Photo by Melanie Langley - The picture found on the fundraiser's website featuring Alex surrounded by his friends and family supporting him.
During the past week, the Napavine community received some shocking news. Alex Gaona, a recent Napavine graduate, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma Cancer. This has been a difficult time for community members, students and staff at Napavine School District.
For those who don't know, Hodgkin Lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in lymphocytes, a white blood cell. This can start anywhere where there is lymphoid tissue, which is mostly found in lymph nodes, lymph vessels, the spleen, bone marrow, thymus, adenoids and tonsils, and the digestive tract. It's so rare that only 200,000 cases per year are diagnosed.
Alex was diagnosed on Valentine's Day. It all started with chest pain that had begun to affect his breathing and his mother took him to Centralia Hospital right away. He was then transported to PeaceHealth Southwest Hospital in Vancouver. He and his family were informed that he has a tumor growing in his chest, with the mass so close to his heart that doctors decided it was best not to operate for removal.
During his time at Napavine High School, he participated in playing on the football team for two years. When I talked to him he mentioned that he regretted not doing more during those years. He said that the Napavine community is great and shows nothing but love and joy. This was proven to be true given the current results of the fundraiser for Alex.
On his GoFundMe, people from the Napavine community present and past have donated over $8,000 to Alex and his family before he started his first round of chemotherapy on February 18. That's only two days after the fundraiser started being shared around.
As said on the site of the fundraiser, "Alex is an amazing young man who puts family and friends first. With his quiet nature, megawatt smile and huge heart, Alex is a genuine soul that embraces life and all those who know him."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for the continued expenses associated with his cancer treatment. You would be directly supporting him and his treatment. You can find where to donate at https://www.gofundme.com/f/alex-gaona. Every donation counts, every penny helps.