Alex Suarez III was working the crowd like a politician.
In the presence of the nation’s top basketball talent, for a half-hour of practice, all eyes were on the 3-year-old from Thomasville.
It’s because he shares a trait with the All-Americans. And that’s grit.
Alex was born with several complications.
“He’s missing two ribs, he’s got a hole in his heart," his father Alex Suarez, Jr. explained. "His stomach and his esophagus weren’t connected when he was born.”
About two years ago he was diagnosed with Leukemia, but you couldn’t tell by the way he scampered all over the courts.
“If it wasn’t for us to have to travel for his treatments, we’d probably forget that we has sick to be honest with you," his father said as Alex darted back and forth on the baseline.
Due to the gravity of his illnesses, the 4.5 hour drive from Thomasville to Atlanta is frequent.
“I think they’re going to name I-75 after us. In 2016 we made 50 trips up here," said Suarez.
Thankfully the Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlanta hosted them for the vast majority of their stays.
It saved the family over $15,000, and it’s one of the sources to all of that energy.
“For the last three and a half years, this has been his second home.”
He may have found a third home on the court. Alex took skipping lessons with Syracuse-bound All-American Darius Bazley.
Alex even got his own game of kickball going.
Tuesday both hometown heroes united as he hosted Thomasville's All-American Reggie Perry on his home court, the Dunk Zone in the RMHC.
His father considers the Ronald McDonald House Charities a blessing. But upon further review, it seems Alex is the one blessing them with his infectious presence.
“He’s a bundle of energy that just goes, and goes and goes," said Suarez. "People look at him and say, ‘he has Leukemia?’ and we’re like, ‘that’s what they say.’”
Alex and the Suarez family will leave Thursday morning for more chemo theory, but first they’ll let the All-Americans have their turn Wednesday night in Phillips Arena as the All-American basketball games get underway starting at 5 p.m.
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