Alex Klein was diagnosed with Epithelial Sarcoma after finding a bump on the arch of his foot in June 2008. He was about to enter 3rd grade when his life got turned upside down. After Chemotherapy failed, his lower leg was amputated to save his life. Make-A-Wish came to visit Alex while he was recovering. His wish came true when he and his parents went to Disney World and Universal in Florida. Alex’s favorite part of his wish was the Dueling Dragons roller coaster in Universal Studios and the Fantasia Gardens and Fairways mini-golf course in Disney World. His parents said that the trip did just as much for them as it did for him because they did not have to make a decision for an entire week. Alex remembers not worrying about his recovery and just having a great time with his family.
Alex had this same carefree attitude towards his life as well. He did not let his new prosthetic leg keep him from enjoying life. His dad took him to a Cub Scout camping trip, and Alex did every single challenge over the course of the weekend. While his dad carried him to the car to head back home he told his dad, “Dad, I can do anything”.
Today Alex is actually more active then that weekend. He is a sophomore at Jesuit High School in New Orleans. For five years he has participated in the GUMBO (Games Uniting Mind and Body) Games, a Louisiana organization that organizes track meets for children ages 5-18 with disabilities. He runs the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 400 meter dash and throws the javelin. Even more impressive, he has set the state record for his age and disability class in discus (33 meters) and shot-put (9 meters). Recently, he has also been chosen to represent Louisiana in national meets. While competing in Oklahoma City, he met the Amputee Blade Runners, a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide running prosthesis to at least one athlete in every state. Alex became the official Louisiana representative for the Amputee Blade Runners. In fact, his Jesuit Track and Field coach convinced him to join his high school track team. He is now preparing for his first year of competition in the LHSAA (Louisiana High School Athletic Association).
Alex wants to compete for the USA in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. After this accomplishment he would like to become an athletic trainer to help other athletes conquer their dreams just like he has done.
CLICK HERE to check out this exclusive interview with Alex by WGNO in New Orleans, LA. Thank you WGNO for capturing his inspiring story.