Shriners Hopes to Help Teen with Facial Abnormality

By: Joe Harrington Email
By: Joe Harrington Email

Alx King, 16, has Goldenhar Syndrome, a rare disorder that occurs at birth. Alx suffers from a facial abnormality. His family says his jaw is moving backward, and they fear without surgery the condition will threaten his life. Alx says it already makes it difficult for him to swallow.

KOLO Eight News first reported Alx's story back in April. Now, one of our viewers is responding and giving the King family new hope.

"My barber saw it, he call(ed) me, a good friend of mine call(ed) me, and then a nurse from Carson City call(ed) me, and said: 'why don't you get on this case and do something?'" Bill Winks, a local Shriner, said.

Winks says he called several hospitals after hearing about Alx's situation. Winks believes the Shriners hospital in Chicago may be able to assist Alx.

With no health insurance, the King family says they were turned down by the state for financial help.

Shriners is funded through donations and a membership cost; it provides free medical care for children. The organization operates 22 hospitals nationwide and has arranged for the family to make the trip to its facility in Chicago.

"There's 19 doctors they're gonna look him over," Winks said.

Doctors in Chicago will try to determine if they can help Alx. Alx's adoptive mother, Kathryn King, says he needs intricate micro surgery, and finding a doctor to perform it hasn't been easy. But the teen is cautiously optimistic.

"I've gone through this process quite a few times and get up right to a surgery date and it fall flat on ya.. I'm excited but I'm trying not to be," Alx said.

His adoptive mother has trouble putting into words what the community response has meant to her.

"There is human kindness out there, in all the bad stuff, there is, there is human kindness out there," Kathryn said.

Alx will be in Chicago in August and KOLO Eight will continue to follow his story.

For more information about Shriners, visit shrinershq.org.


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