its cold and it was cold today. Why did you make me wait so long? And so she blamed us for having what she considered a bad lemonade stand. You know, $800 is still pretty good.

Raymond Hansell
Absolutely.

Jay Scott
But she wasnt happy with it. So we delivered that money to the hospital. My wife and I didnt think much about it until the next year came around. It started to get warm again and Alex said its getting warm; I need to setup that lemonade stand again. And we were thinking, oh boy. We still dont really know that many people and shes probably not going to do as well. This could be tough. But my wife got the idea to send home a flyer in the backpacks of the kids at school. So there is like a folder that they send home and she got the principal to put a flyer in. One of the parents got it and called the Philadelphia newspaper and told them about this lemonade stand that Alex was having. The Philadelphia newspaper did a full page article about Alexs what she was doing.

Raymond Hansell
That probably helped a bit.

Jay Scott
Oh my goodness. You know, Philadelphia is a big city. It was a big newspaper. This is back when people still bought newspapers, I guess. And before she even opened for business, she had over $2,000 that people dropped off at the house. By the end of that Saturday, she had raised over $12,000 in one day.

Raymond Hansell
Oh wow.

MarySue Hansell
wow.

Gregory Hansell
Goodness.

Jay Scott
So that is a really good lemonade stand.

Raymond Hansell
Yeah, that is a fantastic lemonade stand.

Jay Scott
Yeah. And we dropped that money off at the hospital. My wife and I didnt think much about it again because, you know, she is fighting her cancer. She is going through intense physical therapy. We have three kids at this time, soon to be a fourth, and, you know, were just living our lives. But apparently this lemonade stand stuck with Alex because the next year came around and it started to get warm again. She said, I got to setup that lemonade stand again. And were thinking, there is no way that she can she can break $12,000. I mean, thats thats not even possible. So my wife sent home a flyer again and on the day that she had her lemonade stand, she raised over $18,000 in the pouring rain.

Raymond Hansell
Oh, geez.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, wow.

Jay Scott
And an amazing thing started was happening that day. You know, that was really the first time that people came early in the morning, stood out there in the rain all day just to sort of observe what was happening, you know? It was like this weird phenomenon where these people were flocking to this lemonade stand from all over. You know, there were traffic jams in our neighborhood. Cars couldnt get down the street because there were so many cars and our yard was ruined from so many people trampling the grass. Our carpets were ruined from people getting muddy and going inside, trying to get out of the rain, but it was so worth it, you know, to see these people coming out and what was starting, you know this movement that she was starting.

Raymond Hansell
So this is when the movement really began to gel at this point?

Jay Scott
Yeah. I think so. You know, just to see the looks on I mean, for people to stand out there all day in the rain just to sort of absorb the atmosphere and see what was happening, it was kind of surreal. And I didnt really get it at the time, what the people were doing. But they knew there was something there before I think we knew there was something there, and they wanted to they wanted to sort of just absorb some of that. It was special.

Raymond Hansell
It was special.

Jay Scott
It was really special.

Raymond Hansell
It has continued to be special. Were going to take a short break right now. Were going to hear more about the Alexs Lemonade Stand, how it continued and today has been responsible, this foundation, for raising over $65 million. I would like to offer this challenge to our listeners before we take our break. If you know someone whose acts, no matter how small and no matter how small they may be, are making a big difference in the lives of other people, please, wed love to hear about them. Tweet us at #Better Worldians so we can let the Better Worldian community know more about them. Well talk more with Jay Scott about Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundation when we come back. You can learn more at Better Worldians dot com and follow our live tweets at Twitter dot com slash Better Worldians. Well be right back now.

Raymond Hansell
Hi. Were back live with Jay Scott, Co-executive Director of Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundation. Well have more with Jay in a minute but first wed like to share some big news here at Better Worldians Radio. Weve just recently launched a world-wide kindness campaign. In the process, were challenging better worldians around the globe to watch a two minute video that illustrates the power of kindness. When that video reaches one million views, well release funds for surgeries that will allow ten kids in the developing world to walk for the first time. So please watch the video, share it with friends at Color with Kindness dot com. Thats Color with Kindness dot com. Now lets return with Jay and MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Hi Jay. Before the break, you were telling us about the beginning of Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundation. What an inspiring story. The tears were really in my eyes. Anyway, your daughter passed away in 2004 but your family decided to continue her mission. How and why did you make that choice and was it a difficult one?

