The Countdown is on!

Who is Team Alex?

The Team Alex Fund board of directors has 10 members. The board meets throughout the year to respond to grant requests received from all over the US. The board reviews all requests together, verifies the request meets the requirements stated in our application form and then votes on the amount awarded to each child. The board also relies on many volunteers to help with fundraising to carry on the Fund for many years to come.

Over the years, many people have asked if all the money raised goes direct to Alex's family. Money raised at Team Alex Fund events goes into the Team Alex Fund account that the board uses to distribute money to children like Alex. Alex and his family have received grants and can submit yearly per the guidelines in our application form, but many other kids have also received money from the Team Alex Fund. You can see some of the other kids who have received grants on our Who We Have Helped page. The board works closely with Alex's family to share his inspirational story and help others like him.

Alex's Story:

Alex Brown was a very active 4-year-old boy whose life was suddenly changed on October 20, 2009. After complaining about neck pain for just a few days, it progressed to where he had a fever and could not stand up. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with a mass in his spinal column, Spontaneous Spinal Epidural Hematoma. The spinal cord was compressed leaving him paralyzed and very weak. Alex needed immediate surgery and then experienced numerous setbacks and subsequent surgeries, the most significant being a tracheotomy and lung thoracotomy surgery. He remained in the ICU for nearly three months, 100% ventilator dependent and on a feeding tube for nutrition. He then began four months of inpatient therapy at the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh where he built his upper body strength and learned to be mobile in a wheelchair. Alex was able to return home seven months and one week after his first diagnosis.

Seven years later Alex has made significant progress. He no longer needs a feeding tube and breathes normally without a trach. He is currently in 5th grade and has a full schedule of PT, OT, aqua therapy and acupuncture. Alex is very involved in adaptive sports such as baseball, handcycling, tennis and his favorite sled hockey. He also competes on the St. Alphonsus Track Team. He continues to shows signs of improvement and his family is very encouraged and is focused on recovery. Alex has spent the last four summers at Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric NeuroRecovery at the University of Louisville. The team of researchers and doctors use locomotor training as the primary method of therapy. He is being followed by their doctors and will be going again for sessions this summer, too. Alex has been able to participate in the Team Alex Fund races with the help of his dad. The last few years Alex rode his handcycle and plans to do the same this year. Alex continues to approach life with a positive attitude, a big smile and with a contagious winning spirit.

You can read more about Alex's story in the fall 2010 issue of Amazing Kids Magazine from The Children's Institute. (Download Here)

Here is a video of Alex that was featured between periods of a Pittsburgh Penguins game on Root Sports.


Brian's Story - A Message from the Founder of the Team Alex Fund:

The Team Alex Fund began in November, 2009 as a simple idea to help 4 year-old Alex Brown. As a freshman at Pine Richland High School, I heard about Alex at my Cross Country banquet. When I learned that the son of my former teacher and running coach was hospitalized in critical condition and fighting for his life after undergoing surgery to remove a mass on his spine, I knew that I wanted to do something to help little Alex. I decided a benefit run would be an appropriate way to give back to the family of my first running coach. Support for the race was extraordinary with nearly 800 runners and walkers participating in the event. The success of the first event led me to create the Team Alex Fund, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization to help more children like Alex. The mission of the Team Alex Fund is to restore hope to children who dream of one day walking. I am thrilled that you are interested in this cause that is so important to me. Please join me in accomplishing the Team Alex mission by participating in our yearly run/walk, fundraising on behalf of Team Alex, becoming a sponsor, or simply by making a donation.

Together we are…..Restoring Hope to Children!

Sincerely,

Brian McWilliams

Founder and Chairman, Team Alex Fund