A two-year-old Belton boy has been forced to eat from a feeding tube most of his short life. His parents have been fighting to get their son healthy and now the community is trying to help.
Will Alewine was born a seemingly healthy baby boy. But, weeks later it was getting harder for Rachel, his mom, to feed him and his weight significantly dropped.
“He is very energetic. He has his tantrums. If he doesn’t get away, he doesn’t like it, but he is very loving,” Rachel said about her little boy. “When it started around 2 months, it is like my world just got flipped upside down. I love him. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. But it has been hard.”
Tests were performed and doctors diagnosed him with autism, reflux and with missing two genes. Now, at 2-years-old he is still underweight and he eats only formula through a feeding tube. It was placed through surgery when he was 8 months old after using another tube for two months.
“We need the prayers for patience,” Rachel said. “Seeing him everyday struggle to eat is really hard.”
Doctors referred the family to the Marcus Autism Institute in Atlanta for therapy to help him eat. The treatments would cost around $62,000 dollars for 2 months.
Will already undergoes several therapy sessions 5 days a week. On top of weekly medical expenses they already have, the new treatments are unaffordable.
The family has struggled to get full insurance coverage for Will since the beginning. After the referral to Atlanta, they were placed on a wait list. Once they saw a team of doctors at the Marcus Autism Institute, they were approved for the therapy.
For the past year and a half, they’ve been trying to get insurance to help, without any luck.
“We just need to we feel like we would fail as parents if we didn’t at least to try to get him there to help him out,” Kevin, Will’s dad, said.
Local businesses are collecting money to help. The Belton Fire Department where Will’s dad work held an event and Arnold’s Famous Hamburgers held a fundraiser back in October.
Arnold’s Famous Hamburgers in Belton raised over $4,000 Monday by donating all of their sales. They are currently holding a second fundraiser Tuesday at their Anderson location to do the same thing. They hope to raise even more.
“We are lucky enough to give blessings back to our community and if we do, maybe somebody else will,” said Gary Durkee, Arnold’s Famous Hamburgers.
If the Alewine’s can raise enough money, they would like to get Will in for treatments in Atlanta as soon as possible. Doctors tell them the older he gets, the harder it will be to get him off of the feeding tube.
If you would like to donate to the Alewine family, click HERE or eat at Arnold’s Famous Hamburgers in Anderson Tuesday.