DELANO, Calif. - A Delano teen who battled two cancers, radiation treatment and suffered the loss of his teeth, got his smile back Friday morning.
Fourteen-year-old Alex Hunter had his teeth pulled in July when doctors said they were "dead" from years of radiation treatment.
"I haven't seen him smile since he was four years old," Michael Hunter, Alex's dad said.
The Hunter's insurance paid to have the teeth removed but the family says the insurance would not cover the expense of getting new teeth. The company said it was a cosmetic procedure and not something medically necessary.
Their only option then was to raise $11,000 for the unique dentures. Alex's prosthologist said the dentures cost so much because Alex's jaw never grew to an adult size because of cancer treatment.
With the help of our news story, a raffle, a large outpouring of kindness and a GoFundMe account, the family was able to raise about $40,000, which is almost four times more than the family needed.
The rest of the money will go into a savings account for future medical expenses and a college fund for Alex.
The Hunter family received letters from around the world that had well wishes, prayers and money for the raffle With all this attention, I asked the Hunter family if they felt like celebrities, and they said they are just normal people.
They told me they have given a good amount of money back to the community, by donating to organizations like the Special Olympics.
Friday, Alex went in for his final fitting in Glendale, where the prosthologist first showed him how to put in his dentures and make sure they fit properly.
Then, he taught Alex how to put them in himself. After popping in his new teeth, all he can talk about is going back to school.
"I have an AP test," Alex said.
His family were all smiles and are excited for his future.
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