You know the saying: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right? But for one little girl living with cancer, that wasn't a metaphor, but a challenge. That little girl died 10 years ago, but she left behind an idea that has grown now into a multi-million-dollar foundation for childhood cancer research. And right now, one group of local restaurants is helping with her cause.
It involves one of the surest signs of summer: lemonade stands that pop up on street corners. But you don't normally see them inside restaurants. So lots of people do a double-take when they see the bright yellow stand inside the Nampa Applebee's.
But as Marketing Manager Chris Baker told On Your Side, this is lemonade with a purpose. "It all started with a little girl named Alex, or Alexandra, who was diagnosed with childhood cancer," explains Baker. That was 14 years ago, and then 4-year-old Alex decided she wanted to make her life about more than just suffering from cancer: she wanted to cure it. "Before she passed away," Baker says, "she wanted to make a difference, and by doing that she started a lemonade stand for 50 cents a cup."
And from that first little stand in Connecticut, a movement was born. Alex's Lemonade Stands started popping up all over the country, and this week in the Treasure Valley, you can help Alex's mission by donating just a dollar wherever you see these stands. A dollar may not seem like much, but Baker says, "If everyone just kind of steps aside and steps out of their own way, you realize that one dollar is going to go so much further than you can imagine."
Area Applebee's restaurants have been supporting Alex and her now multi-million-dollar foundation for the past decade, and Baker told us it took a small army to get their exact replica of Alex's original stand built. "That's why we have a soccer ball, the different colors, the pengin, because those are things that were her favorites and we really wanted to dedicate this to her," he explains. But they'd do it again in a heartbeat, because you never know what these small acts might mean for the bigger picture.
And get this: to date, Alex's Lemonade Stands have raised over $80 million for pediatric cancer research. Just last year, people right here in the valley helped raise $320 thousand dollars through stands at local restaurants. You can donate to alex's cause at area Applebee's through Friday, August 1st.
Head here to learn more about the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and how you can get involved.