West Hartford native Taylor Schumann has organized the third annual concert in Blue Back Square, Saturday, July 13, from 3-6 p.m. to benefit the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which honors her childhood friend, Alex Scott.
By Ronni Newton
When Taylor Schumann was growing up in West Hartford, a little girl who lived next door on Clifton Avenue – who was two years younger than she was – had cancer.
Alex Scott died in August 2004 at age 8, after a years-long battle with neuroblastoma. Her initial diagnosis had come before her first birthday.
Four years earlier, after recovering from a stem cell transplant that looked to have cured the disease, Alex held her first lemonade stand in front of her West Hartford home. At age 4, she already knew the value of making lemonade when life gives you lemons.
“It was over my head when it all started,” Schumann said, but her mom told her that she and her sister, and the other neighborhood kids all helped out with the first lemonade stands on Clifton Avenue. Patrick Scott, Alex’s older brother, was her age and one of her best friends.
The Alex’s Lemonade Stand website said that when Alex decided to hold her first lemonade stand, she wanted to raise money for “her hospital,” in order to “help other kids, like they helped me.” Alex raised $2,000 that day alone, selling cups of lemonade in front of her West Hartford home.
By the time Alex died, $1 million had been raised.
Schumann remembers learning of Alex’s death, and as a then-10-year-old not really understanding that she wouldn’t see her again.
The Scott family, originally from Windsor, had made the difficult decision to move to Philadelphia where Alex was receiving treatment at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. After Alex died, they made their own “lemonade,” starting the nonprofit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), which has since raised more than $175 million and has funded close to 1,000 cutting-edge research projects at 135 institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada and provided programs to support families impacted by childhood cancer.
As a young teen, Schumann, who graduated from Conard High School in 2012, started raising money for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The weekend of Celebrate West Hartford she held a lemonade stand in front of First Church on South Main Street. She remained involved with running the lemonade stand throughout high school, and it’s still held during the town’s two-day festival in June.
“I started the concert the summer after I graduated from Bucknell,” said Schumann, an engineer who now lives with her older sister, Kelsey, in an apartment in West Hartford.
Throughout college she was involved with an organization that supported a different childhood cancer organization, and when she returned to West Hartford, Schumann decided to once again support ALSF. The cause remains close to the community, and Alex’s aunts, Pam Howard and Sue Flynn, still live in the area, she said.
“Cancer is a battle that no one should fight alone,” Schumann said in an announcement. “Knowing the hardships these families endure, I have long been committed to the mission of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and raising funds to someday find a cure. It is an honor to work with such a committed and passionate organization.”
The past two years combined Schumann has raised just over $2,500 with the benefit concert, and she’s hoping to top that this year.
Performers on Saturday will include West Hartford native Tony Davis (who graduated from Conard with Schumann), El Birane, Delia Jane, Lindsey Ferguson, Lara Murray, Angie Davis, Alec Iacovelli, and the Mandell JCC Theater Camp.
Schumann, a talented musician who was a leader of Conard’s Be S#arp a cappella group, will also perform several numbers with friends and a co-worker.
The concert will be held in the courtyard at Blue Back Square, on Saturday, July 13, from 3-6 p.m. It’s supposed to be warm, but Schumann said there will be tents for shade, and ice cold lemonade.
The music is free – and so is the lemonade – and there will be face painting, and temporary tattoos. Schumann is hopeful that the community will support ALSF through purchase of raffle tickets.
Sponsors include: Hartford Yard Goats, Theaterworks Hartford, Wadsworth Antheneum Museum of Art, Panera Bread, Trader Joe’s, Playhouse on Park, The Cook & The Bear, Milkcraft – West Hartford Center, Ignite Fitness, The Claypen, Prai Kitchen, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Effie’s Place, Abbydabby, DeRobertis Jewelers, Bluemercury, Center Framing & Art, and Frame Dimensions.
In addition, Guitar Center is sponsor of the sound, The Perfect Promotion provided the banner that hangs on the Town Green, Taylor Rental has provided tables and chairs, Cricket Press has provided posters, and Party City has donated balloons.
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