Every year for nearly a decade, Baxter Village families with children affected by childhood cancer have poured lemonade to raise funds for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
The ninth annual Baxter Families Grand Stand event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Market Street. This year, the Lux and Kern families will host the event, which has raised about $10,000 each year. Their children, Austin Lux and Libby Kern, each have fought cancer. Austin, 9, was declared cancer-free at the age of 5, and Libby has been off treatment for over two years.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand was founded by 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott, a cancer patient who donated her lemonade stand money to help fight children’s cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children in the U.S., according to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Every day, about 250 children worldwide die from cancer, which totals nearly 100,000 children per year. In the U.S., the incidence of cancer is increasing among adolescents and young adults at a greater rate than any other age group, according to ALSF.
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According to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, the average cost of a hospital stay for a patient with pediatric cancer is $40,000 per day.
Despite statistics, less than 5 percent of the federal government’s cancer research budget goes to children’s cancer, according to ALSF.
The lack of funding “is really scary if you think of it,” said Heather Lux, Austin’s mom. “You hope that the proper research has already been funded by the time this is your reality.”
Lux remembers when she knew something was wrong with her 3-month-old son.
“I remember saying over the phone to his pediatrician, ‘It looks like he swallowed a volleyball,’” she said. A tumor had developed on Austin’s adrenal gland and spread into his lung.
“Pretty much your worst nightmare,” Lux said of her son’s neuroblastoma diagnosis.
“You’re devastated. You just don’t ever think you’ll be dealing with that.”
The Lux family’s gratefulness for the medical treatment Austin received spurned their desire to help make sure other pediatric cancer patients get the same life-giving care, Lux said.
“Once your child actually beats it, you feel so fortunate. You just can’t sit back and congratulate yourself,” she said.
The foundation is grateful for the continued support from the Baxter families, said ALSF’s representative Gillian Kocher.
“For the past nine years, these families…have brought their community in Fort Mill together to help make a difference for others in the fight,” Kocher said.
“They have proven one of the pillars our foundation is based upon, that you are never too young to make a difference for others,” she said.
Lux said donating to pediatric cancer research can be likened to making a “security deposit,” to ensure “your children, grandchildren, or children that you don’t even known have that proper funding.”
“We cannot thank them enough for their unwavering support,” Kocher said.
Want to go?
What: The Baxter Families Grand Stand to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
When: Saturday, June 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Market St. in Baxter Village
To donate online, visit alexslemonade.org