Jay Scott
Well, it was a very difficult decision for us. Alex made that decision a little bit easier because shortly before she died, she was doing an interview with a reporter and she would get calls all the time from reporters who wanted to interview her and even though she was a little kid, she was kind of we had a nickname for her and it was grandma because she was kind of like an old lady. So when reporters would call her, we would tell them we would tell her, you know, someone is on the phone. They want to interview you. Are you interested? And she would say, where are they calling from? And if she didnt recognize the newspaper or magazine, she would say no, Im not feeling well. But if she recognized it, she would say yeah, Ill talk to them. So one particular interview call came in and it was from a national magazine and my wife and I disagree which one it was. It was either Good Housekeeping or Family Circle or one of those that you see at checkout and Alex recognized the name and she said, yeah, Ill talk to them. So she was doing an interview with this woman and, you know, part-way into the interview, my wife my wife was listening and she heard Alex say well, last year my goal was to raise $100,000 and I did that with the help of other people. So this year I am going to raise $1 million with my lemonade stand.

MarySue Hansell
Oh boy.

Jay Scott
When she got off the phone from the interview, my wife said Alex, why would you tell a reporter youre going to raise $1 million? You realize you setup a lemonade stand in our front yard. She said well I think if other people continue to help me, I think I can do it. Because at that time, what had happened was we started getting letters at our house from people from all over the world that said things like, you know, Alex, we saw you on the news or we read about you in the newspaper and heard what you were doing. We decided to do our own fundraiser and send you the money. That money added up to $100,000 that year and so in her in her childs mind, $1 million was doable. And so she just put it out there and so that story started getting out or got out and so we started getting calls from people saying, you know, we want to help. What can we do? And so we decided to tell people to setup a lemonade stand the same day that Alex sets up her annual lemonade stand. And so we had people setup stands all across the country and around the world on the same day as Alex. We had one in every state. I dont remember how many countries there were. But she went on Oprah; she went on the Today Show to promote this. Within two weeks of her lemonade stand, we had over $700,000 come in.

MarySue Hansell
Oh my goodness.

Jay Scott
She was close to her $1 million goal. And then we got a call from one of her sponsors. You know, she had companies that were supporting her even when she was in our front yard and they said how is she doing? We said shes not doing well. She is really sick, you know. We we think shes dying. And they said well how about that $1 million goal? We said well shes got about 700,000. They said, tell her were going to take her over the million. Were going to do lemonade stands at all of our retail locations and so we were able to tell her that she hit her million and she died just a couple of weeks later. You know, we think she was kind of holding out for that, to hit that goal. The amazing thing was that after she died, the outpouring from people was even greater than when she was alive and it was pretty big then. People were telling my wife and I, you need to keep this going. You guys can really make a difference. You can help a lot of kids. And so, you know, we had to sit down and think, you know, what that would do to our family, what it would mean to our family, what the impact it would have on our other kids. But we decided, you know, there was one chance to really get this off the ground and do it right and that we could make a difference for a lot of other families that were going to be going through the childhood cancer with their kids. And so we decided that we would do it. We would continue what she was doing, take the momentum that she started and try to help other kids.

MarySue Hansell
Yes. That sounds like a wonderful decision.

Jay Scott
It was tough. It was tough. You know, I think the easier thing would have been to just walk away and put that part of our lives that involved childhood cancer behind us rather than have to continually relive it every day, telling Alexs story, and

MarySue Hansell
Yes.

Jay Scott
Keeping the, you know, the suffering that she went through at the top of our minds. But in our minds, we didnt want we wanted to try to keep other families from having to go through the same thing.

MarySue Hansell
Look at all of the good you have done. Oh my heavens. Now your lemonade stands have been organized by such a diverse group of volunteers including, you know, even school children, seniors, businesses, even homeless people. A big part of what we here strive to do at Better Worldians Radio is to encourage people to go out and make a difference no matter who they are or what they have to offer. What has it been like seeing such a diverse group of people, you know, all join together for this wonderful mission?

