The Greenwood Elementary School family pulled together to raise $10,200 for cancer research, inspired by the deaths of a peer and a teen from Summit Christian Academy.
And they expect to raise more.
“Our hopes and prayers are to continue. We plan to be all-in again next year,” said Pat Thomas, one of the organizers.
Greenwood Elementary School in the Lee’s Summit School District has about 450 students. The children volunteered with parents and staff to run 13 lemonade stands at various locations April 21 to 25. The children also brought coins from home, collecting $2,000.
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They had the support of several Greenwood businesses and the Greenwood Fellowship Church for the fundraising effort. The money will be contributed to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which provides support for pediatric cancer research and families with children being treated for cancer.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was founded by the parents of Alexandra “Alex” Scott, a victim of childhood cancer. Alex, who first started raising money for cancer research when she was 4, died when she was 8 in 2004.
The connection with the foundation began with a before-school club led by Thomas, the school’s library and media center clerk. The group studied heroes and learned about Alex, who had raised money for cancer research with her own lemonade stands before her death. The club opened their own stand and that year raised $1,000.
This year the school was planning for another stand when a tragedy moved them to broaden their effort to the Greenwood community.
Noah Coram, the son of Greenwood and Trailridge elementary school teacher Julie Coram, recently lost his battle with an illness. Thomas said his illness and death motivated the staff and students.
Last Thanksgiving Noah Coram, 17, fell ill and was initially believed he had pneumonia. When he wasn’t improving under treatment and doctors searched for the cause, they discovered he had an aggressive and extremely rare cancer, diagnosed around Christmas, Thomas said. He died in March.
According to his obituary, the senior at Summit Christian Academy took part in the National Student Leadership Conference in Washington D.C and Boy’s State. He was a published Cappies reviewer and was given the Christian Character Award. He had received a full scholarship to Truman State University and aspired to travel and be in business. At age 15, he was beginning his own online business that sold men’s fine fashions.
He, too, held a fundraiser to help pay for research into pediatric cancer.
Also, Thomas said, he was able to contribute even after his death. Doctors were able to remove living cancerous cells from Noah, which had not been done for that particular cancer. They will be used for future studies in hopes of finding a cure.
“He was courageous,” Thomas said. “When he had the chance, he didn’t talk about himself. He talked a lot about the small amount of funding that went to pediatric cancer research.”
The students and staff at the school decided to expand their effort in his honor, but didn’t promote it as such to respect his family’s grief, she said.
Volunteers stepped up.
The Fellowship Greenwood Church bought the lemonade and cups, so all the proceeds could go to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Businesses and organizations hosting lemonade stands for the drive included Casey’s General Store, Fellowship Greenwood Church, Greenwood Mercantile, Greenwood Antique Mall, Big Creek Antique Mall, and As Time Goes By. The school also had lemonade stands.
Martin Marietta Rock Quarry, Greenwood PTA and Tom Marshall of Realty Executives made donations.
A few students went further: one opening a home lemonade stand and raised more than $200
Thomas said that according to the foundation, a day of cancer research costs $50 an hour and a week costs $2,000. “They paid for five weeks of research, I’m so proud of them.”