One small step in the fight against childhood cancer

(CBS News) Just one small step in the fight against cancer can make a big difference to anyone who's been touched by the disease, which is why one treatment aimed at children is giving rise to cautious hope. Our Cover Story this morning is reported by Tracy Smith:


At her home in Lynchburg, Va., three-year-old Edie Gilger is more familiar with a doctor's bag than any kid should be: at six months old, doctors said she had cancer.

"She had stage four neuroblastoma," said her mom, Emily Gilger. "And, of course, we had no clue what neuroblastoma was. I mean, we didn't even know at that point that it was a cancer."

For her parents, Nick and Emily, it was bad news, to be sure. But Edie's still here -- and she owes that to advanced research, and (in a small way) to another little girl with the same disease whom she'll never meet.

Alex Scott in 2003.
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Alex Scott was diagnosed just shy of her first birthday. We first met Alex, and her parents Liz and Jay, in the summer of 2003.

For Alex, none of the standard treatments, like chemotherapy, worked for very long. So, like most childhood cancer patients in this country, Alex was given experimental treatments to keep her alive.

Even as a kid, Alex knew that all those clinical trials cost real money. So she told her parents she wanted to open a lemonade stand on her front lawn, with the money going to finding a cure.

On her first day, she raised $2,000.

Smith asked Alex about it back in 2003: "Why did you decide to do this lemonade stand?"

"Because I wanted to help raise money for cancer research," she replied.

"And why is that important to you?"

"Because it's helping people," Scott said.

As her story got out, Alex's stand became an annual event in her Philadelphia neighborhood, and beyond.

By the summer of 2004, Alex and her friends across the country had raised close to a million dollars.

But even as the money poured in, Alex herself was running out of time. For Liz Scott, it's as painful now as it was then: "It became very hard to see treatment after treatment fail, and to have her cancer spreading to places that we knew there was no turning back."

On the first day of August 2004, Alex Scott died. She was eight years old.

Her parents vowed not to let her dream of finding a cure die with her.

Watch: Tracy Smith's 2005 report on the legacy of Alex Scott

Alex Scott's little lemonade stand has become the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, having now raised more than $70 million.

Smith, who has continued to follow the Alex's Lemonade story over the years, volunteers at their annual fundraiser.

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