Alex Scott was diagnosed with neuroblastoma right before her first birthday and was determined to raise awareness for pediatric cancer.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) started when Alex announced that she wanted to help raise money for her hospital when she was just four years old by holding a lemonade stand in her front yard. That first lemonade stand raised $2,000. Alex’s contributions started to gain national attention and she decided that her goal was to raise one million dollars to help other children fighting pediatric cancer. Tragically, Alex passed away at the age of eight; that same summer her goal of raising one million dollars was reached. Alex’s family has kept the vision going with the creation of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which was founded on what would’ve been Alex’s ninth birthday.
Helping grow Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation through community outreach in Kansas City is Susan Blowey. As ALSF’s Community Outreach Specialist in Kansas City she works with schools and businesses to help coordinate fundraisers by speaking to them and spreading the message about ALSF and their mission. Blowey also communicates with families that have been impacted by ALSF, whether it be current families or former families. Coordinating special events in Kansas City, such as the Alex Gordon Classic baseball and softball tournament where ALSF works with Midwest Sports Productions to host a tournament where proceeds benefit ALSF is also one of Blowey’s tasks.
Blowey has been with ALSF for the past nine and a half years. She was motivated to start working for an organization that was dedicated to finding a cure for pediatric cancer after her nephew, Charlie, was diagnosed with a brain tumor right before he turned three.
“After going through two years of chemo and radiation it was a great way for me to do something that I am passionate about and also in a small way help him,” said Blowey.
Having a personal connection through her nephew has motivated Blower to follow the mission of ALSF and to encourage as many people to donate as she can.
Organizations like ALSF exist to increase awareness for pediatric cancer and to increase funds for pediatric cancer research. While many other great causes and charities exist, people should raise awareness and donate to ALSF because “ASLF does things the right way. It is about the kids, the cure, and the goal is really to shut the door.”
Blowey says that around 4.6 billion tax dollars go to the National Cancer Institute, but less than 4% of those tax dollars go towards research funding for12 different pediatric cancers. So, the funding for pediatric cancer research is not there to the level of the funding of other types of “adult” cancers. This is what ALSF is working to mend this gap.
Over the last 10 years, Blowey has been deeply impacted by Alex Scott’s parents, Liz and Jay, through their dedication to the foundation and how they have kept the foundation growing and thriving even after their daughter passed away. Blowey said, “I work by myself in my office and it keeps me motivated just to see what they’ve been able to deal with and what they continue to do.”
MSP and ALSF have been working together for five years. The inaugural Alex Gordon Classic baseball tournament started the partnership and now includes a fastpitch tournament which is coming up on its second annual tournament. Each year for a baseball and fastpitch tournament, MSP and ALSF will team up and raise donations for ALSF. Teams entered in the tournament are encouraged to set up a team page through ALSF and collect as many donations as they can. Teams are encouraged to attend a ceremony where they will hear from ALSF and Kansas City Royal’s player Alex Gordon about the mission of ALSF and why it is so important. The top three teams in donations will receive the chance to sit on the field during the ceremony and meet Alex Gordon following the ceremony.
“MSP has that platform and the fact that they’re willing to make the contributions that they do is really amazing,” said Blowey. In the five years the Alex Gordon Classic has been held, more than $207,000 has been raised by participating teams.
But if you ask her what achievement or contribution she has been most proud of during her time at ALSF, she stated, “Really, it is relationships with companies like Midwest Sports Productions meeting everybody there that I have worked with over the past five years. That to me that is a big achievement just because we have been able to sustain the events and Jeremy wants to get even more involved and make a difference. Those type of relationships are what I am most happy with being able to contribute to the big picture.”
Blowey really appreciates the contributions that MSP has made to ALSF because MSP has such a large reach and audience. Personally, Blowey has really enjoyed getting to know the employees at MSP and seeing the passion that MSP has towards the MSP mission.
Throughout the years, Blowey has learned many things since hosting the first Alex Gordon Classic, the biggest of which is flexibility.
“The first couple of years we had a lot of rain and we still made it work. The thing that was really cool is how much the teams get behind the cause of ALSF. These kids really get it. It’s great to see that a 10-year-old boy or girl gets it and really wants to make a difference, whether they get to meet Alex Gordon or not,” Blowey said.
ALSF focuses on “One Cup at a Time.” To Blowey this encompasses what the company stands for. “You never know which cup of lemonade could lead to the cure of pediatric cancer. $50 pays for one hour of research and that hour could be the hour that leads to the cure.”
MSP is grateful for the chance to work with ALSF to find the cure for pediatric cancer “One Cup at a Time.”