The Best Philadelphians 2005

We were inspired by their daughter. Now we’re inspired by Liz & Jay Scott

Liz and Jay Scott needed to raise $5 million. They didn’t have to do it. And no one would have blamed them if they decided not to.

Last August, after watching their daughter Alex fight cancer for all eight years of her life, after stem cell transplants and chemotherapy and radiation, after blood transfusions at CHOP sometimes three times a week and tests nearly every day, Liz and Jay held their daughter’s hands as she died.

People said that Alex Scott had lost her battle with cancer.

“We believe that this couldn’t be further from the truth,” Liz said from the pulpit at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, struggling to hold her voice steady as she gave the eulogy at her child’s funeral. “Alex won her battle in so many ways … by never giving up hope, by living life to the fullest, and by leaving an incredible legacy of hope and inspiration for all of us.”

That legacy was something so simple, so childlike, it almost seemed foolish: a lemonade stand. In fact, when four-year-old Alex first told her parents she wanted to sell lemonade to raise money for her hospital, Liz thought, “Isn’t that cute?” Then she called her sister, her neighbors, even Alex’s doctor, and begged them to please drop by Alex’s lemonade stand on Saturday, just to make sure she’d have a few customers. Liz told the doctor, “You’re going to get a check for, like, $10.” The morning of the stand — thanks to a little article in the local paper — the Scotts’ street was lined with cars. Alex manned the stand in the front yard. Jay ran back and forth to the kitchen, making pitcher after pitcher of Country Time. And Alex didn’t give her doctor a check for $10. She gave him a check for $2,000.

Liz and Jay thought it was a one-time thing.