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Alex Mix

As the chilly weather begins to subside in Central New York, Alex Mix is gearing up for a busy running season. In the past three years he has taken part in 10-12 races per year of varying distances: 5Ks, Half Marathons and even a few Spartan Races. He loves physical challenges and has even taken part in Strongman and Powerlifting competitions.

Alex refuses to be defined by the disease that could have cost him his life.

At just two and a half years old, Alex was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Living in Watertown, NY, his family faced traveling a 140-mile round trip to Syracuse each time he received treatment. He was treated by doctors and staff in 5c at Upstate University Hospital.

Because of the excellent care he received and the shielding from his parents, Alex does not have many negative memories from this time in his life. He remembers getting Oreos when he went to the hospital and how nice his caregivers were. One thing he does recall with sadness, however, is being in a room with other bald children, all of them hooked up to the machines that were delivering their chemotherapy.

By the time Alex entered kindergarten he was no longer in active treatment, however his journey continued to include trips to the hospital to receive testing to ensure the Leukemia stayed at bay. Although he looks at his school years as largely unaffected by his fight with childhood cancer, there were times that his experience left him grappling internally.

“Alex refuses to be defined by the disease that could have cost him his life.”

In second grade Alex recalls feeling anxious that he was being required to undergo developmental testing. He felt he had to work hard to make sure he did
well and went the extra mile in the classroom to show his teachers that he was intelligent and unaffected by his disease. When they would ask a question, his hand would be the first to go up! Later in tenth grade, Alex being much smaller than his peers, wondered if his treatments had stunted his growth. This turned out not to be the case for him, but these internal dialogues were a very real part of his journey.

After graduating from the University of Buffalo, while working in banking and contemplating attending law school, Alex found his true calling while physically training a couple of his friends. They were so grateful for his guidance that they encouraged him to consider pursuing that as a career. He took their advice, became a Certified Personal Trainer, and is now in his twelfth year as a professional personal trainer and business owner. He currently owns a private personal training gym right in Syracuse on Midler Ave.

The story of how Alex became connected with Paige’s Butterfly Run is something he holds very dear. He learned of our event through his stepdaughter, Blair, who was participating with her 6th grade running club. That club allowed each member to run in honor of someone who they knew had fought cancer. When Alex walked up to their group before their run, his stepdaughter turned around to show that she had his nickname “GOAT” (Greatest of All Time) proudly displayed on her back. This was truly a special moment for him.

Alex will be joining us for his fourth Paige’s Butterfly Run this year. Although he does not himself feel a victim of his experience with
childhood cancer, he does not lose sight of just how lucky he is to be alive. He realizes he is one of the fortunate ones, and at times wonders: “Why did I make it, while others do not?” He sincerely hopes his strong determination and path in life will serve as an inspiration to others.

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