Alex Fernandez, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, still had living to do. The three tumors that had invaded his body could not break his resolve to make every moment count. The 20 year-old’s bucket list consisted of things like going to the beach, one last family portrait, a 49ers game, and a family BBQ.
Alex, determined to focus on quality over quantity of life, told a reporter covering his story, “I’m not really counting my days right now, I’m counting moments.”
Kaweah Delta Hospice in Visalia, California, wanted to help Alex reach his goals so they contacted the National Hospice Foundation to apply for the Lighthouse of Hope Fund. Social Worker, Suzette DeHaan, applied for funds for a family BBQ. On the application, she stressed how important this event was to Alex: “As the hospice MSW, I am visiting with Alex and his mother two times a week and Alex continues to mention how important his family is to him and how much he loves them. Alex is very excited about this BBQ.”
On June 27, 2015, Alex’s family and friends, or Team Alex, gathered for the event. He is part of a large, combined family so there were many loved ones present that day to visit with Alex and celebrate his life. T-shirts were created in his honor with Alex’s picture on the front and a green ribbon on the back of the shirt for juvenile cancer.
Monies received from the Lighthouse of Hope Fund helped cover food costs, chair and table rental, paper goods, and t-shirts.
Alex’s story doesn’t stop there. As he continued to check items off his bucket list, he also wanted to make a difference in the lives of those facing situations like his own. A foundation set up in his name, will help terminally ill patients with limited monetary means meet their bucket list goals.
Alex died on July 10, 2015.
To read more articles about hospice making special moments possible, visit the Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice website.