Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fighting Childhood Cancer, One Cup at a Time

I don't really talk about my volunteer work much since I don't do it to get a pat on the back.  I'm telling you about this today since it is very close to my heart and an amazing organization.


Alex's Lemonade Stand is Fighting Childhood Cancer, One Cup at a Time


I began working with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation in 2005.  Lauren had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and I wanted to do everything I could to raise money for more research.  If you don't know about ALSF I encourage you to read about it on their site.  In short ALSF was started by Alex Scott when she was just 4 years old.  Her first Lemonade Stand raised $2,000.  Before she passed away at just 8 years old her stand and stands inspired by hers had raised over 1 Million Dollars.  Since then through Lemonade Stands and ALSF events over 45 Million Dollars has been raised for Cancer Research and support of families in treatment.  ALSF is an amazing organization & the core is still encouraging children to host their own stands since every dollar counts.

In June of 2005 my sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, hosted its first Lemonade Stand at Drexel University the day of graduation.  The stand was a huge success and the sorority has continued to do it each year.

I worked the stand for some time in the morning, but then had to go change since it was my graduation day! {I made the tablecloth and t-shirts and they still get used too!}

I continued to volunteer in Philadelphia for ALSF over the years.  When Elijah was diagnosed it was right before the 2011 Lemon Ball and quite ironic that I had already been raising funds for Childhood Cancer for over 5 years.  I was worried with moving that I wouldn't be able to do as much since ALSF started in the Philly area & is much more well known there.  I knew I'd also miss the lemon ball which is coming up this January.

I was happy to find out that they have a growing group in California and jumped right in to help.

In October Variety magazine hosted Power of Youth and honored Bailee Madison for her work with ALSF.  I spent the day giving out Lemonade and educating people on ALSF.

Bailee is amazingly well spoken for being only 12.  Her goal is to raise money & awareness through many ways including raising awareness that Gold is the color for Childhood Cancer Awareness.  Did you know that?


Then in November ALSF had a huge event in LA.  LA Loves Alex raised over $400,000 this year!!  The event had top chefs from all over cooking and sharing their food.  Elijah was invited as a Hero Child along with my family.  I was at the event volunteering.

Here is a video of Neil Patrick Harris talking about ALSF.  Elijah has a prime shot in the video & I can even be spotted in the background.

Here are more photos from LA Loves Alex.  {Taken by my entire family.}

One of the food tents.

The stage.

Elijah & I got to meet Jimmy Kimmel.  Jimmy was the MC for the event.  He is so nice & down to earth!

Alex's parents speaking.

Hero families sat on the steps to the stage.  My parents loved spending time with their grandkids.

Neal Patrick Harris speaking

Here is a rare photo of all of us.

My parents with the Lemonade Stand.  Just one stand... changed everything.

Elijah was a fan of the Lemonade.

So was Aliyah.

Karin & Brad talking with other families.

Lots of laughs.

and lots of great things for kids.

These kids have Cancer... but they are also still just kids.

Taking a break to spend some time with my family.

 ...and eat a snack

I don't help at these events to meet celebrities, but sometimes it can be a nice perk when you meet someone who you really enjoy.  Harold Perrineau is an amazing actor that has been in too many things to count.  He was Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet {my favorite movie} and Michael in Lost {one of my favorite tv shows.}

I also got to chat with Neal Patrick Harris for a bit.


So that brings me to today & why I'm posting this today.
Where am I today?
I'm headed to LA to again raise money for ALSF.

Today is DreamWorks Animation's annual Holiday Drive.  85 charities were nominated by employees and ALSF was nominated by my brother.  It was one of the 10 charities chosen this year.  The event typically raises a lot of money and awareness.  I'm looking forward to a day of telling people about Alex, Lauren and Elijah.  {...and a bonus is that I'll get to have lunch with my brother.}


My advice... Pick an organization that means something to you & give your time.  If you can give money... even better... but when you can't... you can always give time.  I've been giving of my time since I was a little kid and I can't begin to explain how personally rewarding it has always been.

© Blog post written by Julie Herman
For more information visit


Melissa Corry said...

Beautiful and Inspiring. Thank you!! Wishing the very best to Elijah and to you and your family this Holiday season :)

Sandy said...

I'm just SO proud of you, for what you DO and how beautifully you have described it to others. You tell your story like the Artist you are, colorful & full of energy! You are an inspiration!

**nicke... said...

that is so wonderful julie. you have a beautiful heart!

Sandy said...

I've heard of this organization, but had no idea that it was of this magnitude! Great pictures and thank you for sharing.

Katie @SwimBikeQuilt said...

I think this is my favorite post on your blog, ever. Well done, and I'm glad you shared.

The One and Only said...

Thanks for sharing all that great information. We just found out that my father's cancer is starting to creep back so we are waiting to get an appointment with UCSF to get some treatment...This will be the third time in about three years trying to get rid of this darn cancer...How is Elijah doing? What is going on with his cancer? I'd really love to know!! BTW, thanks for moving to California....If I ever go down south I'm going to find you!! (trying not to sound ubber creepy but I love your blog and would so love to meet you in person!!) Cheers!

Jennifer Thomas said...

Thanks so much for sharing this story. I did not know about this organization. I went through cancer when my two oldest boys were 6 and 11 months. I have since been blessed with a third child. I thank God every day that it happened to me and not one of my children. My middle son, who is now 7 has a classmate with cancer and I encourage him to be a real friend to this child. Your work is priceless & Elijah is beautiful.

Have a super day!

Melissa said...

Wonderful post, Julie! There are so many ways for individuals to make a difference. It's a good reminder to get involved in something that matters. It's great to see photos of your family having a great time together. Hope Elijah's doing well!

Brakmack said...

Thank you for your post! It was great to meet you today!! You are truly an inspiration!!

Jennifer said...

I think a lot about donations of time as well as money. This year, my husband and I decided we would be giving multiple donations to the Central Virginia Food Bank and FeedMore Richmond.

Many of the students that I work with live in impoverished communities and their parents do not have access to regular transportation to grocery shop, let alone the money to buy the food. I felt that if I gave to these organizations, I would be giving to my students, too.

A lot of my donations of time are given to my school. I know that sounds like a cop out, since that's where I work, but a lot of our kids desperately need someone to lean on and I try to be there whenever I can. I believe in my community and want my kids to grow up to be strong, caring, loving, responsible, giving people. The only way I can make sure that happens is to model it for them, to show love and caring by building strong bonds with them, to give to them out of kindness and love, and to show strength (together!) in the face of adversity.

Thanks for this post; I really liked reading it.

ann said...


The Rx quilter said...

You are such an inspiration in so many ways. Thank you for sharing with us! Lisa in Texas

mascanlon said...

Oh do I have a deal for you! And these fabulous organization, I'll email you details. I am excited!

bethanndodd said...

Beautifully written and very inspiring, Julie. I wish you and your family, especially Elijah, a very memorable Holiday. Smiles~Beth

Dresden Quilter said...

I hope the DreamWorks Animation's annual Holiday Drive went well for you. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of giving.

Sumaiyyah said...

This is such a beautiful and inspiring post. Thank you so much for sharing about your work and Elijah with us! He's such a cutie :)