West Hartford Man Bicycling To Pennsylvania For Childhood Cancer

WEST HARTFORD — A decade after Alex Scott lost her battle with cancer, the foundation she started, Alex's Lemonade Stand, has raised millions to help find a cure for the disease.

Now, her uncle Aaron Scott is setting off on a bicycle journey from his home in West Hartford to Pennsylvania to help keep her dream alive.

"Alex did so much before she passed away at eight years old, she raised a million dollars with her lemonade stand from when she was four years old to when she passed away," Scott said. "She was just a great little ambassador."

Alex, who was born in Connecticut and diagnosed with neuroblastoma just before her first birthday, moved with her family to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to receive treatment at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She is buried in Valley Forge, where her parents, Jay and Liz Scott, still live and administer the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Scott is setting off Friday on the 270 mile trip to raise awareness for pediatric cancer.

He started planning the trip about a year ago and has been training for the past nine months.

"I was asked what I want to do for my 50th birthday and thought this might be a good idea," Scott said.

His route will take him west through Poughkeepsie and along back roads to avoid heavy traffic through New York before ending in Valley Forge. He's rented an RV that Jay Scott, his brother, and Steve Cohn, chairman of the board of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, will use to provide support along the way.

"I'm not sure how many hours a day I'll be riding," said Scott. "We're prepared to go into the night if we can do it, if my 50 year old body can take it."

Scott said he used to race and ride distances of around 100 miles, but injuries forced him to slow down. He wanted to pick up bicycling again, however, and this will be his longest ride to date.

"I always wanted to do something large and meaningful and bring awareness to the same thing that she was bringing awareness to," Scott said. "If I get through this successfully it'll be something that I can remember for a long time."

His wife, Pam, who illustrated the Scott family's book, "Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand," and his teenage sons will be cheering him on, and Scott said their entire extended family has been involved in volunteering for and supporting Alex's foundation.

He hopes to reach Pennsylvania within a few days and return to work Monday, but "if it takes longer, it takes longer," Scott said. "I honestly don't know how long it will take, we'll just keep going until we get there."

Scott admitted he's nervous about the trip, and asked his father, Pat, for advice.

"I had a little bit of trepidation and he said, 'You'll make it. Even if it takes you an extra day, you'll make it.'" Scott said. "It's good to know that he's got confidence in me."

To learn more about Aaron Scott's ride and to donate, visit http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/1116589