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Photo by Fred Pollard
Alivia Miller, left, and best friend Hannah Seymour will be running a lemonade stand during Godfrey’s fireworks celebration at Glazebrook Park on July 4. Miller, who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 17 months old, is donating the proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
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GODFREY – Stacey Miller still recalls the day her family discovered her 17-month-old daughter, Alivia, had leukemia.
“It was my husband’s birthday,” she said. “She slept a lot, and I thought she had an ear infection. As soon as the nurse saw how pale she was, she knew something was wrong.
“We took her to (St. Louis) Children’s Hospital and her blood looked almost clear with a tinge of red food coloring. Within 30 minutes they had told us it was leukemia.”
Three years of chemotherapy followed, with many “touch and go” moments, before her treatments ended in 2008. A firm believer in giving back, Alivia, now 10, will have a booth set up at Glazebrook Park on July 4, selling lemonade to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The booth also is in honor of her friend, Parker Scarborough, who died of neuroblastoma, an extracranial childhood cancer, at the age of 3 — just one day after his Make-A-Wish dream was fulfilled.
“He went to sleep that night and never woke up,” Hannah Seymour, Parker’s cousin and Alivia’s best friend, said.
Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit organization, has arranged “wishes” for children suffering from life-threatening medical conditions. In 2008, Alivia had her own special wish granted. Through former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner’s First Things First Foundation, she was one of eight children picked to go with their families to Walt Disney World.
“I remember I sat on his lap and I cried,” she said.
“She was timid around men back then,” her mother said, laughing. “He was always paying attention to the kids and wanting to hold them, and he really gravitated toward Alivia.”
Today, the happy and healthy 10-year-old is in remission, spending her summer in her backyard pool and looking forward to beginning fourth grade this fall.
“Other than a few scars on her chest from the ports, you would never know,” her mother says. “People are usually shocked when they find out.”
Miller’s lemonade stand will be at Glazebook Park on July 4 from 5 until 9 p.m., when the fireworks are scheduled to begin. Other activities include rock wall climbing, zip lines, inflatables and more.
For anyone who cannot be at the park event but would still like to help, a donation bucket will be available at Associated Bank, 104 Homer Adams Parkway in Alton. Donations also can be mailed to the bank, with checks made payable to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.