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Squamish family asking for help for their newborn Angel

Funds being raised to support family of four-week-old Alejandro Angel, who was diagnosed with rare pediatric cancer.

The family who owns the Squamish Connector is asking for the community's help and good wishes as its newest member faces a rare form of pediatric cancer.

Four-week-old Alejandro (Alejo) Angel has been diagnosed with a malignant rhabdoid tumour with SMARCB1 mutation on chromosome 22. 

According to his family, this is only the tenth such recorded case with this exact pediatric cancer in the world.

There are currently no medical options for him in Canada.

So his parents Erin and Frederico Angel of North Vancouver are scouring the globe for answers and help for their baby, the couple's first. 

When the baby boy was about a week old, his parents noticed lumps in his legs and back. He was sent for an ultrasound and a biopsy. That's when they got the devastating diagnosis. 

"He was born Jan. 20, and all seemed fine," recalled Felipe Angel, who is uncle to baby Alejandro and also co-owner of Squamish Connector. 

Even today, to look at him, Alejandro still looks fine, Angel said. 

"He eats a lot. He sleeps well. He doesn't seem like he is in pain. If you didn't see the lumps or know what was going on, it is almost like he is a normal baby." 

Large tumours are pressing on his airways, however, so time is of the essence. 

"The problem is because he is so small and so young, no one is willing to take him right now," Angel said.

"They said there is nothing they can do and only gave him a couple of weeks [to live]."

The pandemic has made things even tougher as the family can't see friends or co-ordinate meals and cleaning while addressing their son's serious health crisis. 

Baby Alejandro's dad is a chiropractor in North Vancouver but he has taken a leave to help his son. 

There is a GoFundMe campaign, "Help for Alejandro Andres Quinn Angel" to help raise funds for the expensive options the family is pursuing. 

There is a glimmer of hope that the baby could be eligible for a clinical trial in Boston. 

If they get accepted for these trials, they can cost upwards of $1-million in a deposit, Angel said. 

"At the moment, we are just looking for anyone who will take him for clinical trials," he said. "They are doing any alternative treatments that are out there, but are possible, just because Western medicine is saying they won't treat him because of his size."

The parents are trying to make life as normal and pleasant as possible during this crisis by spending time with their newborn at home and going for walks.

"Give him the best possible life at the moment and continue to go from there," Angel said.

He added the family knows times are tough right now for many due to the pandemic, so understand that financial support may not be possible for many in Squamish. 

"Other than donations, we have this 8 p.m. positive energy and love that we take for the family," Angel said. "So if people want to take at 8.p.m., just a couple of minutes to do that, it would be gratefully appreciated."

Find the GoFundMe here.

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