PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We are just days away from CBS3’s annual Alex Scott: A Stand For Hope telethon. It’s a cause near and dear to our hearts, as we raise awareness and money to fight childhood cancer.
The work that Alex started did not end when she lost her own cancer battle in 2004. Her mission continues, carried on by the hard work of so many now including one South Jersey couple, Natalie and Albert Gigliotti, who have dedicated their lives to Alex’s cause.
“I guess it’s true what they say: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” Natalie said.
The Gigliottis, who have lived by that mantra for nearly two decades, have dedicated the last 16 years to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, all to honor the memory of Albert’s mother, Theresa, who lost her own battle with cancer in 2003.
“My mom was always the mom who sat on the step and watch me, along with the other kids, brought out lemonade. So when she passed, I thought that would probably be the best thing to do, continue to play in honor of her,” Albert said.
The couple organizes a huge softball tournament and family fun day every August, raising around $20,000 a year. They also host other fun parties, including a Valentine’s Day dance, a bunny hop and even an Elvis impersonator event.
“Eighties for Alex’s, we’ve done twice because we love the 80s,” Natalie said.
For all of their efforts, they’ve raised more than $200,000 for ALSF. Along the way, they’ve become like family to many of the Alex’s Foundation kids and the family of Alex Scott, the little angel who started it all.
Albert works as an addiction recovery coach and Natalie works for a law firm. With no kids of their own, the couple says they are humbled to be considered an aunt and uncle to so many hero kids who have captured their hearts.
“It’s brought a lot of joy. It’s fulfilling to me, meeting all of the kids and the families,” Natalie said. “Not just through the lemonade stands, but their lives in general. I just hope that by doing all of this — I know, personally, that I won’t stop until there’s a cure for all kids with cancer.”
The Gigliottis have reached so many goals but they aren’t done. One big wish they have is to get a celebrity team to play in the tournament.
“Mr. Jon Bon Jovi, Mr. Bradley Cooper, Will Smith, Pink, I could go on and on,” Albert said.
Until one of those celebrities answers the call, the Gigliottis will continue doing what they love: raising money, fighting cancer and giving their heroes hope and moments of joy.
This year’s softball tournament is set for Aug. 17 at the South Ardmore Park in Wynnewood. You can find more information here.
We hope you can join us Thursday for the Alex Scott: A Stand For Hope telethon. All proceeds will go to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the fight against childhood cancer.