Jay Scott
Its really been amazing. You know, Alex lived eight and a half years. We like to say that she lived, you know, packed eighty years worth of living into those eight and a half years. But, you know, shes going to have a huge legacy. Part of her legacy is going to be helping kids with cancer. Another huge part of her legacy is going to be giving people the sort of inspiring them to give back, you know, because there is this whole childhood cancer thing that were doing but there is this whole other thing where she has inspired people to do things that they wouldnt do normally in their life and that is giving back and making a difference. A lot of those people are giving back by helping Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundation to help kids with cancer but there is a huge number of people that are just taking Alexs story and and saying, you know what? This girl changed the world. I can do something to help other people too. And we get stories all the time from people that have started movements and decided that they were going to do the things in their life because they learned about Alexs story. One of the ones I love to share is

MarySue Hansell
Okay. I was just going to ask you.

Jay Scott
Is for homeless people. You know, when Alex was alive and she was on one of the one of the national programs I dont remember which one, but we got a call from a social worker in Austin, Texas and she said, you know, this is this is a little bit weird but I just wanted to ask you guys if this was okay. The minute the homeless shelter saw Alex on TV and they wanted to know if they would be allowed to setup a lemonade stand to help her reach her $1 million goal. And we just thought that was so amazing because we have a saying at Alexs Lemonade Stand. We have a cultural tablet and one of them is one cup at a time is not just our slogan; its how we conduct our business. So no donation is too small. Everybody can be part of our time. We said of course. You know, of course they can do it. And so they went out and they got lemonade and cups donated and they I mean, these are people that have no home. They have no money. They raised, if my memory serves me right, about $700 selling lemonade on the streets of Austin, Texas and sent it to help Alex towards her $1 million goal. I mean, how cool is that?

MarySue Hansell
That is cool. That is cool.

Jay Scott
Its just amazing.

MarySue Hansell
I saw on the website that even detention centers helped you. What was that like?

Jay Scott
Weve had juvenile detention centers help us. Weve had kids from the inner city who have always been on the receiving end of charity decide that they wanted to do some charity, you know. And we actually had some kids here in Philadelphia that met Alex. You know, they read about her in the newspaper. They wanted to learn about cancer. They called our house and said can Alex come and speak to us, you know? So they had an assembly and my wife and Alex went and talked to them. And these kids at the beginning of the school year could not believe that she would give this money away. Like, why wouldnt you keep this money? This is a school that was, you know, 100% assisted lunches. You know, this was a very poor school. The kids just couldnt understand why she would give any money away. Over the course of the year, she went back a couple of times and they decided, you know, they wanted to learn about cancer which they did. When they thought they had treatment options for her, they would they would call us or send us an email. And then they decided they wanted to do a fundraiser and they had never done a fundraiser before, you know? There were always people doing fundraisers for them and they thought, you know, if Alex can do it, we can do this. And so they set a goal. They wanted to they wanted to raise $500 and they were going to do it by shaving their heads. You know, Alex was bald.

MarySue Hansell
Oh boy.

Jay Scott
They wanted to be bald. And so they got the principal to shave his head. They got me to come in and shave my head. This had to be back in 1997 or something. They got somebody on the school board to shave their head, you know, and they were getting pledges for it. So they set a goal of $500. They raised over 5,000. They were so happy. They collected a thousand new toys to give to the childrens hospital and it impacted these kids lives so much, you know, because they had never done anything charitable before and its something that they are going to carry with them their whole life.

MarySue Hansell
Thats right. It changed their life.

Jay Scott
It changed their life. We heard from some of those. The ones we had the most contact with were third and fourth graders at the time. We heard from them for years for years as they went into high school and started going to college. Some of them would stay in touch and just about how much it changed their life.

MarySue Hansell
Thats wonderful. How maybe you can tell our listeners how they can go about setting up their own lemonade stand. How do you do that?

Jay Scott
Setting up your own lemonade stand is easy. You know, anybody can do it. We have kids do it. We have families do it. We have businesses do it. Go to our website. It is AlexsLemonade dot org and there is a packet of information you can read there. Well send you sort of the starter kit which has a sign and some other things for you when you register on the website and its a lot of fun. Its a great family activity. Its a great thing to do with the school. Its a great thing to do sort of team building at your business because people really seem to come together as a team to make it awesome. If a lemonade stand isnt for you, we have lots of other ways you can get involved too.

MarySue Hansell
Thats wonderful. I was wondering how you decide which organizations that you fund and, you know, how do you fund the research? How do you pick them?

