Alex’s Lemonade Stand – A Great Cause That Hits Home

January 18TH 2020 was the 14th Annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation “Lemon Ball”; an event put on by Alex’s Lemonade Stand to raise money for pediatric cancer nationwide. As a member of the advisory board, I was in attendance at this event. Just as I have in past years, because I was especially moved by the organization and how they were able to raise funds for an incredible cause – a cause, like so many others, that has affected those I love.
My name is Harry Hayman, and this was my experience at the 14THannual Lemon Ball, and how Alex’s Lemonade Stand has had a profound effect on my life.
I remember hearing about Alex and her first-ever lemonade stand mission on the local news. Being from Radnor, we lived close to Alex. In fact, my niece now goes to school with Alex’s brother. For those who don’t know the story, Alex had set it up in an effort to give whatever money she had raised to her doctors so they could find a cure for her cancer. To me at the time, it was a heartwarming news story but, fortunately, I hadn’t had a personal experience with cancer – but that was all to change all too soon.
Shortly after Alex’s death, my best friends’ daughters was diagnosed with cancer at two years old. It was devastating for all of us who knew her, especially her parents. While she is doing well now – she’s currently a freshman at USC – she is still living with cancer. I jumped in where I could, going to walks in Connecticut and fundraiser’s in DC, becoming one of Kennedy’s crusaders and just a friend when Jeff needed to vent. I gained tremendous respect for my best friend, his lovely wife and son by how they dealt with it and in turn have been awed by Kennedy and her ability to adopt and incorporate this horrible disease into her life.
Then, shockingly, in 2017, my sister was also diagnosed with cancer. It was one of the worst years of my life and you can only imagine how the year was for her. Kim is amazing and attacked the cancer head on – she insisted on being as aggressive as you she could possibly be, up to the brink of death, to ensure that she would “see all her kids graduate”. For those who know her, know that she would have it no other way. I am so proud of her and the whole family as it really does “take a village” to beat cancer. I am happy to say today that my sister is cancer free.
After seeing cancer strike so close to home, my father and I got in touch with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and pledged our support both financially and in activity. Ironically, my sister’s cancer had typically been a pediatric cancer and Alex’s is a thought and research leader in the world of pediatric cancer. Soon after, my father and I became members of the organization’s advisory board and Jay and Liz, Alex’s parents, have become both friends and mentors as we do whatever we can to help cure this horrible disease.
I had attended the inaugural Lemon Ball with my best friend Jeff Snyder due to his daughter’s diagnosis and his involvement (Jeff is on the board) and have ended up going almost every year but that last few years have been different due to my sister’s diagnosis. This year was the first year my sister felt strong enough to attend and attend she did – looking beautiful and next to Alex, was the bell of the ball!
This year marked the 20th anniversary of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and the Lemon Ball was held on Alex’s birthday for the first time since we started. As a member of the host committee, I was incredibly proud of the turnout, and I am also pleased to say that we had raised more money for cancer research this year than ever before.
Through Alex’s Lemonade Stand, we have a fund for cancer research under both my sister Kim’s name for her Ewing’s Sarcoma and my late brother Bradley’s name for a diagnosis for all. We are incredibly proud of how this year’s Lemon Ball turned out, and are very excited to continue to help share Alex’s story and expand the reach that she has had on so many who have had their lives changed from pediatric cancer.