For the third time, Alex Cesar is fighting for his life.
Cesar, 20, was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, a kind of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs or heart. Cesar was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just 6 years old, and has twice had to fight off sub-cancer that were caused by radiation from his leukemia treatments.
He’s currently undergoing his second round of chemotherapy for the mesothelioma in Seattle, and the doctors hope to perform major surgery later this year, his father Robert said in a phone interview. His family members are trying to be with him as much as possible, but it’s not cheap. A GoFundMe page, entitled “#Alex Cesar 2xCancerSurvivor looking for a 3rd win,” had raised nearly $15,000 as of Saturday evening.
“Our fundraising goal is to be prepared for anything and not to have that stress behind our whole family of financial need,” Robert said. “I think that’s important for any family going through any major medical (procedure).”
That’s not the extent of the fundraising efforts, though. The family has organized a June 15 event in Juneau that aims to bring the community together while raising money.
The event, Robert said, will take place at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center and will run from 10 a.m. June 15 to midnight that night. There will be plenty of potluck-style food, games for kids, Tom Locher piano performances, other live music, ongoing raffles and more, Robert said. Admission is free, but people are encouraged to bring donations or cards for the family.
Robert said Juneau’s business community in particular has been incredibly supportive. Many locally owned businesses have donated money or donated prizes for the event, Robert said.
Up until then, the Wild Alaskan Halibut Truck is donating half of its net sales to the Cesar family from now until June 11. The large orange truck is usually parked at its spot at 5321 Commercial Boulevard in Lemon Creek. The truck will be at the fundraiser June 15, too.
Robert said he wants to eventually set up some kind of organization in Juneau that helps guide people to services as they fight cancer. The Cesar family has extensive experience working with providers in Juneau, and Robert said they’d like to put that experience to use.
“I think there are the resources and I think there is the support,” Robert said. “I think that the networking is needed, that people don’t understand where to go and how to navigate some of these things that we’ve been navigating for over 10 years.”
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.