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Event Raises Awareness for Clinical Trials

March 19, 2009

Liz and Jay Scott, parents of Alexandra “Alex” Scott who established the national organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, will speak about the critical role of clinical medical trials at the AWARE for All program, hosted by Drexel University College of Medicine on March 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Drexel’s Edmund D. Bossone Research Enterprise Center, 3128 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 

AWARE for All programs, which are free one-day workshops open to the public, help consumers learn more about clinical trials and their lifesaving potential for participants and for future generations. The programs are sponsored by the non-profit organization Center for Information and Study of Clinical Research Participation.

AWARE in Philadelphia is being offered in collaboration with the area’s finest hospitals and academic medical institutions including Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Drexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, University of Pennsylvania and Saint Peters University Hospital of N.J.

During the program, which features a complimentary breakfast reception and a free lunch, Philadelphia area residents will describe their experiences participating in clinical trials and prominent physicians will provide information. In addition, attendees can get free health screenings for HIV, body mass index, breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and vision, and will receive a clinical research educational handbook.

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, and U.S. Senator Arlen Specter are Honorary Co-chairs.

Among the speakers will be Liz and Jay Scott, parents of Alex Scott (1996-2004). Alex was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer, shortly after her first birthday. While bravely battling the disease, she decided at the age of four to begin holding yearly lemonade stands to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer.

After surgery and chemotherapy failed to halt the disease, the Scotts brought Alex to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in order to get experimental treatments.

“We were told by several hospitals that there were no more treatment options and we should just enjoy her last days,” says Jay. “But the experimental treatments gave her 4 1/2 more years with us.”

Before Alex died in 2004, she had realized her dream of having volunteers hold fundraising lemonade stands throughout the country. The local stands eventually grew to be Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which so far has raised over $25 million for childhood cancer research and has funded more than 80 research grants.

The Scotts credit experimental treatments with giving Alex more time to enjoy herself and raise money to help other children with cancer.

“Experimental treatment is a different decision for every parent,” says Liz. “In the back of your mind you’re always hoping for a cure, but in Alex’s case, the chances of a cure were small. The treatments gave Alex a lot more time. Even if you don’t feel hope for a cure, there are ways to extend life and quality of life.”