The BJJ Community Is Helping A Not-So-Little Lemonade Stand Raise Thousands Of Dollars To Fight Childhood Cancer

Source: Leeann Morris

For a group of people who regularly practice breaking limbs, jiu-jitsu practitioners sure know how to use their powers for good instead of evil. Case in point: wife, mother, business owner, and BJJ purple belt Leeann Morris. The founder of Josei Heishi Jiu-Jitsu (which she co-owns with her first-degree black belt husband, Aaron), Morris has seen firsthand how family-oriented and generous the jiu-jitsu community is, and for the past two years, she’s been using that generosity to help raise money to help kids fight cancer.

It all started about four years ago when Morris finally had enough of all the negative news she was constantly bombarded with. “I thought if I could do just one thing to make a difference and make a positive impact on someone’s life and family, I wanted to do that,” she said.

It wasn’t long before she began actively working with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation: an organization started by a little girl named Alex Scott who sold lemonade to raise money for children who, like her, had cancer. Although Alex sadly passed away in 2004, her parents have continued her legacy, and since their daughter first kicked things off, the Foundation has reportedly raised over $140 million to help kids with cancer.

Morris has started and run various fundraisers for ALSF over the past few years, but she’s recently focused all her efforts on running the Lemon Roll, which is, as you might suspect, a grapplethon dedicated to raising money for the charity. And make no mistake: this 4th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do means business. Last year, the Lemon Roll’s large-scale debut raised over $2,000 in Alex’s name, and major brands including Gameness, Monkey Tape, Jits Grips, and more have teamed up with her to make this year’s event an even bigger success.

The Lemon Roll isn’t just dear to Morris’ heart either; one of Josei Heishi BJJ’s black belt instructors has a daughter who’s a Childhood Cancer Hero of ALSF. This brave survivor comes to the Lemon Roll with her family to speak about her experience, adding a very personal touch to an already meaningful event. “It is truly special to have her there and know what her and her family overcame with the help of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation,” says Morris.

World Class Martial Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will serve as the “headquarters” for this year’s Lemon Roll, which will take place on Sunday, June 11, but even if you live nowhere near Philly, you can still put on your gi or rashguard for a good cause. All you have to do is encourage your coach or gym owner to host an all-day open mat, with any size donation being the only requirement for participation. You can also purchase a Lemon Roll rashguard or t-shirt to have a percentage of the proceeds go toward the Foundation, or make a personal donation directly to the 2017 Lemon Roll team page. Every penny helps this amazing organization support both cancer research and individual children living with the disease.

Make sure you follow the Lemon Roll’s Facebook page for updates and information about the event, and share it with as many people as possible to ensure that this year’s event has an even bigger impact than last year’s. There’s no doubt that the “gentle art” can deliver a devastating blow to childhood cancer if we join together around the globe and grapple in honor of a very special little girl.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here