After more than a month spent living without teeth, 16-year-old cancer survivor Alex Hunter finally had something to smile about.
The Delano, California, teen had all his teeth removed due to chemotherapy side effects.
When the family’s medical insurance refused to foot the bill to fit Alex with dentures, the Hunters took to the Internet, launching a fundraiser to collect the $11,000 needed to pay for the dental procedure.
Alex, from Delano, California, made the tough decision to get his 19 remaining teeth in July after years of radiation left the roots fragile and the teeth too loose to use.
While his insurance – which is provided by the state because of his mother’s job working for Bakersfield – covered part of the procedure to remove the teeth, it refused to cover the dentures, his family said – prompting their internet fundraising.
‘They say it’s not a medical issue but they know they took out the teeth because of a medical issue,’ his grandmother, Roberta Hunter, said earlier this summer about the insurance company’s stance.
‘It feels like the insurance is just bailing out on him.’
In an interview last month, Lizbeth Hunter said Alex was ‘blown away’ by the reaction from around the world as cash for his dentures poured in from those touched by his story.
In less than a day, the family raised the $11,000 for the procedure – and then some!
‘He was a little more excited than he thought he would be,’ Ms Hunter said. ‘It was an emotional moment for all of us, but definitely a good one.’
Alex’s mother said the procedure took more than an hour since the teen, who has beat two rare cancers, suffers from some issues with his jaw bone.
When all the dental work was complete, Alex was thrilled at the results and proclaimed his dentures ‘perfect.’
‘He just smiled really big. He just had nothing but joy,’ his mother said.