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Saturday, May 15, 2021
Zion Evangelical Lutheran
Schenectady, New York, United States
Obituary of Alexander Gregory Duncan
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A fighter who overcame multiple obstacles throughout his lifetime, Alex G. Duncan was a sweet young man who inspired many, left an unforgettable impression on everyone who met him, and departed this earth far too soon. On April 14, 2021 after a nearly 3 year battle with testicular cancer and in the loving arms of his parents, he drew his last breath. Alex was 25. Alex was a high-risk pregnancy expected to be premature, but instead, he made it beyond his initial due date and was born New Year’s Day 1996. He was born visually impaired and with a cleft lip and pallet. When he had his first cleft pallet surgery at three months old it was discovered that he had hypertension due to stenosis of his renal arteries. He immediately underwent surgery to bypass the stenosed artery and ultimately spent three weeks in the PICU at Albany Medical Center. Not knowing what the outcome would be, Alex was prayed over and baptized by three priests...ensuring his protection and giving us the first indication that he was truly in God’s hands. Throughout his life Alex had multiple surgeries to repair his cleft lip and pallet, orthopedic surgery to correct a length discrepancy of his legs, eye surgery, and reconstructive surgery on his jaw. In total he had over 25 surgeries, multiple scans, EKGs, MRIs, two blood transfusions, genetic testing, vision tests, and breathing tests. He had two sets of braces and wore a pallet expander for a year. And through it all he defied doctor’s prognoses, showed incredible strength and courage, and never complained. Alex began his schooling in Niskayuna, NY, but after attending a summer camp for blind children he decided that he wanted to go to school with “kids like me.” We followed his lead on the transition and on the day after his 11th birthday he began his residential education at Perkins School for the Deaf and Blind in Boston. After a year, the family relocated to South Carolina so Alex could attend the SC School for the Deaf and Blind. While there he earned his varsity letter in track, wrestling, and goalball; and in 2014 he was named the Blind Male Athlete of the Year. In 2015 the family returned to New York so Alex could complete his schooling as a resident of the NY Institute for the Deaf and Blind. He graduated in 2016, one year earlier than expected, earning his Regents diplomas from both the NY Institute and Niskayuna High School. In spite of his visual impairment and other health conditions, Alex was very active and never limited himself. He played flag football in Niskayuna, as well as basketball and flag football with the Challenger Program in East Greenbush. He broke his foot in a game but did not tell us until a few weeks later. He even had a go-kart that topped out at 70 MPH. He enjoyed hanging out with his four closest cousins who were more like brothers to him. They would often do Mad Libs, play Uno, Cards Against Humanity, or play basketball. They especially liked to make music, although the lyrics were not always suitable for younger audiences. His younger sister Ashley referred to him simply as Brother. They had a unique relationship - sometimes adversarial, often competitive, and ultimately full of love and laughter. They could bring each other to tears with laughter making up silly stories, especially ones that made fun of mom and dad. Alex was a collector of media: classic radio shows (which were introduced to him by his Papa), old TV shows like “All in the Family”, horror movies, film noir, and anime. His favorite anime was Dragon Ball Z, which he enjoyed introducing to his dad. He had an in-depth knowledge of these shows and the voice actors; and he liked to share his opinions about the various storylines. He appreciated Japanese culture, hence his love of anime. He liked to play shogi (Japanese chess) and he had begun taking Japanese with a tutor before he became to sick. Despite the severity of his illness, Alex faced it with courage and grace, and he continued to think of others. He wrote letters to several of his family members, letting them know what he admired most about them, his fondest memories with them, and what he wanted them to do when he was gone. He wanted his foundation to be ready and he wanted to brainstorm with mom about gifts to uplift men with testicular cancer. During his last few months, Alex was showered with “birthday blessings”, celebrating each day of life. He was even given some money which he immediately wanted to donate. He was very thankful and said that he “cannot pay everyone back for their wonderful cards and gifts, so I will just pay it forward.” The Alex G. Duncan Foundation for Fighting Testicular Cancer was established to help other warriors in their fight against testicular cancer. You may learn more about the foundation and make a donation at alexgduncanfoundation.org. Alex is survived by his parents Darrin G. and Tonya (Koch) Duncan, his younger sister Ashley Duncan, maternal grandparents Doug and Judith (Hughes) Koch and several aunts, uncles and cousins. Deceased paternal grandparents Donald and Mae (Jones) Duncan Live streaming ( www.Zion.LC ) services will be Saturday May 15th at 11 AM
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