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Alexs Lemonade Stand

Kids get into the cancer research fund-raising business through
by: Rebecca Mayer, 
Ethan Agritelley, Tara Atwood and Alexander Work are busy serving the kindergarten class at Lake Grove Elementary School during their fundraiser for childhood cancer research on Friday, June 6.

A good, cold glass of lemonade consists of a few parts. The sweet part on Friday, June 6, was that kids were helping other kids. The sour part was that those kids have cancer. Ted Nakamura's third and fourth graders at Lake Grove Elementary School sold lemonade for Alex's Lemonade Stand, a national foundation that supports childhood cancer research. It was the third time Nakamura has done it, but this year the cause is a reality for three kids, one of whom lost her mother to cancer.

'Most of the people here know what it is like,' said Kyle Chandler, a third grader who went through 15 months of chemotherapy for a brain tumor. Chandler was diagnosed in 2005.

Fourth grader Kendra Jackson is the older sister of a leukemia survivor. Her sister Taylor was diagnosed at age 2 and cured at age 5. For Jackson the stand is nothing new. In fact, the kids are using one she first used to raise money for her sister. Her first stab at the stand raised $365 for her sister.

'Just by selling lemonade you can help a lot of people,' she said, going on to talk about the kids she met at Doernbecher Children's Hospital - some who did not make it. 'I remember not wanting to go to Doernbecher,' she said. 'It was really sad.'

Nakamura originally saw something on Alex's Lemonade Stand on TV three years ago and wanted to teach his students a lesson beyond the books. Alexandra Scott's story begins in 2000 when, with the help of an older brother, she set up her first stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. She held an annual lemonade stand in the Philadelphia area for the next four years despite her own deadly fight with cancer. By the time Alex died at the age of 8 in 2004, she had helped to raise more than $1 million. Alex's family and friends set up a foundation in her name with a goal of continuing to get kids to help other kids through the simplicity of a neighborhood lemonade stand.

The Lake Grove stand was held on Field Day and featured donations from community businesses. New Seasons provided the lemonade, Stacy's Pita Chips provided small bags of chips and Instant Imprints donated T-shirts for the kids.

The marketing and business of the stand was left to the kids.

'We want them to feel as if they are truly in charge. We're giving them guidance but they're making the decisions,' said Julie Chandler, Kyle's mother.

'The only thing the parents do is carry the water,' added fourth grader Josie Taylor.

The kids took complete ownership of the project, doing things just the way kids would do it - from counting pennies and tallying earnings with a magic marker to turning excitement into arguments about who gets to pour the lemonade. In so many ways, it was truly a lesson beyond the books.

Ethan Agritelley learned how to do marketing for an event and how to pick a fair price for a product.

But Marin Motylewsi summed up one of the biggest lessons Nakamura was trying to teach: 'We learned how to give,' she said.

And give they will - more than you might think a simple lemonade stand could generate. The Lake Grove kids have increased their earnings every year Nakamura has done Alex's Lemonade Stand. The first year, the goal was $300, and a parent started off the day by writing a check for $295. They raised $1,000.

This year, the kids set their goal at $1,000 and Nakamura promised to shave his head if the kids could make the goal. Chandler agreed to do the same, while Jackson decided to donate 12 inches of her hair to Locks of Love. The final tally of nickels and dimes and quarters equaled a total of $3,000, so the scissors and razors came out to celebrate the kids' success.

Additionally, Mike Heinrich, an oncologist at OHSU and a Lake Grove father, spoke at the end of the day about childhood cancer and told them that their work will make a difference.

A Web site has be made for students to share with their friends and families to help spread the news about Alex's Lemonade Stand. Visit www.firstgiving.com/lakegrovelemonade if you are interested in giving or www.alexslemonade.org if you would like to learn more about Alex's story.