2019 Lemon Ball

Published: Oct. 4, 2019 at 12:45 PM EDT
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TV 20 is a proud sponsor of the Lemon Ball. The event is taking place tonight and it focuses on raising money to help find a cure for pediatric cancer. Tv20's Dylan Lyons spoke with the lead researcher at UF's Brain Immunotherapy Program and the executive director of Alex's Lemonade Stand

Alex was a year old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma which is a form of childhood cancer. Her family had been doing everything to help her, including treatments principal investigator Dr. Catherine Flores is working on at UF Health.

Liz Scott is Alex's mom and said, "We started to try different experimental treatments and innovative therapy for her. And it inspired her [Alex] because a lot of them worked. It gave her four and a half years of life. so it shows you the power of research."

After receiving a stem cell transplant on the day after her fourth birthday Alex went on to open a lemonade stand later that year. She wanted the money to benefit all kids with cancer.

"I wanted the money to go to her type of cancer which was neuroblastoma. When she heard that's where we were giving the money, she said that is so selfish she said she wanted the money to go to help all kids with cancer," said Scott.

In the past few years, the foundation has made a big investment in Dr. Flores, who is a principal investigator researching brain immunotherapy at Shands hospital.

"Alex's gave me my first award as a young investigator. and the results of that have actually now transpired into a clinical study," said Dr. Flores.

She said the team at UF has to take the blueprint for immunotherapy and modified to fit their studies.

"We've developed it to be safer and more specific to brain cancers and that's what we are studying now," said Dr. Flores.

Alex's mom says finding a cure is the most important part of this mission.

"The geography of where the cure is found is less important than finding the cure," said Scott.

With everything they have gone through as a family, they are still on their mission to help other families. This year tv20's Brianda Villega is hosting the Lemon Ball which will benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand.