You might recognize 17-year-old Alec Cabacungan from the assorted commercials because that Shriners Hospitals for youngsters that have actually aired nationally. Alec, a patient of Shriners Hospitals for kids — Chicago, has come to be a well-known television star, to be interviewed on countless national news and also talk shows, and also has captured the hearts of many with his beloved smile and charming personality. Alec is quite the active teenager. From play wheelchair softball and also basketball, to assistant coaching tee-ball, he loves just around any sport. However, because he has actually osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle bone disease, Alec’s method to his favorite tasks is a tiny different.

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OI is a genetic bone disorder characterized by vulnerable bones that can frequently and also easily break, which deserve to make it hard for Alec to take part in sports. The underlying cause of OI is a lack of collagen – or abnormal collagen – in the skeleton that stays clear of them from absorbing appropriate minerals and developing correctly.

Alec has actually been going come the Chicago Shriners Hospital for treatment since 2002. Since then, he has actually made great progress thanks to receiving customized treatment from ours rehabilitation specialists. Alec receive intravenous (IV) infusions that pamidronate, a medication that slows under the process of bone resorption and also improves bone mass. He additionally routinely visits the hospital for physical therapy, and also has had several surgeries.Thanks come the health care system’s emphasis on enhancing the high quality of life of patients and families, Alec has occurred a level of confidence that has opened up a civilization of opportunities.

Over the years, Alec has actually been a incredible voice for Shriners Hospitals for Children, and has showed up in numerous national commercials, representing the plenty of patients whose lives have actually been changed forever by the health care system. That has also been a featured guest on many television shows, sharing his appreciation all over he goes.

“Without Shriners Hospitals because that Children, i wouldn’t have the ability to dream as huge as ns do,” claimed Alec. “I know anything is feasible because the staff remind me all the time that I have the right to do everything I collection my mental to. I live a complete life because of Shriners Hospitals.”

Alec Cabacungan is just one the many children who have benefited indigenous the hope and healing found at Shriners Hospitals because that Children and he join The Smart leader for this to exclude, Q&A.

Q. Tell us a tiny about yourself Alec/ Where are you from? What are your interests?I live in Chicago, Illinois with my parents. Ns am a senior in high school obtaining ready to go to college. If I’m not at institution or helping Shriners Hospitals friend can uncover me on a basketball court through my finest friends play for hours.

Q.What do you like about being the nationwide spokesperson because that Shriners Hospitals because that Children?

My favorite thing about being the spokesperson is the I obtain to carry awareness to the significant mission that Shriners Hospitals for Children. It truly brings me joy to inform world of the exceptional wrap-around care they bring to the over 1.4 million youngsters served.

Q. What carry out you find complicated about gift the national spokesperson?

In my opinion the most difficult thing around being the “spokesperson” is the it’s difficult for me to balance all the requests for appearances in between the Shriners temples and the 22 hospital locations, I want to be in ~ everything feasible and it’s difficult for me to no be there all the time.

Q. What are several of the most memorable moments you have had as spokesperson?

I’ll constantly remember the very first time I acquired recognized because that the commercials and feeling therefore happy.As a renowned spokesperson, have actually your televised commercials had an influence on your daily life?My life has changed and hasn’t changed at the exact same time. I think the biggest affect is just being noticed anywhere I go, even at the movie or the marke,t world recognize me. Don’t obtain me wrong, i love it!I’m extremely grateful for every the recognition I receive yet it’s not simply me. I have actually a an excellent support device that help me and I work with a great production crew that makes me look yes, really good.

Q. What affect has Shriners Hospitals had actually on her life?Shriners Hospitals for youngsters has given me a life where I can live without any limitations. Lock have provided me medical help since ns was 2 months old and now they are helping me live out my dreams.

Q. What encourages you to be so positive around life?As I’ve gotten older I have noticed that my situation is not as negative as others. Whenever ns feel down, i think about all the good things that have happened come me and I shot to assist others feel the very same way.

Q. What carry out you hope to achieve as the national spokesperson because that Shriners Hospitals for Children?My number one score has always been and will always be come help much more and an ext kids obtain the best quality that care.

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Q. What room your future plans after ~ you’re done with high school?College because that sure, however keeping mine entertainment industry options broad open.

 Interview performed by Donny Stancato & Cassidy Gillespie-Dipinto – Edited by Jason HedmanThe story originally showed up in the December 19th version of your Smart reader

Choo Choo Charlie’s currently Charlie’s Shriner Diner


Choo-Choo Charlie has traded in his conductor’s lid for a fez. The mascot of the downtown Kenosha train-themed kids’ restaurant started donning the timeless burgundy hat the signals membership in the Tripoli Shriners last month as soon as Choo-Choo Charlie’s to be rechristened Charlie’s Shriner Diner. Fifty percent of all profits from food and also beverage sales now advantage the young patient at Shriner’s Hospitals for youngsters in Chicago.“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to branch out in fresh methods to assist children,” said Dan Winter, advance officer the hospital. “Charlie’s is a well-known brand in Kenosha together a place for youngsters to have fun and eat standard American food. Us think it will become an even more popular location with parents knowing they space helping boys and girls obtain life-changing medical treatment just by eat a meal.”The restaurant continues to serve authentic comfort foods kids crave – and also while the trains the have come to be its hallmark will also remain, the décor will be changed to incorporate photographs and information around Shriner’s Hospitals and also the youngsters they serve.“This could end up being a version for Shrine clubs across the country,” Kenosha Shrine club President Jim Gename said. “We’ll be giving people good food while offering them an chance to aid out our an excellent cause. That’s a mix we think world will it is in all-aboard for. It’ll it is in a day come remember not simply for the children,” Gename said, “but the totality community.”