Jay Scott
Thats a great question and Im not a scientist and we have great scientists that advise us though. So what happens is people apply to us. We have a couple of cycles throughout the year where we take applications. There are different categories and scientists apply to us. Then we have scientists review every application and we have a minimum of two review every application. We average their scores and then we take the ones that score the best by those two reviewers and we have them reviewed by anywhere from eight to fifteen reviewers on a phone call.

MarySue Hansell
Right.

Jay Scott
Then we have them score them and we average the scores and we fund the ones that have done the best, so.

MarySue Hansell
Oh. Can you tell us some of the ones that you have funded?

Jay Scott
Whats that?

MarySue Hansell
Can you share some of the organizations that you have funded?

Jay Scott
Weve funded organizations so its a lot of childrens hospitals and universities ranging from all across the country and in Canada so all across the United States and Canada ranging from Boston, New York, LA, Denver, you know, so any childrens hospital there has probably gotten at least one grant from us. We have given out over over three hundred grants and the smallest ones being $50,000 and the biggest ones being over $1 million. So there has been some really exciting research that weve been a part of thats probably one of the best parts of running the organization is seeing the results that that come out of this research. One of the projects that we were one of the funders of actually found one of the causes for the type of cancer that Alex had which is neuroblastoma. And so some of the kids that have neuroblastoma, they have a defect in one of their genes and in the DNA. And they found this defect with some of the money that we gave this hospital. Once you find that, you can sometimes find a treatment that will hit that target. They call it a target and they found a drug that was being used in adults for that target and they decided to test it on the kids. And they tested it on nine kids who had no treatment options. So these kids were basically they were going to die. And seven of them went into remission with this drug and so it was absolutely amazing.

MarySue Hansell
How rewarding.

Jay Scott
The amazing thing about this drug was see, one of the problems with childhood cancer is the treatments effect the kids much worse than it effects the adults. So the kids have so many side effects and a lot of these side effects are lifelong because their bodies are growing so fast and the chemotherapy that is going after the cancer is also killing good cells in the kids bodies. Well this drug was a pill. Kids didnt have to get needles. They didnt lose their hair. They didnt feel sick to their stomach. They didnt have to stay overnight in the hospital. So one of the kids that got this drug, they took the pill and the girl went in for scans. She got an MRI and the radiologist in his report said, you know, the surgery was very successful. No signs of cancer. And the oncologist went back to the radiologist and said can you make sure you have the right scan because this girl didnt have surgery. She has been taking this pill for a couple of weeks, this new chemotherapy. So they went back and they made sure they had the right scan and it was the girl and there was no sign of cancer. So he thought they had taken the cancer completely out and she was just taking this pill for a couple of weeks.

MarySue Hansell
Wow, that is marvelous.

Jay Scott
Isnt that amazing?

MarySue Hansell
Yeah, it is amazing.

Jay Scott
Amazing.

MarySue Hansell
Any other great stories like that?

Jay Scott
I mean, we have lots of great stories. I mean, that one is the most amazing. That girl has been they dont call them in remission but they call them no evidence of disease, but she has had no evidence of disease for eighteen months now.

MarySue Hansell
I guess Alex is very happy about all of that.

Jay Scott
Oh my goodness. I mean, that is like a dream come true for for a family and for a patient. To be told that you have no chance at a cure and for one to come along like that is amazing.

Raymond Hansell
What is the this is Ray, Jay, again. What is the feedback that you are getting or have gotten over the years from the people who actually hold the lemonade stands?

Jay Scott
You know, that is one of the things that always amazes me is some of the feedback we get. We get letters in the mail and we get emails every day from people that are actually thanking us for letting them do lemonade stands. You know, we should be thanking them which we do, but they are thanking us because it had such an impact on their life, on their family, or on their kids, or on their company, you know, where the company maybe was having some team issues. Then they decide, already, lets try and do a lemonade stand and it ends up being this great team building and bonding thing where the employees are suddenly working together as a team. Or the family, you know the memories that it gives them and how proud the kids are of doing something to give back. You know, we got an email the other day from a woman who said, Im trying to make my daughters holiday season special. The only thing she asked for was a new table so her Alexs Lemonade Stands can look better. Do you think it would be possible that, to do something special for her, that I can bring her to your headquarters to volunteer? And so my wife reached out and said not only would we love to have her here, you know, wed love to give her a special tour and, you know, the mother is out of this its just out of this world now, knowing shes going to have that special treat for her daughter, you know, and how big of an impact Alex has had on this little girls life.

