February 6, 2023

Ridgefield native fights cancer with effort in Cayman Islands

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By Jake Kara From The Ridgefield PressSOC-BRIEF-Cococcia-C

A Ridgefield native is doing her bit to help Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, in her current home, The Cayman Islands.

Danielle Cococcia organized the Lemon Aid road run three months ago to raise money and awareness about the need to help children suffering with cancer, which she feels is a relatively unaddressed issue not only in the Cayman Islands but worldwide.

She and her husband have two healthy small children of their own, which piqued their interest in the foundation.

Now Ms. Cococcia has committed to running a road race every month this year to raise money for the cause. “I’m nervous, very scared, but mostly hopeful that I will be able to make a difference in the coming year,” she said.

“Just a while ago I learned about Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. These folks raise money for childhood cancer research, which is very much needed for the kids of the world.

“As I learned more about the foundation, the grants, the research needed, something resonated with me in my core. I am now bound and determined to do whatever I can to help these folks with their mission.”

She will average one race a month with the final one, the Cayman Islands half-marathon of 13.1 miles, in December.

“I am not what I would consider a runner, so this is a huge undertaking for me,” she said. “I’m not going to lie, there might be some walking, but I will finish every race and hope all who support me will cheer me on along the way.”

She said that running is not even the scariest part; reaching her fundraising goal of $12,000 for the year is. So far, she has raised more than $1,500.

She pays her own entry fees for each run, so every penny raised goes straight to helping find cures for children with cancer.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation emerged from the front-yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra Scott, who died at age 8 in 2004. At age 4, she announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer.

Since that first stand, the foundation bearing her name has evolved into a worldwide fundraising movement,  with thousands of supporters.

Kids cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 15 in the United States.

Ms. Cococcia said, “For children, there are very few treatments made just for them and the government money allocated to childhood cancer research is minimal. As such, typically, children are given watered-down versions of adult treatments those, even if successful, result in terrible lifelong side effects.

“As a mother of two, this is unacceptable to me and I have set out to do anything I can to help raise awareness and funds specifically for pediatric cancer research. While the running is a challenge for me, I’d much rather be doing that than sitting at my child’s bedside while he or she receives a round of chemo.”

Around 90 percent of the money raised for the foundation goes to research grants. Anyone wishing to help may contact Ms. Cococcia at [email protected]

PHOTO: Danielle Cococcia and son Kaden

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NOTE: iNews Cayman is pleased to have published many stories on Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Please place “Alex’s Lemonade Stand” in the iNews search engine top right on our front page- click search and they will all show. Please read them all. – EDITOR

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