Music and laughter filled the Fitness and Recreation Center at Purdue University Northwest as student athletes played their favorite sports to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
Donations were collected for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which funds pediatric cancer research. The foundation began in 2005 after the death of Alexandra “Alex” Scott who held a lemonade stand in her front yard to raise money for pediatric cancer research at the age of 4. She was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and died from the disease in 2004.
Rick Costello, athletic director at PNW, watched with a proud smile on his face as the athletes played volleyball, basketball and soccer with the determination to win the battle against pediatric cancer.
Costello and his daughter attended the Annual ‘Elemonate’ Cancer 5k Race hosted last year by Northwestern Mutual. Costello wanted to bring the event to PNW after experiencing the event last year and co-host it with Northwestern Mutual.
“I was so touched by Alex’s story,” Costello said. “I thought it would be an amazing idea to bring it here for the athletes to take part in.”
Costello said that his family had personal experiences with cancer, and he does not want to see it affect any more people.
“We are passionate about contributing to the fight,” Costello said.
Auburn Dodd, junior volleyball player, said the event was one of the most memorable moments of her life. Dodd said that Costello held a meeting with the student athletes and told them about the foundation and Alex’s story.
“When Rick showed us the video, I knew I needed to do something,” Dodd said. “I have family members who were affected by cancer and it hurt so much to see them in pain. I cannot imagine what it would be like to watch your kid go through it.”
The event was co-hosted by both PNW Athletics and Northwestern Mutual. Many student athletes attended the event along with their coaches and families.
“We all came together in hope of creating a better world without cancer,” said Dodd.
Serene Jones, junior volleyball player, explained that it is important for people to be aware of pediatric cancer and understand what can be done to help eliminate it.
“Alex’s Lemonade stand is working towards such an inspiring goal,” Jones said. “They are working towards the goal of eliminating pediatric cancer and that is so inspiring. I want everyone to be able to hear Alex’s story and hear about how big pediatric cancer is.”
As the student athletes won many games in volleyball, soccer and basketball, they hoped that they could win the ultimate fight against pediatric cancer.
“There has to be a cure out there,” Dodd said. “We have to find that cure and stop innocent children from dying. That is why we were out there raising money. We were doing it for them. Kids look up to athletes and we are always here to support them. We’re in this fight together.”