North Port rallies around 13-year-old cancer patient

North Port rallies around 13-year-old cancer patient
Justin Alexato (Source: Justin Cody Willis)

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - As many of us try to stay healthy during a worldwide pandemic, 43 kids are expected to be diagnosed with cancer every day in the United States. But as one young man struggles with his diagnosis he is uplifted by the power of his community.

Justin Alexatos, 13, began his cancer journey six months ago, a journey not previously imaginable by his family. But constant pain in his right leg, they initially thought to be growing pains, made them think something was wrong.

“After about the third month of him complaining about having pain in that leg, that’s when I decided there’s definitely something going on. We went to have the MRI done and that’s when the MRI results came back that he had a tumor in his right leg femur bone,” says Justin’s father Jerry Alexatos.

Justin was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare cancer that occurs in or around the bones. Twelve chemotherapy treatments and a thirteen-hour surgery later, Justin’s doctors say he’s just past the half-way point of his treatment.

In addition to the family’s mounting medical bills, they travel to Tampa several times a month for his cancer care.

Part of what has helped his family has been their community in North Port, pitching in to do what they can. Residents are helping the family with meals, donations, and other necessities.

Even a local comedian is stepping up to help. Gid Pool is hosting a comedy show Sunday night to raise funds for Justin’s medical care.

“Somebody needs something, we’re there. It was no issue to put this thing together because that’s what people in North Port do,” says Pool.

The event Sunday is being held at Olde World Restaurant on Tamiami Trail, and all of the proceeds go directly to the Alexatos family. The laughs begin at 6:00 p.m. and go until 8 p.m. and it is recommended that you make a reservation with the Olde World Restaurant because of limited seating available.

A second event will be held on March 21st at the Twisted Fork in Port Charlotte.

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