By Megan Goldschmidt, The Trentonian
POSTED: 10/18/13, 9:21 AM EDT |
HAMILTON— Alexander Cuevas is like any other 5-year-old boy; the only difference is that at birth he lost his large intestine and most of his small intestine to a gastrointestinal disease.
A Hamilton resident, Cuevas now carries a little backpack around with him at all times that connects to a nasal tube to support his digestive system. He has been approved for a colon transplant, but after years of medical bills, this will be the most costly treatment yet.
That’s why his friends and family, along with two women who have already helped immensely, have taken it upon themselves to host the All for Alexander 5K and 1 Mile Fun Walk.
Sally Vujisic and Meg Molnar, leasing agents at the apartment complex where Cuevas lives, have been raising funds for the little boy and his family for years. When complex resident Emma Yasinski met Alexander for the first time, he melted her heart.
“When I first met Alexander, I was at dinner with him, his mother, father, brothers, and oddly enough, two women who spend their professional lives placing people in apartments. While we ate, Alexander energetically hopped from place to place with his backpack. When he made it to my seat, I taught him to spin a quarter on the table, and he was enthralled for 5 minutes,” Yasinski said.
“We are celebrating Alexander’s bravery and the unity of our neighborhood on Sun. Oct. 27 at Mercer County Park with the All for Alexander Halloween 5K. Hopefully, it will be just what Alexander and his family need to get through this surgery. And All for Alexander means All for Alexander. One hundred percent of all proceeds will go toward costs associated with Alexander’s surgery,” Yasinski said.
Vujisic and Molnar have been helping the family for a while now. According to Yasinski, the two ladies began collecting donations from friends and neighbors and also arranged candy and yard sales.
“Meg and Sally even held a yard sale when Alexander’s family was unable to attend because he had to take an unplanned trip to the hospital. Thanks to Meg and Sally, word just kept spreading about the amazing little boy who despite being born with two strikes would never complain or give up,” Yasinski said.
According to the complex resident, this colon transplant has the potential to change Cuevas’s life; however, the national average rate of survival for pediatric intestinal transplants after three years is only 67 percent.
“Lucky for Alexander, the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where he will be having his transplant, was the very first hospital in the nation to open a pediatric transplant center in 1981,” Yasinski said, “Most importantly, the hospital has the highest survival rate in the country, at 91 percent three years after transplant. While risky, this surgery is Alexander’s best chance at improving both his and his family’s lives, and he couldn’t be in better hands.”
The 5K will be Halloween themed and starts at 10 a.m. Sun. Oct. 27 in Mercer County Park. Registration is $30 for adults and $15 for children under 12. The cost of the adult one-mile walk is $25.