3 years ago, Alex Scott passed away at the tender age of 8 from an incurable neuroblastoma. In her too short life, Alex and her family started a crusade to cure childhood cancer that began with a simple lemonade stand held on the family's front lawn. Recently, Alex's Lemonade Stand has recently burgeoned into a national phenomenon raising over $12 million to date. It is not often that something so purely good becomes so popular. In my mind I draw a parallel between Alex's Lemonade and Harry Potter. Just as J.K. Rowling motivated a nation of video-gamers and DVD-watchers to read, Alex's Lemonade Stand has turned a nation of consumers into charitable donors. You can now buy Alex's Lemonade not only at stands across the country but also at from Tasty-Kake (as Lemon Krimpets) at WaWa & Rita's (if you're in the Tri-State area), at Starbucks (in Philadelphia), and from Country Time.
At Penn we were fortunate enough to have Alex's parents speak to us about Alex's inspirational life and and clinical course. They spoke of Alex's determination and of the impact of clinical trials on her care. Alex's parents Jay & Liz Scott offered nothing but praise for the efforts made at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Although unable to offer a cure, the trials offered a family additional priceless time to share together. Researchers often overlooks quality of life, choosing instead to focus on the more concrete quantity of life measure. Yet this method is flawed as terminally ill patients and their families will iterate time and time again that what they crave is a few more days of time to share.
Remembering Alex, Liz spoke "Alex's life is a beautiful example of the importance of childhood cancer research. Childhood cancer research is the only way that a cure can be found, but it's not always about a cure. Cancer research changes lives, and in Alex's case it allowed her to live her life in the best way possible for as long as possible. It let her experience as much of life as possible and gave us all hope when we most needed it. We never asked for a cure when we came to CHOP, we just wanted her to experience as much of life as possible. We wanted more time which we got through clinical trials. She lost her first tooth, she saw her baby brother and she started a foundation to find a cure. Cancer research does change lives. It's important. It adds priceless memories and moments. It gave us 4 years to spend with our daughter and it gave thousands of people the chance to believe in the power of one person to make a difference."
As future physicians it is of utmost importance that we constantly recall stories like Alex's and consider the quality of our patients' lives. We must be honest about prognosis and offer choices. We must be patient and respect the decisions of our patients and their families. We must listen to our patients' questions and answer them honestly.
Click here to learn more about Alex's Lemonade Stand.
If you are feeling generous and would like to make contributions to both Med-Source and to aid in the search for a cure for child hood cancer, click here. 50% of all donations made this week will go directly to Alex's Lemonade Stand.
Med-Source provides you with the resources you need to save time, and get some sleep during med school.
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