Patient Profile - Alex Cleary
Alex Cleary is an 18-year old college student and rugby player who visited Seattle Children’s Hospital for the first time as a one-week old infant. This was the beginning of a years-long journey to correct a cleft lip and palate.
A cleft palate is a birth defect in which the roof of the mouth contains an opening into the nose, the result of facial tissues not joining properly during pre-natal development. This condition can be successfully treated with surgery. Alex’s treatment at Seattle Children’s included lip repair at the age of three months, palate repair as a one-year old, a bone marrow transplant when he was 9, cosmetic nose and lip surgery when he turned 12, four years wearing braces, and jaw surgery when he turned 18. His final surgery is scheduled for November 7.
Alex, who started playing rugby as a sixth grader, is today a member of the U.S. Youth Olympics Rugby team and will be traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina to participate in the Youth Olympic Games from October 6-18. As a Youth Olympian, Alex has the opportunity to train with some of his favorite players, including Perry Baker and Carlin Isles.
In high school, Alex served as captain of his high school football, wrestling, and rugby teams, and recently received an athletic scholarship to attend Central Washington University. He’ll be playing rugby for Central beginning Winter Quarter 2019. Last year CWU was ranked #15 nationally in NCAA Division I Rugby.
Being a Youth Olympian calls for many responsibilities and a demanding travel schedule. This past summer, Alex trained with the U.S. Men’s Olympic Rugby Team in Chula Vista, California and Lake Placid, New York, for rugby trials. His future plans include earning his bachelor’s degree and continuing to play rugby into the future, possibly as a coach or team manager. When asked about becoming a member of the Seattle Seawolves, Alex replied with a grin, “Yeah, I’ve definitely thought about it. That would be really awesome.”
Alex’s proud grandmother, Rosemary Weimer, has been a champion for her grandson throughout both his medical journey and his rugby journey. She has also been, for many years, a dedicated member and officer of the Seattle Festival of Trees Guild (formerly the Dr. Forest Flashman Guild) and has been a prolific holiday tree designer.
Alex and his family would like to thank, in particular, Dr. Joseph Gruss, an Endowed Chair in Pediatric Craniofacial Surgery at Seattle Children’s, and Dr. Hitesh Kapadia, the Division Chief of Craniofacial Orthodontics.
We're still accepting sponsorships until the end of October. If you like to participate in the Festival of Trees as a sponsor go here.
There are still several one-of-a-kind themed trees available for purchase for your home or business. Prices go up November 17. Choose your favorite here.
Holidays with Harry
New this year, a one of a kind, 9 foot tree loaded with Harry Potter memorabilia, "Holidays with Harry". Topped with a Sorting Hat, it comes with a luggage cart, Fawkes the Phoenix, Dobby and other figurines, a Monster Book of Monsters, a Marauder's Map and much, much more. Perfect for the Harry Potter fan.
Would you like to have this tree for your home or business? Make a bid on this tree and it could be yours.
See more photos and details about bidding here.
Tickets are still available for the Gala Dinner and Auction at the gorgeous Fairmont Olympic hotel. It will be a beautiful, elegant, festive evening with more than 20 trees for viewing, entertainment by Geoffrey Castle, gourmet food and wine, and a silent and live auction. Saturday evening, November 17.
Invite friends and family of all ages to the FREE Celebration on Sunday, November 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. for the Fairmont tree lighting, the opening of the Teddy Bear Suite, and cookies, cocoa, storytelling, Santa, choirs, gift-shopping and more. Start a new tradition at this perfect way to usher in the Seattle Holiday season.
Want to do more? We have a number of ways you can partner with Seattle Festival of Trees. Seattle Children's Uncompensated Care and Autism Center needs you to help make a difference. See below for how you can partner with us: