Honored Kid

Alec Hillegass

Alec Hillegass Kid Photo

Location

Berlin, PA, US

Diagnosis

Osteosarcoma

Date of Diagnosis

August 2005

Status

Passed away

Treated At

Shadyside Hospital University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh

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My Story

Alec was a farm boy; milked cows every morning before school; worked with his Grandpa, Dad, sister and brother. Chores and milking every evening; went to basketball practice in his barn clothes and went back to the barn after practice. Drove tractors, stacked hay, showed his prize-winning Holsteins. Age 14, junior high basketball season, began with pain in his knee - sprain, stress, growing pains? Came and went... until August 9, 2005. Trip to the ER showed a very suspicious X-ray. Osteosarcoma confirmed by biopsy on August 17. Tumor did not respond to chemo; above the knee amputation (AKA) of his left leg on November 5. Turned 15 on November 24, Thanksgiving Day. January 2006, nodules (metastases) found in both lungs. May 2006, 2 open thoracotomy surgeries. Recurrence. August 2006, bilateral thoracotomies. Chemo, chemo, and more chemo. Turned 16 on November 24, in the PICU, fighting for his life - sepsis. Recurrent pneumothorax, 6 (!) chest tubes over 5 months. Aspiration pneumonia, lung damage, continuous oxygen requirement. Rehab center to get strong enough to learn to walk again. May 2007, recurrent osteosarcoma, second amputation, higher, through the hip joint. July 2007, lymph node involvement, home on hospice for two weeks. Died on July 28, 2007 - age 16 years, 8 months, and 4 days. Alec's regrets - he so wanted to live; he wanted to be a dad; he wanted to farm with his brother. Alec's resolve and strength - came from his very strong faith and from the army of support he received from our family, friends, and community. He never gave in or gave up. Alec's greatest fear - that he will not be remembered. Don't worry, my dear son, we can NEVER forget. We miss you every day; my hand so misses the feel of yours but my soul knows yours. Alec's worry - that his friends and family appreciate every day they have, that the lessons he learned will come so hard to those he loved. Alec's family's hope - that funding research will stop the deaths of beautiful children to the monster that is cancer. We need YOUR help. Cancer kills more children than all other diseases combined. And 1 John 2:25 - we will be together again.

The Childhood Cancer Ripple Effect

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Children who are fighting or have fought cancer inspire others to be part of the Foundation's mission — to support the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

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