Alec Cabacungan Obituary, Shriners Hospital celebrity patient/ spokesperson passes away

Alec Cabacungan Obituary, Shriners Hospital celebrity patient/ spokesperson passes away

The city of Oak Park, Illinois, mourns the loss of Alec Cabacungan, a remarkable young man born with brittle bone disease. Alec, a 19-year-old resident of Oak Park, dedicated his life to becoming a sports broadcaster while leaving an indelible mark as the spokesperson for Shriners Children’s Chicago. This article pays tribute to Alec’s journey, his unwavering spirit, and the legacy he leaves behind.

A Life Defined by Resilience

Alec Cabacungan’s story began with a challenging diagnosis—osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), or brittle bone disease. Despite facing a lifetime of surgeries and physical therapy, Alec’s fighting spirit was evident from a young age. His dream of becoming a sports broadcaster fueled his determination, and his infectious smile and big brown eyes endeared him to thousands of TV viewers.

The Shriners Connection

Alec became part of the Shriners family at just two months old, receiving care and support for his brittle bone disease. Over the years, he underwent numerous surgeries and treatments at Shriners Children’s Chicago, showcasing the hospital’s dedication to pediatric orthopedic care. Alec’s involvement extended beyond his medical journey; he became the charismatic face of Shriners, urging viewers to support the hospital and receive a “cuddly” red Teddy bear blanket as a token of gratitude.

A Setback and a Comeback

Despite breaking over 60 bones in his lifetime, Alec’s positive spirit remained unbroken. A recent setback occurred in December when his wheelchair flipped on a snowy sidewalk, resulting in a broken left shoulder, right knee, and left hip. This incident prompted a leave of absence from Northwestern University, where Alec was majoring in sports broadcasting, to focus on intense post-surgery physical therapy at Shriners Children’s Chicago.

Life-Changing Innovations

Alec’s treatment at Shriners included the use of intramedullary rods, a revolutionary innovation developed over 70 years ago. These rods strengthened his bones, allowing him to lead a fuller life, including playing wheelchair basketball and attending regular school alongside his peers.

A Mission to Inspire

Alec Cabacungan’s journey wasn’t just about overcoming personal challenges; it was about giving hope to others facing similar struggles. As the ambassador for Shriners, Alec, along with his parents Alma and Gill Cabacungan, traveled the country, spreading awareness about OI and Shriners’ vital role in pediatric care. Alec hosted his own YouTube show, interviewed athletes, and aimed to inspire people with disabilities to pursue their dreams.

A Vision for the Future

Alec aspired to work for a major network, covering sports events and, notably, the Paralympics. His dream was to see more people with disabilities in sports journalism, breaking barriers and challenging perceptions. Despite setbacks, Alec’s determination never wavered, and he hoped to push boundaries for people with disabilities in the sports media world.

A Lasting Legacy

Alec Cabacungan’s impact extended beyond his personal achievements. His advocacy for those with disabilities, his charismatic presence, and his commitment to Shriners Hospitals will be remembered as part of his enduring legacy. As Oak Park and the broader community mourn the loss of this inspirational young man, Alec’s words echo: “People with disabilities aren’t different than anyone else. We have feelings, we have a heart, and we shouldn’t be treated differently just because we look different.”


Alec Cabacungan’s life journey was one of resilience, inspiration, and a relentless pursuit of dreams. As we remember Alec, let us honor his memory by embracing inclusivity, celebrating diversity, and supporting institutions like Shriners Hospitals that make a difference in the lives of children facing medical challenges.

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