Girl saved by cancer drug pays it forward with lemonade

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A little lemonade goes well with birthday cake, at least that’s the case for 8-year-old Edie Gilger.

The South Carolina birthday girl came to Raleigh’s Carolina Country Club to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

Gilger was just six months old when her parents noticed she was turning yellow.


Doctors in Virginia, where the family lived at the time, ran countless tests trying to figure out what was wrong. Eventually, physicians learned her illness wasn’t minor or limited to her liver. She was diagnosed with a rare, hereditary cancer, neuroblastoma.

The disease spread from her left and right adrenal glands to her pancreas, liver, stomach and kidneys.

Each time she was in remission and doctors determined she was cancer-free, tests would negate that with results showing the disease came back.

Finally after years of tests, Dr. Yael Mossé at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was able to give the child a research drug, just as her clinical trial was ending.

That drug saved the girl’s life.

The research behind the drug had been funded by the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Thursday, one day after her birthday, Edie Gilger and her mom kept her own Alex’s lemonade stand open for business for kids who are sick like she was.

The girl told CBS North Carolina’s Beairshelle Edmé, “They’re (sick children) probably trying to fight it and trying to get better.”

The cancer survivor added, “I want to help these kids feel better quicker so they can get back to their normal life.”

Gilger’s mom is proud of her daughter’s charity and compassion. She hopes that together they can inspire families who are struggling to deal with pediatric cancer.

“Hang in there. It’s tough. It’s very tough, but we took each day to day,” she explained.

Mrs. Gilger later learned she was the one who carried the gene behind her daughter’s cancer. After her daughter was declared cancer-free, the pregnant mom was diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

The same drug that saved the daughter saved the mother as well.

The duo hopes their story will inspire people to give back and learn more about this disease.

Northwestern Mutual of Raleigh is helping the cancer survivors.

The life insurance and financial planning company teamed up with the Gilger’s for Thursday’s fundraising event, and also donated $2,000 toward further research.

To get information on the Gilger’s story and help raise money for their Alex’s Lemonade Stand click here.

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