'Wheels For Alex' – A Young Latino Asks For Help


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Robert Held

Alex Robley recently turned 19 and is hoping to raise around $50,000 for a new wheelchair accessible van. His friends and family have founded an organization to help him – it’s called ‘Wheels for Alex’.
Robley, who is Mexcian, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was only two-weeks-old; it left him wheelchair bound for most of his life. He was born around 16 weeks premature, and this caused him to weigh only two pounds at birth. Low birth weight is thought to be a contributing cause for cerebral palsy, according to the Center for Disease Control.
In June, the Colchester resident, graduated from Bacon Academy High School, but has had trouble getting around due to his van constantly breaking down.  “The muffler on his old van is falling off, plus the van is 16 yrs old and has been breaking down on the highway,” said Nicole Reardon, President of ‘Wheels for Alex’.
Robley is known by many for being extremely patriotic and having a huge love for sports. He was even awarded athlete of the year for his performance on a unified sports team. While at Bacon Academy, he attended most sporting events and school dances and made the honor roll nearly every quarter. “His [Robley] smile will light up a room,” said Reardon.
The idea to raise funds began in April after Robley had entered a contest to win a new van, but was unable to get enough votes. “He entered a contest in April to win a van, but started fundraising because he was already too far behind in voting in the van contest,” said Vice President of  ‘Wheels for Alex’, Patty Pekoske.
‘Wheels for Alex’ has held several fundraisers so far. His group had a tag sale and bake sale on the green in Colchester which raised $3,500. Next, was a fundraiser at Sweet Frog, a frozen yogurt shop in Colchester that raised $700. These events along with some other local events in Robley’s hometown have helped him raise over $15,000 so far.
The next fundraiser for ‘Wheels for Alex’ will be held on September 14th at the Polish Club in Colchester sponsored by Son’s Of The American Legion. It will be a spaghetti dinner.  For more information or to donate,  please visit WheelsforAlex.com or ‘Wheels for Alex’  Facebook page at facebook.com/wheelsforalex.
On September 21st, Robley’s group will be holding a Poker Run. Registration for the event starts at 10 a.m., with tickets costing $25 per rider and $10 per passenger. The motorcycle ride will begin at Bacon Academy, with breakfast pizzas being served by The Rolling Tomato food truck. Non-motorcycle riders are also encouraged to come out, for $15 per person to enjoy raffles, food, and music after the ride.
The Poker Run is sponsored by Germano’s Bar & Grill in Colchester and the Haymond Law Firm.    ” Yes, John [Haymond] will be there,” said Pekoske.
With all the support from the community, Wheels for Alex wants to give appreciation to some of its biggest supporters. “We just want to thank the Haymond Law Firm, the students at Bacon Academy, and Nicole [Reardon] for all the help,” said Pekoske.
‘Wheels for Alex’ has a deadline for when the group would like to purchase a new van for Robley. ” We would love to get the money for a new van by Christmas because it would make for a great Christmas gift,” said Pekoske.
According to the CDC, cerebral palsy is not as prominent in the Hispanic community as it is in the African-American community. However, around 2-3 children out of every 1,000 live births in the United States are diagnosed with the disease. Between 8,000 and 10,000 children under the age of eight are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year.