- Alex Hunter, 16, has been ‘blown away’ by the kindness of strangers who have raised $17,000 and counting
- Expecting to have his dentures fitted within two weeks to a month for the start of new school year
- Will celebrate with a smile and a good meal according to his mother
- Alex thanked everyone from around the world who donated money
- His family’s insurance company covered part of the procedure but will not cover his dentures because they say it’s not a medical issue
- Alex was first diagnosed with cancer when he was four and then diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 13; his family says he is now cancer-free
and James Nye
03:54 GMT, 31 July 2014
05:37 GMT, 31 July 2014
Thank you to everyone: Now that Alex Hunter has raised the money he needs he can get the dentures that will allow him to smile again
Alex Hunter, the California teen who needed to raise $11,000 for dentures after he lost his teeth beating two different types of cancer has said a huge ‘Thank you’ to the public after they donated the money in less than one day.
According to his mother, Lisbeth, the brave 16-year-old has been ‘blown away’ by the reaction from around the world as cash poured in from those touched by his story after reading it on Tuesday on MailOnline.
Declined treatment by his insurance company, Alex took to his gofundme page to express his heartfelt gratitude, ‘from friends, to family, to my community and everyone else that has been beyond generous to help me in meeting and surpassing my goal. Thank you!’
Lisbeth, told MailOnline that if everything goes according to plan Alex
could be fitted with his new teeth in two weeks, just in time for the
start of the new school year.
said that the first thing Alex will do when he gets his new dentures
‘will be to celebrate with a smile and also a good meal’, now that he
will be able to eat anything he wants.
less than 48 hours, Alex has seen donations of more than $17,000 flood
in to his gofundme page to help him and his initial goal of $11,000 was reached in less than
ecstatic Lisbeth told MailOnline that when Alex was told he would be
getting his dentures much sooner than he may have thought, he beamed ‘a
‘It’s a bit overwhelming,’ said Lisbeth. ‘It’s amazing. Never in our wildest dreams did we think that this would happen.
Fighter: Alex Hunter, 16, has had all of his teeth removed after battling cancer twice -and his insurance company declined to cover his dentures because it is not a medical issue
‘We appreciated any help and never expected anything like this.
‘There is always the cliche that words are not enough, but in this case that is true.
‘Thank you for your generosity, thank you.’
One anonymous donor pledged $5,000 and Lisbeth said that she was extremely touched by the gesture.
‘I am praying God blesses you as much as you have blessed Alex,’ said Lisbeth to MailOnline.
At the very lastest Alex will have his dentures fitted two weeks into the new school year and Lisbeth said that the remaining money left over will remain in an account to help Alex with any more medical expenses he will need.
Alex, from Delano, California, made the tough decision to get his 19 remaining teeth removed two weeks ago after years of radiation left them fragile and impossible to use.
Goal reached: Alex Hunter’s gofundme page has managed to raise in excess of the $11,000 he needs to have dentures fitted after his insurance company declined to pay for them
While his insurance – which is provided by the state because of his mother’s job working for Bakersfield – covered part of the procedure to remove the teeth, it would not cover the dentures, his family said – prompting their internet fund raising.
‘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 MailOnline earlier on Tuesday about the insurance company’s stance.
‘It feels like the insurance is just bailing out on him.’
Now the teenager, who loves to sing and one day hopes to be a counselor, will be able to go ahead and get his dentures fitted.
On the mend: Alex was first diganosed with cancer when he was four and overcame it, before being diagnosed again when he was 13. His family is now hopeful that he is cancer-free for the second time
Alex’s family, who have never asked for anything throughout Alex’s 11 years of treatments launched their gofundme page, Alex Hunter’s Medical Fund, on Monday in the hope of raising the money.
By Tuesday afternoon, when the MailOnline first published Alex’s story, the fund stood at $1,000, but in a little less than six hours had smashed through its target.
Inspiration: Despite his health struggles, Alex is a top student who dreams of becoming a counselor
‘He doesn’t smile because his teeth were never attractive,’ his grandmother said earlier about the brave teen. ‘He was anxious to get them out and get it over with but now we’re waiting to see what’s next.’
Alex was just four when he was first diagnosed with a rare type of cancer, Embryonal Parameningeal Rhabdomyosarcoma, after a mass started growing in his cheek.
He underwent aggressive chemotherapy and stayed in hospital for months as he battled the side effects of the radiation. He lost vision in his left eye and feeling on the left side of his face.
He was also left with a thin frame, teeth problems and thyroid gland issues, but in July 2003, doctors said he was cancer-free.
Then in November 2011, when he was 13, he was back to hospital to undergo surgery on an enlarged thyroid gland – and doctors learned he had Hurthle Cell Carcinoma, a rare thyroid cancer.
On the gofundme page, his family explained that the cancer is believed to be an effect of treatment from his first battle with cancer.
But now, nearly three years on from his second diagnosis, and his family say he is free from cancer again. One final scan in October will confirm that he is again cancer-free.
Hopeful: His mother Liz, pictured right, launched a gofundme help and is appealing to foundations for funds
In the meantime, Alex is impressing his family with his commitment as a student and a friend.
Relatives told KERO that he once put together a yearbook for a friend, including photos and signatures from staff and students, after the teen could not afford to buy one from the school.
Alex is also taking advanced placement classes and has been singing with the choir for two years. He is already thinking about college, where he wants to major in psychology and sociology.
‘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 but right now all we can do is take it one day at a time.’
For more information or to donate to Alex Hunter’s Medical Fund, visit the family’s gofundme page