It was only last year when I first read about Alexandra Scott in a local paper. The bald-headed, 7-year-old girl in the picture was smiling, despite the fact she was battling a deadly form of childhood cancer known as neuroblastoma.
It killed me to go on to read that the smiling girl in the picture eventually lost her battle with cancer at the young age of 8.
The sadness and frustration I felt at not being able to help her was, in some way, mitigated only by the tremendous good that came from Alex's too-short life.
Her foundation, Alex's Lemonade Stand, has raised $100 million to date and funded over 500 research projects -- quite a legacy from a girl with a single lemonade stand in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.
Stories like Alex's are as gut-wrenching as they are heart-warming. In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, here are other ways people like us can help the 10,380 children in the United States who will be diagnosed with cancer this year:
1. Go For A Walk
Many organizations around the country sponsor walks, such as those hosted by CureSearch For Children's Cancer Research. Unlike marathons and races, which can be daunting and require training, these walks range from two to three miles, and you can walk as much or as little as you like.
The St. Jude Walk To End Childhood Cancer is another one going on during the month of September. This walk is geared toward families and friends of childhood cancer patients, and helps raise funds to support St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
So plan an afternoon with your friends to get outside, get active and literally take steps against children's cancer this month!
2. Go Gold
Follow this link to show your support and #ShowYourGold this September, with a unique feature on St. Jude's website that lets you upload, customize and share a picture of yourself decked out as a superhero in the fight against cancer.
Be part of the 46,681 people who have uploaded a picture and joined the movement so far.
3. Go Spend
Maybe you didn't realize it, but you don't have to donate directly to cancer research foundations and organizations -- although, you certainly can. You can help kids fighting cancer simply by smartly choosing where you spend your money.
Check out this link to see all the businesses that have partnered with Alex's Lemonade Stand, some of which have raised more than $2 million a piece.
Top contributors include participating companies, like Applebee’s, which raised $1 million during its 2014 campaign alone, and Rita's Water Ice, which raised $3.9 million in nine years by asking patrons at 600 locations to donate $1 to Alex's Lemonade Stand.
Old Navy, Toys "R" Us and Kohl's are just some of the other retailers who have partnered with ALSF.
Seen alone, a small donation here and there doesn't seem like much. But remember, a dollar from all of us can make a powerful contribution.
4. Go To An Event
Sometimes, you can make a difference by doing something you ordinarily do: planning a fun night out with your friends. Take, for example, the Annual Lemon Society Speakeasy, a mixology event held in Philadelphia which raised $20,000 for childhood cancer research.
Many top chefs have also come together to host events that raise money and awareness, including LA Loves Alex's Lemonade, which was described by LA Eater as "possibly the best single day food event in the city."
Other cities with a top lineup of chef events include New York City and Philadelphia.
We can all do our part to savor some awesome food in the name of an awesome cause. Look here for a full list of upcoming events near you.
5. Take Action
Another way you can help is by getting involved with the local government to advocate for funding of childhood cancer research.
Kids v. Cancer makes this easy to do, with a vast array of resources on upcoming bills, and even a form where you can write to your senators and ask them to make cancer research spending a priority.
With all these ways to help during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, there's no reason not to.
Let's continue to be the reason survival rates for these children are improving, with the help of advocacy, funding and research.
Let's do this for Alexandra Scott (and all the children like her) who never stopped smiling and never stopped trying to help.