LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Life as a teenager can be tough. It’s even more difficult to be a teenager battling cancer.
For 16-year-old Elijah Talley of Little Rock, it’s been a way of life for more than 10 years.
“He has been in treatment, some kind of chemotherapy or radiation for almost 13 years now,” said Elijah’s mom, Dawn Talley.
When he was four-years-old, Elijah was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma. It’s a battle he has been fighting the majority of his life.
“I don't remember what it was like before I had cancer, so it’s kind of just part of my day-today routine,” said Elijah Talley.
“We started doing the travel about nine years ago. We counted it up a few days ago and we've traveled about 53 times in the past several years,” said Dawn.
It’s an expensive and taxing journey, but one they haven't had to go alone. With the help of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a national non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for children's cancer, the Tally's haven’t had to worry about the travel costs for Elijah's treatment.
“We had our first lemonade stand in west Little Rock and just kind of fell in love with the mission and what they do,” said Dawn.
This year, the family received even more good news. Elijah was selected as one of three children in the country to be honored as a National Lemonade Days Hero Ambassador.
“They don't have very many ambassadors, so it means a lot to me to be a representative of Arkansas,” said Elijah.
It’s his opportunity to spread awareness about the childhood cancer fight and to beacon of hope to those on similar journeys.
“I think a lot of people see that as a sign of weakness when really it's a sign of you being strong,” said Elijah. “You can’t get through some of the hard stuff on your own so you really need help from others,” said Elijah.
National Lemonade Days run from June 3-11 this year.
The Talleys will host a lemonade stand and are encouraging other families across the state to do the same. Proceeds will benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.
For more information on how to participate, click here.