What do you get when you combine one mom on a mission, two determined tweens, dozens of children with cancer and a day of fun?
The answer is “help ’12,” which stands for hope, enjoy, laugh, play 2012.
Created by Cranberry mom Lori Silvester, help ’12 is a new program for children battling various forms of pediatric cancer. For the fourth year in a row, Silvester and her kids, Kate, 12, and Harrison, 9, will host the largest lemonade stand fundraiser in the area to help support pediatric cancer research through the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
This year's event takes place from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 23 at Fun Fore All Family Entertainment Center in Cranberry Township.
The Silvester family went a step further this year by adding help ’12 to the event. The program invites children from all over the region who are currently undergoing cancer treatment—and also young survivors—to come out for a free day of games, rides, food and fun.
“We wanted to not only raise funds for research, but also find a way to make an immediate impact on the lives of kids with cancer,” Silvester said. “help ’12 will do that by offering kids a day away from the hospital and treatment to have fun with friends and family.”
For Kate Silvester, the cause is a very personal one. Her friend Rehanna Lydon, then a student at Evans City Middle School, served as honorary chair of last year’s event. Just five weeks later, Rehanna, 11, died after a three-year battle with a rare form of muscular cancer.
“I want to work even harder this year because my friend, Rehanna, died last year of cancer,” Kate Silvester said. “I don’t want any child to have to go through what Rehanna went through and I don’t want any other family to have to go through what her family went through.”
The stand is one of only 18 in the nation to be designated as “grand” stands by the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The label is based on the amount of community and corporate involvement the stand has as well as the event’s impact on the community and fundraising success.
In the three years since they began holding the lemonade stand, the Silvesters and friends have raised more than $20,000 to help support childhood cancer research projects by funding studies of new cures and treatments and encouraging and educating others—especially children.
Their goal this year is to raise another $20,000
To learn more about this year’s event, visit http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/77022.
—Information submitted by Leslie Uriss Spehar. Have news you'd like to share with Patch readers? Email information and photos to Editor Jessica Sinichak at email@example.com or visit our Neighborhood Gallery.