COTA – Children’s Organ Transplant Association

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By Susan Heckler

Being a parent on a good day has its challenges. Count your blessings for every day challenges and for the gift of a healthy child.

Five year old Alexander Cuevas was born prematurely, but in good health. In many cases, preemies can have an immature immune system which is not quite ready to fight off infections. Unfortunately for Alexander, shortly after his birth, he contracted Necrotizing Enterocolitis, an infection common among premature infants that attacks and kills tissue in the intestines. Alexander’s case was particularly severe, and while beating it, they had to remove his entire colon and the majority of his small intestine.

Alexander receives the majority of his nutrition from Total Parenteral Nutrition, which has allowed him to grow although leaving him prone to dangerous infections and complications. He has been evaluated and added to the national transplant list as transplant surgery will allow him to live a near-normal life and digest food the traditional way. Finding a match is not easy. The surgery will take place at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, which is the top hospital in the country for this procedure. This miracle surgery costs $2 million dollars on average. Alexander will need to be near the hospital in Pittsburgh for checkups for nearly one year after the surgery, and will need immunosuppressant drugs for life.

In steps COTA (Children’s Organ Transplant Association) who is raising money in honor of Alexander. Part of their fundraising is a 5k Halloween
themed run on October 26th at 10am at Mercer County Park, 334 S. Post Road, West Windsor. Bring your smiles, sneakers and costumes for a fun filled 5k! Registration is open and is $25 for adults and $15 for kids!

For further information on how you can help Alexander and other children in similar circumstances, check out The Children’s Organ Transplant Association needs your help to make a miracle for Alexander Cuevas! Volunteers are needed to help plan and implement fundraising activities. Individuals and groups who are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities should contact COTA for Alexander C Community Coordinator, Anthony Mango at 609.356.6771 or