September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
That may mean a day-long fund-raiser or a one-time donation for some charitable organizations, but for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, Sept. 1 marks the beginning of "Alex's Million Mile," an annual initiative in which the foundation's affiliated teams from around the country attempt to run, walk and ride a collective total of one million miles before the month is up to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research.
Warriors for a Cure, the foundation's Fairfield County team, was named the event's Top National Fund-raiser in 2013, the year of its inception, and again in 2014.
This year, the team is looking to keep that title, with a goal of $75,000 and 10,000 miles.
As of 2 p.m. Sept. 4, the team has a total of 155 members, and has locked down $18,127 in donations and logged 1,317 miles.
Warriors for a Cure
Warriors for a Cure was co-founded in 2013 by Wiltonians Dave Pennino and Jeff Snyder.
Snyder has a special interest in raising money for cancer research.
"My daughter has a spinal cord tumor," he said, "and when you talk to parents of children that have this disease, you realize that we'd all walk a million miles to find a cure for our kids."
According to Snyder, Warriors for a Cure is open to all of Fairfield County, but Wilton makes up the bulk of its members — and its contributions.
"We've been really fortunate. We're number one because the Wilton community as a whole has really stepped up and rallied around this particular cause."
"Unlike other charitable events," he added, "where it's a black tie gala or a charity auction, this is something that, really, so many different people can get involved in, and we've just had incredible success with organizing group fun runs."
Snyder said this year there are a number of Norwalk businesses on board, too, like LogicSource, Inspira Marketing Group and Cava Capital.
"What they do is promote the initiative internally. They've been great about helping their employees that want to participate to sign up," Snyder said.
Also new to this year's effort is a pledge from the team captains to complete their miles while wearing a lemon costume, referencing, of course, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.
According to Gina Cook with Inspira Marketing Group, "when locals spot the running lemon around town, they are encouraged to snap a selfie with him and upload it to social media using #LemonSuitSelfie."
For every photo shared, Snyder and Pennino will donate $10 to the Warriors for a Cure team.
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation began as a four-year-old's lemonade stand.
Alexandra "Alex" Scott had cancer. She wanted to help find a cure for all children in her situation, so she started selling lemonade out of her front yard to raise money.
Scott died in 2004, at the age of eight, but her lemonade stand has since grown into a national fund-raising entity that has raised upwards of $100 million for pediatric cancer research.
"I'm a huge supporter of Alex's," said Snyder. "I love everything that they stand for, and when this idea came up two years ago, I thought it was really great, so I dove into it."
"It's not too late to join," he said. "Even though September's started, we take people throughout. Literally, every mile counts."
Warriors for a Cure will meet out front of Open House Gifts & Accessories at 9 Center Street for a fun run on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6.
Anyone who wants to run with the team can come by.
Those who wish to join the team or make a donation can do so at the address below.
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