Raymond Hansell
Shes had an amazing impact on all of our lives. I think the big gift in all of this; of course the gift is frequently in the giving. We hear this so often but this is a marvelous story of that and perhaps one of the other big, big gifts was the gift of Alexs life to actually get this whole thing underway. We need to take another short break. When we come back, well talk more with Jay Scott about Alexs lemonade stand foundation. You can also ask Jay a question after the break. You can do that in several ways. First you can call us at 1-866-472-5788. That is 1-866-472-5788. Or you can also send us an email at Radio at Better Worldians dot com. Or you can tweet us a question at Twitter dot com slash Better Worldians. Well be right back now.

Raymond Hansell
Hi. Were back with Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundations Jay Scott. Wed love it if youd call us with a question for Jay. You can call 1-866-472-5788. Again, that is 1-866-472-5788. Or if you prefer, you can email us at Radio at Better Worldians dot com or tweet us a question at Twitter dot com slash Better Worldians.

Gregory Hansell
Hi Jay. This is Greg. How are you doing?

Jay Scott
Im doing great. Im doing great.

Gregory Hansell
You know, Im curious. What do you think youve learned about people, you know, people generally since this whole thing began?

Jay Scott
Can you repeat that?

Gregory Hansell
You know, what do you think youve learned about people, you know, about humanity since you have had this experience?

Jay Scott
Ive learned that people really are great. You know, you hear a lot of bad things on the news about people and what people are doing. We see the great part of people and how giving and how caring people really are. I think for the most part, 99% of the people in the world, more than that want to help other people. They want to do good things and especially kids. Nowadays, kids just want to do things to help other people.

Gregory Hansell
Is there a particular story about a kid that or particular kids that gave back that you want to tell?

Jay Scott
We have so many stories about kids that want to give back. You know, we have kids that support Alexs Lemonade Stand that have raised over $100,000, you know, setting up lemonade stands. We had a kid who was so passionate about Alexs Lemonade that he actually his parents described him as a shy kid and he was so passionate about Alexs Lemonade that when he was going into middle school, he got the courage to go meet with the principal that he had never met over the summer because he wanted the school to have an Alexs Lemonade Stand setup during lunch every day in the cafeteria. And so the kid went with his business plan, how he was going to staff it with volunteer kids and the principal accepted his proposal. He said, you know what, I think its a great idea. If youre willing to run this, lets do it. And so the mother said that this sort of gave her son who was previously a shy kid so much confidence and it just changed the way he was because he went from being a shy and reserved kid to being a leader.

Gregory Hansell
I love that.

Jay Scott
And it changed his life.

Gregory Hansell
Thats amazing to me. You know, what would you say, given this experience, you know, your experience, the experience of the whole foundation, to someone that wants to make a difference in the world generally but isnt sure they can do it? You know, what kind of message would you want to send out to them?

Jay Scott
Anybody can make a difference in the world. Anybody can change the world. You know, you can do it with small things. You can do it with big things but to do it in a big way, you have to start small. So I would just encourage people to do the little things to change peoples lives. You know, something I like to do is I like to, if I am in a store getting something for somebody, you know, they always have the tip jars out. People sometimes throw their extra change in. If somebody does a particularly good job, I like to give them I like to hand them ten dollars or twenty dollars occasionally. When you see the look on that persons face, you changed their day. You made them so that they are so happy, they are going to go out and do something good for somebody else.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah.

Jay Scott
You know, I think some people call it random acts of kindness.

Gregory Hansell
Sure.

Jay Scott
Its fun to do. People, youve got to try it. It just, it will make your day to see the smile on somebodys face when you do something like that.

Gregory Hansell
You know, random acts of kindness are a big part of what we, you know, what we believe and we do here at Better Worldians Radio. You know, sometimes a kind word or a small favor goes a really, really long way. You know one thing I would ask you kind of related to that is, you know, what can a person do to reach out to a child with cancer or a family dealing with that?

