Inspiring still

Ten years ago, our community rallied to a cause—braving a frigid February evening to stage the “Walk for Alex” to lend support (financially and morally) to a young child undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatment to fight the cancer that was eating away at the bone marrow in his right leg.
That child was Alex Parent, who eventually lost his leg above the knee to the disease. But, as Times sports reporter Emmanuel Moutsatsos writes in a feature on the opposite page, that certainly hasn’t stopped the now 15-year-old from pursuing his goals—especially in the swimming pool.
Young Alex has never let his disability slow him down in the water. In fact, after a stellar showing at a Canada Games trial meet in Ottawa last month, he was added to Team Ontario that will compete in Regina in August.
His performance also drew the attention of Team Canada officials, and now the teen is being groomed for his biggest dream of all—competing at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, China.
Yet while his achievements in the pool have been fairly well-documented over the years here, Alex’s role in helping other people deal with the devastating news of being diagnosed with cancer has not drawn as much attention. And sharing his perspective with others is a role he clearly relishes.
“I see it as a privilege,” he says. “I enjoy doing it because they’re going through everything I went through, and I just want to show them there is another side.”
Alex Parent’s brave battle with cancer inspired a community a decade ago, and he continues to do so today as he pursues his dreams. It is we who are privileged.