Pictured throughout this blog post are the courageous Kyte Club members whose cancer journeys our community has followed, or they've recently shared with us. With their permissions, we are honored to share their pictures with you.
Nearly everyone who sees a pink ribbon on someone’s lapel knows exactly what it stands for. Recognized internationally as a symbol of breast cancer awareness, the pink ribbon is a sign that its wearer stands in support of women with breast cancer. The gold ribbon is lesser known, but those who wear one wish everyone would know its meaning. Every September, families, charities, and organizations “Go Gold” for childhood cancer. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and a gold ribbon is the international symbol behind the campaign. For those who are all too familiar with the gold ribbon and everything it stands for, raising awareness is, quite literally, a life-or-death matter. Finding a cure for cancer is only possible with extensive research, and research is impossible without funding. Despite the National Cancer Institute (NCI) receiving an approximate $7 billion budget every year, only 4% of the NCI budget is allocated toward all pediatric cancers—combined. As a result, researchers rely on private philanthropies to fund at least half of all childhood cancer research. In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we made a $5,000 donation to one such philanthropy: Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) is one of the leading funders of pediatric cancer research in the United States and Canada. The foundation has raised over $250 million since its inception and has funded over 1,000 grants at nearly 150 institutions. It all started with 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who told her parents that she wanted to set up a lemonade stand in their front yard and give the money to doctors to help them find a cure for cancer. Diagnosed with neuroblastoma just before her first birthday, Alex was on a mission to help sick children just like herself get better. On her lemonade stand’s opening day, she managed to raise a whopping $2,000. While bravely battling her cancer, she continued to set up lemonade stands every year, quickly garnering nationwide attention and inspiring others to set up their own lemonade stands and donate to her cause. Although Alex sadly passed away at 8 years old, her parents started Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation the following year to honor their daughter and continue her work.
Each year in the United States, over 17,000 children are diagnosed with cancer. Faced with the unimaginable, these children and their families have every aspect of their lives turned upside down. A cancer diagnosis takes a physical, emotional, and financial toll, and without proper support and resources, families are thrown into further turmoil. ALSF uses its donations not only to fund cutting-edge research that leads to breakthroughs but also to provide special programs for families of children with cancer. The ALSF Travel for Care program offers financial assistance needed to travel to clinical trials, experimental therapies, or treatment innovations, while the foundation’s SuperSibs program honors, supports, and recognizes siblings of children with cancer to help them face the future with courage and hope. These programs mitigate some of the devastation a cancer diagnosis brings and offer families much-needed support during the worst time in their lives.
Earlier this year, Dr. Yael Mossé, an ALSF-funded researcher and oncologist, made a major breakthrough in treating high-risk neuroblastoma. Dr. Mossé had an open clinical trial for a targeted drug, Lorlatinib, as a single treatment agent for children and adults in combination with chemotherapy in children. The patients in the trial all had relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma with previously unsuccessful treatments. Although Lorlatinib was an FDA-approved treatment for small cell lung cancer in adults, it had not been tested for treating neuroblastoma. The results of the clinical trial showed that the drug worked for children and adults with the same type of neuroblastoma. As Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s founder, Alex Scott, passed away 19 years ago from neuroblastoma, this breakthrough was a full-circle moment that was made possible by Alex’s legacy.
Although childhood cancer is still considered a rare disease, more children in the United States die of cancer than any other disease. Families of children with cancer fight to have their voices heard, campaigning on social media platforms every September with the hashtags #MoreThan4 and #GoGold to highlight the need for better pediatric cancer research. It is their hope that more awareness will lead to better-funded research, which will lead to better treatments, and, someday, a cure. As a baby brand owned by a parent and operated by parents, we are so proud to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and their work in championing children and fighting for their cancer-free futures.
If you would like to make a donation to ALSF or support their mission, you can find out all the ways to give here.