Diagnosis: Kidney Disease
Hometown: Portland, OR
Favorite Athlete: Vernon Davis #85
Nike Shoe: Air Max Penny LE ($145.00 adult, $120.00 youth)
Nike Apparel: Alejandro Tee* ($18.00), Dunk Short V2 ($25.00), QT Nike Alejandro True ($30.00)
*Only available in youth sizes
Nike Footwear Developer: David Garcia
Nike Apparel Designer: Abby Swancutt
Nike Apparel Developer: Kimberly Reneau
Alejandro Munoz was born with kidneys that have never worked well and eventually will fail. He spent his first 12 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Trips to Doernbecher have become a frequent part of his life. He now takes five different medicines and gets a shot every Monday. He has his blood drawn every 3-4 weeks. That means he has been stuck with needles more than 100 times in his life. His blood tests show that his kidney function is always just a little too good to qualify for a kidney transplant, but not good enough to put their worries to rest.
So he and his family wait. And they wait.
In the meantime, Alejandro is a typically feisty and active 8-year-old boy. Last September he broke his arm when he fell off the top bunk while playing tag. He likes to play Power Rangers with his sister and brother. He loves the San Francisco 49ers and had dreamed of a career in the NFL until his doctor had to tell him that playing tackle football was not in his long term future. That was a hard blow; nobody wants to dash the dreams of an 8-year-old. But as the years pass and he matures, Alejandro's awareness of his illness and how it affects his life evolves. His doctors and his parents work together to help him navigate the realities of his illness.
No matter what, Alejandro is a good sport, and youth is his superpower … it protects his spirit. At his second-to-last basketball game last season he made seven baskets! Then at his last game he missed every shot. With a wave of his hand and a laugh he says, "the basket hated me," and then goes on to talk about his beloved 49ers and what he will be for Halloween.
He is now an avid flag football player, because while he might not be able to tackle on the gridiron, he will tackle whatever life throws at him.