Jay Scott
You know, I think one thing that people that have a child with cancer, your life is in chaos, you know. So Alex was in treatment for seven and a half years. Chaos became our life so we have learned how to deal with it, but when a child is newly diagnosed, it throws everybody into a tail spin. A lot of times one parent if both parents are working, one has to leave their job, so money is an issue. Time is an issue because you spend so much time at the hospital. So a lot of people put up these blogs that describe what their families are going through. If you can setup something for this family where you can bring dinners to them, take one thing off of their plate, you know? Let them not have to worry about dinners for a week. Setup something in your neighborhood or in your church or in your school where you bring dinner or you are willing to watch their kids after school for a week, just something to lighten the load on the family. It will really help the kid because the parents can be more attentive and not have to worry about the other things that are going on in their life.

Gregory Hansell
Were going to take some questions from our listeners now if you dont mind. We have a call from Mary. Mary, welcome to Better Worldians Radio. Do you have a question for us?

Mary
Hi. Yes. Once your organization had grown from a mom and pop endeavor to an internationally recognized foundation, I just wonder how difficult it has been to actually maintain the heart of your original purpose.

Jay Scott
Thats a great question, you know, and that is one of the reasons I talked earlier about our cultural tablet. We always want to stay true to who we were and where we started. We have been lucky enough to grow and grow fast. We have a lot of corporate sponsors and every year we invite our corporate sponsors in to Philadelphia to meet each other and learn about what we did the year before and what were going to do the next year. And we have surveyed them and said, you know, what makes you support Alexs Lemonade? They said its because of how you started and its because of the grass roots feel you have. So no matter how big that we grow, we have to keep that. We have to keep true to how we started and that grass roots feel and because it is important to our donors. You know, another instance was we did a newsletter one time that did not have a picture of Alex in it because we thought, you know, Alex has been gone for a while. We want to start featuring just other kids that have cancer or other kids that are helping the foundation and we got so many emails and calls and letters from people saying how can you not put Alexs picture in one of your newsletters? And they taught us a valuable lesson that even though shes not here, she is the heart and soul of the foundation and we, you know, we always have to feature her. But, you know, staying true to who we are, you know, this is our the six pillars on our cultural tablet. Its about the kids. Its always got to be about the kids. We want to follow in our founders footsteps. We have no boundaries so anybody can be a supporter. The one cup at a time. We say it, we mean it, we do it. And we always want to be positive no matter whats going on. Youve got to be positive.

Gregory Hansell
Well thank you, Mary, very much for that question. We also have an email question in from Matt from Pennsylvania. Matt writes, Jay, your organization has been so successful in a relatively short period of time. What do you attribute that success to?

Jay Scott
Again, I have to attribute the success, a lot of it to Alex for sort of setting us up to be successful. You know, its because of what she did and people remember her. When they hear her story, they want to support what we did. And then the other part of it is having so many great volunteers, you know, and so many great supporters. We have weve had tens of thousands of lemonade stands. This year alone, I think there were eight thousand lemonade stands and the average lemonade stand had ten volunteers in it.

Gregory Hansell
Thats incredible.

Jay Scott
So that alone is 80,000 volunteers, not to mention the thousands of other events that people setup. So without those volunteers, we could not be where we are today. So, you know, some of those lemonade stands might bring in a couple of dollars. Some of them might bring in a couple of thousand dollars but when you add them all together, its millions and millions of dollars. And thats how we do it.

Gregory Hansell
Well thank you, Matt, very much for that question also. You know, you mentioned Jay during the break, that this experience has been like Alex kind of driving a train up a hill and your responsibilities have been, you know, sort of steering it down the hill as it has gained momentum and become the success that it has. What has that been like? Do you feel responsibility for that or what has that been like?

Jay Scott
I mean, we feel tremendous responsibility to to do justice to what Alex started and to help these kids. So, you know, we feel a lot of responsibility but we think if we always do the right thing that things are going to take care of themselves and so far, knock on wood, they have. You know, weve been able to grow twenty to thirty percent a year year, every year. So we think within about a year and a half, were probably going to cross the $100 million mark and, you know, that is just mind boggling to me to think things going from how I put that pitcher of lemonade in our front yard to raising $100 million and helping a lot of kids. You know, thats the most important part. If were not helping the kids, none of this matters.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah.

Jay Scott
So at the end of the day, weve got to help the kids.

Gregory Hansell
Absolutely. Let me ask you then, what has personally been the most rewarding part of this whole thing for you? What has been the most special thing about this?

