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Fundraising with a twist

Groups across the country set up lemonade stands to raise money for cancer research. Former Costa Mesa family helps in honor of their son who died of neuroblastoma.

June 13, 2010|By Joseph Serna
(Kent Treptow )

With bright eyes, rosy cheeks and wide smiles as they leaned over their little elbows selling lemonade, it was a scene of classic Americana with a twist at the Irvine Spectrum Saturday morning as kids sold the summer refreshment for pediatric cancer research.

The group was one of many across the country this weekend inspired by the story of Alexandra "Alex" Scott from Pennsylvania, a little girl who set up a lemonade stand in 2000 to raise money for cancer research. Alex had a rare form of cancer, neuroblastoma, that eventually took her life, but not before she inspired families nationwide.

One of those was the Taggart family, who up until two years ago lived in Costa Mesa. The Taggarts learned of Alexandra's story when their own son John was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. As he received treatment at the Children's Hospital of Orange County in 2005, John's parents read him the book "Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand," about that girl with the same disease as him in Pennsylvania.

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He was inspired.

"He said 'I want to have a lemonade stand!'" remembered John's mother, Tamara. "I wish he was here to see how much it's grown and how much awareness we've raised...it's John's idea put into action."

Just a few months after that first lemonade stand in 2005, John succumbed to the disease. But his lemonade stand lives on, now bigger than ever.

Even though they live more than an hour away in Ventura County, the Taggart family returns to Orange County every year to set up Alex's Lemonade Stand, just as John would've wanted.

"I feel like I'm helping John with his big dream," said his older sister Hayley, 12. "And we're making it bigger and if he were here I think he'd be proud of me."

The Taggarts are aiming to raise $10,000 this year. Before even setting up Saturday morning at the Spectrum, they had already raised $3,500 through online donations.

"We thought it was important to support them with what they went through," said Bob Stubblefield, who bought lemonade with his wife and kids Saturday. The Stubblefield kids go to school with some of the Taggarts' five children.

"We wanted to just be here for them," said Sondra Stubblefield.

"That first day in June 2005, John's doctors and nurses came. It was terrific," said John's dad, Kelly. "Coming here, I get to remember the fun times we had. It really makes me remember the good part."

How To Help

For more information on the Alex's Lemonade Stand and its foundation, go to www.AlexsLemonade.org. For more information on how you can contribute to pediatric cancer research, go to www.ocf-ocf.org.

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