With the help of strangers, a teenage cancer survivor from California has raised enough money to buy dentures for himself after years of aggressive radiation treatments destroyed his teeth.
Alex Hunter, 16, of Delano, California, has now raised over $15,000 on his Gofundme page, well over the $11,000 needed to buy the new dentures.
The boy and his family turned to the crowdfunding site after their insurance company refused to pay for the new teeth.
“They say it's not a medical issue but they know they took out the teeth because of a medical issue,” his grandmother, Roberta Hunter, told the Daily Mail. “It feels like the insurance is just bailing out on him.”
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Alex Hunter was first diagnosed with stage four cancer when he was only four years old. He underwent both chemotherapy and radiation treatments to battle the disease. By 2003, doctors told him he was cancer-free.
But in 2011, after surgery to remove an enlarged thyroid gland, doctors discovered he had a rare form of thyroid cancer.
Now, three years since that discovery and numerous radiation treatments later, his family has again learned Alex's cancer is gone.
He made the difficult decision a couple of weeks ago to allow doctors to remove his remaining 19 teeth which had become brittle and painful to use.
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Through all of it his grandmother said the boy stayed positive.
“When we were down, he was always up. He would say, ‘Grandma let's pray, I'm in pain,’ and so we would pray,” Roberta Hunter told KERO.
His mother, Liz Hunter, said Alex took losing his teeth and not being able to immediately afford dentures, in stride.
“It's obviously an expense that we did not expect ... You know I always tell him just one day at a time and that's kind of how we've always taken it,” she said.
Alex is active in his school choir and said he looks forward to one day becoming a counselor.
“He's just so positive,” his grandmother said. “He sings, he's really active in school — but kids do stare at him. I can't wait for him to get his teeth.”
After that, Alex said he will continue to approach life with the same positive attitude.
“Well so far I'm just waiting for my dentures but in the future I'm just going to keep on living,” he said.
Photo Source: Gofundme: Alex Hunter Medical Fund