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news item News Friday, February 8, 2019 Friday, February 8, 2019 9:07 AM - Friday, February 8, 2019 9:07 AM

Meet Alec, Shriners Hospitals for Children national spokesperson

You may recognize 16-year-old Alec from the various commercials for Shriners Hospitals for Children that have aired nationally. Alec, a patient of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago, has become a popular television star, been interviewed on numerous national news and talk shows, and has captured the hearts of many with his adorable smile and charming personality.

The story behind the star

Alec lives in the suburbs of Chicago, and is quite the active teenager. From playing wheelchair softball and basketball, to assistant coaching tee-ball, he loves just about any sport. However, because he has osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle bone disease, Alec’s approach to his favorite activities is a little different.

OI is a genetic bone disorder characterized by fragile bones that can frequently and easily break, which can make it hard for Alec to participate in sports. The underlying cause of OI is a lack of collagen – or abnormal collagen – in the bones that prevents them from absorbing appropriate minerals and developing correctly.

Alec has been going to the Chicago Shriners Hospital for treatment since 2002. Since then, he has made great progress thanks to receiving customized treatment from our rehabilitation specialists. Alec receives intravenous (IV) infusions of pamidronate, a medication that slows down the process of bone resorption and improves bone mass. He also routinely visits the hospital for physical therapy, and has had several surgeries.

Thanks to the outstanding care and innovative treatment Alec receives at the Chicago Shriners Hospital, his muscles are strengthening and his bones are breaking less often. This provides Alec with more opportunities to indulge in his passion for sports.

Shriners Hospitals for Children – helping dreams become reality

Thanks to the health care system’s focus on improving the quality of life of patients and families, Alec has developed a level of confidence that has opened up a world of opportunities.

Knowing that Alec hopes to be a sports broadcaster someday, the hospital staff has done what it can to encourage faith in that dream. During the NFL Draft weeks in 2015, 2016 and 2017, patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children had the chance to experience the excitement of the draft first-hand when players visited during a Prospect Community Visit. During these events, Alec was given the opportunity to conduct interviews with NFL Draft prospects, which were featured on the NFL website. Alec also created a web-based sports show, Smart Alec on Sports, to follow his dream of being a sports anchor/broadcaster.

In May 2018, the Chicago Shriners Hospital dedicated their indoor basketball court to Alec, naming it “Alec’s Court.” Alec has also received several awards, including the 2017-2018 Shriners International Imperial Potentate’s Medallion and 2018 Most Inspirational Award at the Fourth Annual Night of Champions sponsored by Oak Park, Illinois’ Wednesday Journal. He was also on national championship teams for the National Wheelchair Junior Basketball Championships in 2015, and the National Wheelchair Junior Softball Championships in 2015 and 2016.

Alec has traveled extensively to represent Shriners Hospitals for Children, including to the East-West Shrine Game, Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Tournament of Roses Parade, Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic and Shriners International Imperial Session. At the 2018 and 2019 East-West Shrine Games, Alec had the opportunity to be on camera on the NFL Network during the game and to attend team practices. He has also been an honored speaker at many events for both the health care system and fraternity, Shriners International.

Over the years, Alec has been a tremendous voice for Shriners Hospitals for Children, and has appeared in numerous national commercials, representing the many patients whose lives have been changed forever by the health care system. He has also been a featured guest on many television shows, sharing his appreciation everywhere he goes.

“Without Shriners Hospitals for Children, I wouldn’t be able to dream as big as I do,” said Alec. “I know anything is possible because the staff remind me all the time that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I live a full life because of Shriners Hospitals.”

Alec is just one of many children who have benefited from the hope and healing found at Shriners Hospitals for Children.