Jay Scott
I think getting to meet the kids that were helping, getting to know some of the stories of the kids and the families that weve changed and been able to change the lives of. You know, in addition to funding the research which is so important, another thing that we do here which costs a relatively small amount of money but has an immediate impact is we have something we call the travel fund. A lot of people dont realize but with childhood cancer, you cant get the same treatments depending on where you live. Youre limited in the treatments you can get so if you live in a rural area and your kid fails the frontline treatment for childhood cancer, they have no other options. So they either need to travel to another city or their kid will die. So we started this travel fund after we started learning about these stories of families that were having to make a decision whether to continue to treat their kid or to let them die because they couldnt afford to go to another city. And, you know, how can you let a kid die because you because you cant afford to to go to another city? We can get the families there for a couple of hundred dollars and give that kid a chance at life or a cure or a longer life. And, you know, to hear those stories about just the relief that comes over a family in having to decide. You know, some of these families dont even have credit cards so charging the trip is not an option. When you call them and tell them, look, well pay for the plane or well pay for the train or well give you gas cards so you can drive is really fulfilling and memorable. Very thats probably one of the best parts about the job.

Gregory Hansell
You know, I have to ask you. I have a two and a half year old daughter at home, Tabitha, who is the light of my life. When I hear this story, you know, as inspirational as it is, of course my heart also breaks and my questions is, you know, how did you find the strength to do what youve done? I mean, its such an amazing story, what youve done here, and I cant imagine doing half of this. Can you say something about that?

Jay Scott
Well, if you meet these kids, the strength is easy because no matter what we have to do, its nothing compared to what they are going through. That is something I like to tell people. We have a program at Alexs Lemonade called Team Lemon. We also have a thing called the Million Mile Run and so Team Lemon is where people run marathons to support the foundation. The Million Mile Run was where we were getting people in every month of September to log a million miles and get pledges to help kids with cancer. I like to tell people when I meet them at these events, listen; this is not going to be easy. Its going to be incredibly hard for you to run this marathon or to log these miles for thirty days, but think about what the kid with cancer is going through. No matter what pain youre feeling or how much you dont want to do something, its never going to be as hard as what the kid with cancer is going through. Just think about that. And it puts things in perspective for people. You know, so if youre having a bad day, somebody is having a worse day.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah, yeah. Thats a great point.

Jay Scott
So get up and do it.

Gregory Hansell
Yeah.

Raymond Hansell
This has been an amazing journey with you today, Jay. I think our listeners can take away from this some of the things that we have been, as a recurring theme here on Better Worldians Radio, is how small acts can make a huge difference. One of our purposes here, to get back to the mission of Alex and to the mission of Better Worldians is to promote these kinds of stories so that people can take away from them some encouraging ideas and thoughts about what can they do to step in and to make a difference. You know, one of the things weve recently done is put together a challenge and today I got inspired because I thought is our challenge to have one million views for this kindness campaign really too ambitious. Well, after hearing what that little girl did, I actually think that frankly it is not that ambitious. You can also find out more about Alexs Lemonade Stand Foundation by going directly to AlexsLemonade dot org, O, R, G. Jay, I would like to thank you very, very much for joining us on Better Worldians today. This has been amazing, an amazing journey over the entire hour so I thank you sincerely for your participation in the show today.

Jay Scott
Thank you. Thank you for having me on. It was a pleasure and thank you for all of the good work you guys are doing.

Gregory Hansell
Thank you, Jay.

Raymond Hansell
This is what keeps it going. Believe it or not, these are the kinds of shows that were going to just be on a buzz for hours after this show. Please join us next week for our show; Its Good to be Good with Dr. Stephen Post. I think youre going to find this extremely enlightening as well. We also have an excellent lineup of guests in the upcoming weeks and if you know an unsung Better Worldian who you think would make a great guest on our show, I urge you to send us an email at Radio at Better Worldians dot com. Wed like to remind everyone that you can be part of the miracle this holiday season. I have mentioned it before. Ill mention it one more time. Simply share our video challenge and help heal ten disabled children. It is that easy. Just go to Color with Kindness dot com. Watch the video, share it with your friends, pass it around. Give these kids the gift of a lifetime, a lifetime that will change their entire life experiences because theyll be able to walk for the first time. Wed like to thank everyone today for listening to our show today with Jay Scott and Alexs Lemonade. You can join the Better Worldian community at Better Worldians dot com and please continue to listen to our show. We enjoy it. We hope that you enjoy it as well. Until next time, everyone, please be a better worldian.