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The Globe and Mail

Five years on, Team Alex is still going strong

In memory of their son Alex, Len and Frances Pace, along with many supporters have raised more than $1-million for children’s cancer charities.

MARY CUTTINI/The Globe and Mail

The donors: Frances Pace, Len Pace and Team Alex

The gift: Raising $1.2-million and climbing

The cause: Several charities devoted to children with cancer

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When Frances and Len Pace's son Alex was diagnosed in 2007 with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, they were quickly surrounded by a large group of family, friends and even some strangers.

"Within two or three days of his diagnosis, this 'Team Alex' kind of sprung up around us," Mr. Pace recalled from his office in Toronto, where he is executive vice-president at Osmington Inc., a commercial real estate company. The group provided meals, looked after the family's other two children, did household chores, anything to help while Alex was in the hospital for treatment.

Alex passed away in 2009, at the age of 11, and "Team Alex" vowed to press on in his memory. Joined by the Paces, the group began raising money for several cancer charities. Under the handle Team Axle, a play on Alex's name, they participated in a cycling event called Tour for Kids and a walking fundraiser called Relay for Life. The Pace's teenaged daughter, Madeline, also organized a charity ball called Bal de Neige that now attracts about 400 people annually.

So far the team has raised around $1.2-million for several cancer-related organizations. And they don't plan to stop.

Alex "was one of those kids who really seemed to have a lot of wisdom and understanding of who he was and where he was in his life," Mr. Pace said. "He didn't take himself too seriously and always had this sense that there were others worse off than him. I think he inspired a lot of people who knew him."

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