PHILADELPHIA – A young cancer patient who started a lemonade stand to raise money for cancer research, sparking a nationwide fund-raising campaign that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, has died. She was 8.
Alexandra Scott (search), of Wynnewood, died peacefully Sunday at home on her favorite couch, her father, Jay Scott, said Monday.
"She opened her eyes for the first time that day just before she passed away. She looked out at the trees," Scott said. "In the past she's been in a lot of pain, but at the end she had no pain, which is what she worried about."
Alex, diagnosed just before her first birthday with neuroblastoma (search), an aggressive form of childhood cancer, decided to set up a lemonade stand to raise money for treatment. She took in $2,000 that first year, and a series of stands had raised a total of $200,000 after four years.
In June, lemonade stand fund-raisers were set up in all 50 states, as well as in Canada and France, and Alexandra and her family appeared on Oprah Winfrey's TV program and the "Today" show.
Alex hoped that her Alex's Lemonade Stand (search) charity would raise $1 million this year for cancer research. The effort has reached about $750,000, and Volvo of North America had pledged to hold a fall fund-raising event to assure that the $1 million goal would be reached, Jay Scott said.
Since June, Alex's quality of life had dropped off, and her health had severely deteriorated in the last few days. Still, she remained determined to push forward, family members said.
The Scotts plan to set up a memorial fund in their daughter's honor at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (search), where Alex was treated most of her life. She had asked this past month that something be established in her name.
"She had never asked about that before, so I think she knew something was going on," Jay Scott said. The family recently gave the hospital $200,000 from this year's lemonade proceeds.
Kay Sweet, a retired principal who home-schooled Alex over the past three years, when she was too sick to go to school, will most remember her student's determination and fierce independence.
Sweet noted the sacrifices the Scotts have made as they juggled Alex's care, their family life and the fund-raising efforts. Jay Scott works full-time, and their family includes three other children.
"They're just wonderful people, and have given so much of themselves to all of the causes that have been really important to Alex," Sweet said.