When life gives you lemons, fight child­hood cancer with lemon­ade

Westin Wash­ing­ton Na­tional Har­bor to sup­port Alex’s Lemon­ade Stand Foun­da­tion with fundraiser Sept. 5

The Enquire-Gazette - - News - By JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES [email protected]­news.com Twit­ter: @JClink_En­qGaz

In an ef­fort to join the bat­tle against child­hood cancer as well as help raise funds and aware­ness, Westin Wash­ing­ton Na­tional Har­bor, in part­ner­ship with Alex’s Lemon­ade Stand Foun­da­tion, will host its sec­ond an­nual Alex’s Lemon­ade Stand on Sept. 5 at the Na­tional Har­bor.

The Westin, lo­cated in the heart of Na­tional Har­bor’s wa­ter­front com­mu­nity, will be sell­ing lemon­ade, cup­cakes and other treats as part of its fundrais­ing ef­forts for the foun­da­tion, ac­cord­ing to a ho­tel press re­lease.

“We ac­tu­ally proac­tively reached out to [Alex’s Lemon­ade Stand Foun­da­tion] af­ter see­ing some of their ad­ver­tise­ments,” said Scott Remes, Westin’s cor­po­rate sales man­ager. “Af­ter a lit­tle bit of re­search, we dis­cussed it with our team and just felt it was a some­thing we’d re­ally like to get be­hind and sup­port.”

Alex’s Lemon­ade Stand Foun­da­tion, es­tab­lished in 2005, was spear­headed by Alexan­dra “Alex” Scott who was di­ag­nosed with neu­rob­las­toma as a baby in 1997. Be­fore her death seven years later, 4-year-old Alex told her par­ents she wanted to hold a lemon­ade stand and raise money to help find a cure for all chil­dren with cancer.

While fight­ing her own cancer, Alex con­tin­ued to set up lemon­ade stands ev­ery year. As news spread of the re­mark­able girl so ded­i­cated to help­ing other sick chil­dren, peo­ple ev­ery­where were in­spired to start their own lemon­ade stands — do­nat­ing the pro­ceeds to her cause, ac­cord­ing to the foun­da­tion’s web­site.

The foun­da­tion, started by Alex’s par­ents, Liz and Jay Scott, to con­tinue the work that she be­gan, has evolved into a na­tional fundrais­ing move­ment, rais­ing more than $127 mil­lion which has helped fund more than 650 cut­ting-edge re­search projects; cre­ate a travel pro­gram to help sup­port fam­i­lies of chil­dren re­ceiv­ing treat­ment; and de­velop re­sources to help peo­ple ev­ery­where af­fected by child­hood cancer.

Hav­ing hosted an Alex’s Lemon­ade Stand event for the first time last year, Remes said he and his col­leagues at Westin felt that child­hood cancer is some­thing that ev­ery­one can re­late to.

“When you look at some of th­ese kids, they’re just in­spir­ing,” Remes said. “Just the fact that a child so young [like Alex] could turn around and do some­thing like that, it grabs a hold of you. We love kids and kids shouldn’t spend their child­hood fight­ing cancer.”

Remes said Alex’s Lemon­ade Stand fundraiser is one of the new an­nual com­mu­nity projects added to the ho­tel’s reper­toire. Funds raised on Sept. 5 will go di­rectly to child­hood cancer re­search — look­ing for new cures and also to sup­port the af­fected fam­i­lies.

“The back and forth be­tween the hos­pi­tals and dif­fer­ent re­search cen­ters, it can take a toll on a fam­ily,” he said. “The Alex’s Lemon­ade Stand Foun­da­tion does an ex­cel­lent job get­ting those funds to the right peo­ple. In terms of the lo­cal area, they ac­tu­ally fund grants for [re­search groups at] John Hop­kins Univer­sity as well as Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity.”

Westin’s Gen­eral Man­ager Salem Sha­heen said host­ing the fundraiser dur­ing La­bor Day week­end is ideal as Na­tional Har­bor is a pop­u­lar des- tina­tion for tourists and peo­ple from all over the re­gion.

“Last year was our first year. We did it over La­bor Day week­end also and we raised a lit­tle bit over $2,000,” said Sha­heen. “We en­joy do­ing it. The whole team gets in­volved. … We set a whole stand up out­side in front of the ho­tel and make it a fun, all-day event.”

“It feels great,” Remes said. “You get out there and you get to shake hands with a lot of folks from the com­mu­nity. You hear a lot of sto­ries of peo­ple that re­ally just con­nect with it. A lot of peo­ple have come here who have been touched by child­hood cancer them­selves or it’s their chil­dren. It gets to your heart and it shakes you in your bones. But at the end of the day, you feel re­ally good about it and peo­ple walk away with a smile, know­ing they did some­thing spe­cial.”

For Sha­heen, he gets a lot of satisfaction just know­ing his ho­tel staff is sup­port­ing a great cause that is not only near and dear to his heart, but to his wife’s as well, he said.

“[My wife and I] are very sup­port­ive of St. Jude’s Hospi­tal. Chil­dren, in gen­eral, shouldn’t be lay­ing in bed with wires com­ing out of them and IV tubes,” said Sha­heen. “I’ve had friends whose kids have had some type of dis­ease or sick­ness, but has got­ten bet­ter at an early age. I’ve had older friends of mine who were in their 30s and have died of cancer. Cancer has been a part of my life for a long time.”

Remes said Westin Wash­ing­ton Na­tional Har­bor plans to con­tinue sup­port­ing the foun­da­tion as it seeks to en­cour­age and em­power oth­ers to get in­volved.

“We’ve ral­lied up some huge sup­port from friends, fam­ily and just the com­mu­nity at Na­tional Har­bor it­self,” he said. “We do plan to do this event again in the fu­ture. We’d love to seek more sup­port from the lo­cal area, the county and just get­ting the word out there and let peo­ple know what we’re do­ing down here.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.