It took less than 24 hours for people to open their hearts to Alejandro Arbelaez, a talented Dumont High School senior born without an eye, ear and more.
Alejandro has had more than a dozen surgeries to reconstruct the right side of his face after being born with hemifacial microsomia.
“This is something I've been dreaming about ever since I was young,” the 18-year-old percussionist said. “I've wanted to have a symmetrical face and I wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin for once.”
Unfortunately, what would have been his final surgery was canceled for the third time.
“The hospital isn’t finding the parts they need,” Alejandro said, “and I need to get the money from my own pocket.”
His only option, he said, was a GoFundMe page, which in less than a day had raised nearly $9,000 of the $35,000 that he’s seeking.
“I wouldn't ask for help if I didn't 100% need it,” Alejandro said.
“There have been times where I have felt comfortable, and these have been with music,” he wrote. “I didn't realize it until recently, but music is truly a part of me, and it's a part of me that brings me peace and happiness and it's a form of expressing who I am and I love it.
“I'm going to a music school to study music therapy, because it's the best way I can bring that same joy and love of music to others.
“However, I truly feel that without this surgery I can't move on from the negativity of myself,” Alejandro wrote.
“Finishing this surgery means a new start to my life, a start where I feel more comfortable in my own skin.
“I would never ask for money from anyone ever, but I'm afraid that this is my last choice…. Anything you can give would help.
“I'll write a personalized thank you to anyone who donates.”
If you do, he added, you “deserve way more than my thanks -- but at least thank you is a start.”
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