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Philadelphia International Children's Festival

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Guest Post: By Lily's Mom Trish Adkins

Today we are proud and honored to feature this guest post by fellow Philly-area blogger Trish Adkins, mom of two, teacher of yoga, freelance writer, and founder/author of Yoke. I have gotten very closely involved with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation this year mostly because of work at my "day job" involving schools around the world coming together to raise money through Alex's Virtual Lemonade Stand. I'm so touched to have the opportunity to begin to get to know Trish's daughter Lily, a childhood cancer hero (though Lily probably wouldn't call herself that). Won't you take a minute to read Trish's post and consider coming out to support Lily's stand on June 9th? Or making an online or text donation to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation through Lily's stand? Every penny DOES count! Just ask Lily and her family...

When life gives you lemons. . .you make Alex's Lemonade!

When my daughter was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, I knew nothing about Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer (ALSF). Then one morning in June while she was upstairs at the Children's Hospital of Phildelphia in the PICU recovering from brain surgery, I went downstairs to buy a cup of lemonade.

CHOP was buzzing with excitement--it was the ALSF annual Lemonade Days. I, however, was in a bad place. The day before Lily had complications during a procedure. I hated the world. I hated everything and everyone. I was spent.

Then I heard Liz Scott speak. I only remember one word that Liz said:

Hope.

Hearing this amazing woman and mother, who lost her child, tell me to have hope, saved me.

My daughter Lily is a 6-year-old brain tumor survivor. She was diagnosed when she was 14-months old, after weeks of throwing up. Her pediatrician kept diagnosing a GI bug and a bladder infection. Finally, we begged for more answers and we were sent to the emergency room at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Within 30 minutes we had our answer: a brain tumor.

Those are two words, you never, ever want to hear as a parent.

Lily has endured multiple brain surgeries, seven weeks of proton radiation and continued therapies to help improve her motor skills and strengthen her muscles. Brain surgery damaged Lily's overall muscle tone and coordination. Therapy and hard work has brought Lily full circle. The little girl who once could not walk, now runs and tumbles and dances. She is a shining beacon of hope and strength and love.

But we know that Lily's battle is not unique. Everyday, 46 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer. Everyday, 46 mothers and fathers learn that their child will begin the fight for their lives. Seven children die everyday at the hands of childhood cancer.

46 children is 46 too many. The suffering has to stop.

It because of these children that our family holds an Alex's Lemonade Stand to support ALSF every year. For the past four years, our family has hosted a Lemonade Stand in our front yard and online to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Childhood cancer research is consistently underfunded and under researched. But ALSF is working to change that. Since 2004, the foundation has made a major impact--raising over $50 million for research. It all started with Alex--a little girl who was really sick and really wise. Alex knew that every penny counts and every donation adds up.

This year, our family aims to raise $10,000 for a cure to all forms of childhood cancer. It is an enormous goal--but it is one we hope to reach with the help of kind and generous friends.

Every donation--whether $5 or $50 counts. When you buy a cup (or 100 cups, please!), you will be sipping in the beautiful stories of some of my favorite people in the world, my heroes. In honor of all those children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who fight, have fought and will continue to sell lemonade for their friends, until cures for pediatric cancer are found, I ask, I beg you to raise a glass to these amazing blessings.

Together, we will beat childhood cancer, one icy cold, sweet cup of lemonade at a time!

To donate to Lily's stand: http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/80920 To donate in person, come to the stand on June 9, in Lily's front yard in Lindenwold, NJ. There will be loads of great activities for the kids: face painting, a sour lemon face contest, moon bounce, crafts, raffle prizes and much more!

-- Trish Adkins
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