Osteogenesis Imperfecta, known as Brittle bone disease, is a genetic disorder resulting in bones that break easily. The symptoms experienced on the skeleton and the body’s other organs may range from mild to severe. Other signs found in different individuals include blue scleras instead of white, short stature, loose joints, hearing loss, and breathing problems. But have you heard of Alec Cabacungan and his battle with the disease?
Alec Cabacungan is a representative for Shriners Children’s Hospital who has had Brittle Bone Disease for six years. He has shattered roughly 60 bones in his lifetime. He’s a college freshman who likes to interview athletes and play wheelchair basketball.
Alec Cabacungan’s Battle with Brittle Bone Disease
Alec Cabancungan was born with osteogenesis imperfecta. It is a rare genetic disorder that affects 1 out of 20,000 births. His parents were aware that something was wrong with his body when he was born, but they chose to ignore it. After some time, Cabancungan’s doctor informed them about his condition and that the ailment was dangerous. His mother was heartbroken after hearing about her son’s ailment.
Cabancungan’s parents took him to the hospital when he was just two months old because they had suspected that their child was different from others. Because the disease was debilitating, hospital visits were quite frequent. By the time he turned 12, a Shriner’s hospital member approached him and urged him to appear in their campaign.
Cabacungan was initially hesitant to act because he was concerned that his friends or classmates would mock him; however, hospital staff persuaded him to tell him that by airing a commercial about people who were unaware of this rare disease would be educated. Those who are suffering from the disease will be inspired. He finally agreed and eventually participated in the commercial.
In his lifetime, Cabacungan had 12 surgeries and shattered more than 60 bones. Patients with Osteogenesis Imperfecta can break bones simply by sneezing or coughing, and even moreso by falling.
Despite the many obstacles he’s faced, Cabacungan is known for his bubbly personality and infectious smile.
The sports-obsessed adolescent, who enjoys wheelchair basketball, makes appearances all over the country. Cabacungan has been profiled on CBS’s Sunday Morning and joined one of his idols, Ernie Johnson, along with NBA greats like Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal on TNT’s Inside the NBA in 2017. (Source: CBS News)
What is Alec Cabacungan’s Mission?
Cabacungan serves as the public face of Shriners Hospitals for Children. Since he was 14 years old, he has been featured in national commercials to promote awareness of facilities that help youngsters with neuromusculoskeletal problems, burn injuries, and other healthcare issues.
Shriners are a fraternal brotherhood recognized for their tall crimson hats that has been doing charitable work for more than 150 years. Cabacungan assists them in spreading their mission. With 22 hospitals around North America, he spends about 80 days a year on the road.
I’ve broken over 60 bones in my lifetime, It’ll be with me for my life. I’ll live with it until I die.Alex Cabacungan
(Source: CBS News)