The fight to save a B.C. baby battling a rare form of pediatric cancer has ended in tragedy, but family and supporters are hoping good can still come from a groundswell of community support.
Alejandro Angel was born Jan. 20, but within weeks his parents noticed a lump on his leg that turned out to be a rare and aggressive form of cancer known as a malignant rhabdoid tumour with SMARCB1 mutation in Chromosome 22.
Supporters launched a GoFundMe campaign, which raised more than $290,000, while North Point Brewing also launched a special charity beer to help get baby Alejo into an infant treatment trial in Boston.
Tragically, Alejo died Thursday — one day before the family learned he had been accepted into the cancer trial, according to the GoFundMe.
“Our beautiful Alejandro (Alejo) Andres Quinn Angel slipped away peacefully, Feb 25, in Erin & Federico’s arms. He was not in pain, he was peaceful when he took his last breath,” family members wrote.
“As you can imagine, we are still, and will be for some time, processing this loss. We cannot thank you enough for your support for Alejo, Erin, Federico, the Quinn & Angel families through this difficult time. We are left with such an immense force of gratitude for all of you who have given us strength to put one foot in front of the other.”
Donations to the GoFundMe have been closed. A portion of the money will go to support the family through its grieving process and for a funeral for Alejo.
However, supporters say the vast majority of the funds will go to help other infants facing similar challenges.
“In the name of Alejandro (Alejo) – meaning ‘Defender of Mankind’ – the lion’s share of your generous donations will be gifted to infant cancer treatment programs and research so other little fighters facing similar challenges get the chance to grow up,” the fundraiser states.
North Point Brewing said it will also continue to sell the remaining stock of its Alejo IPA, with proceeds going to Canuck Place and “other various infant cancer treatment programs and research under Alejo’s name.”
“Your generous donations in support for Alejo will give other little fighters facing similar challenges the chance to grow up.”
According to Alejandro’s family, there have been just nine previously-recorded cases of his cancer in the world, making their baby number 10.