As any parent can attest, there are endless scenarios involving young children that can cause many a sleepless night.
But one scenario involving Jon and Lisa Loomer’s son, Michael, could not have been more unexpected.
The Loomers took Michael to the doctor after he started experiencing some breathing problems in 2003. The eventual diagnosis would shock them and change their lives. At the age of two-and-a-half, Michael was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, an aggressive and rare childhood cancer.
“I was absolutely devastated,” said Lisa. “At the time, I was 12 weeks pregnant with our second child and my hormones were all over the place. I fell apart. I asked: ‘How could I cope? How could I lose my child?’”
Neuroblastoma is an extremely rare disease — approximately 650 children are diagnosed with the disease each year. You have a much better chance of winning the lottery than being diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.
Michael ended up at Children’s Hospital for his treatment. A little over a week after the diagnosis, they removed the tumor, which was the size of an egg, in Michael’s chest.
Amazingly, Michael has had a clean bill of health since the operation. He turns 8 years old next Saturday.
About six months after Michael’s diagnosis, Lisa heard about a non-profit organization, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, while watching the “Today Show.” The foundation evolved from a young cancer patients’ front yard lemonade stand to a nationwide fundraising movement to find a cure for childhood cancer.
Since Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004) set up her front-yard stand at the age of 4 in Wynnewood, Penn., more than $25 million has been raised through thousands of lemonade stands and other fundraising events held across the country.
“The lemonade stands are just a way of getting kids involved,” said Lisa. “Some places raise $20 and some raise up to $20,000 — it’s another way of showing that every little bit helps.”
Lemonade next Sunday
The Loomer family will host their 5th Annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand as part of the National Lemonade Days weekend on Sunday, June 14 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at King Soopers, located at 17031 Lincoln Ave. in Parker.
Over the past five years, the Loomers have raised nearly $9,000. The lemonade stand serves as an annual reminder of how lucky they feel to still have Michael, and they know how many other parents are not as fortunate.
“I think my husband and I are both very aware of that this time of year,” said Lisa. “When you become a parent, you never think that you will be a parent of a cancer survivor.”
Visit Michael’s page at alexslemonade.org/stands/5197 for more information.
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