Alexis and Kira with Carlos Vinuesa. / J.M.M.

Kind deeds and Kira provide a new lease of life for Alexis

Estepona. Thanks to a swimming challenge by Carlos Vinuesa and donations from the public and institutions, the boy now has a seizure assistance dog

JOSÉ MARÍA MARTÍN

Young Alexis' face said it all. Despite having already seen Kira via videochat, he had just met what will be his new pet for the first time in person.

This puppy, as well as providing company, will play an important role in the young Estepona local's life. She is trained to detect beforehand the strong epileptic episodes that Alexis suffers and that forces his parents to take turns watching him sleep due to the gravity of the seizures.

A few months ago, doctors advised the parents to get one of these trained dogs, but their high cost meant it was impossible. But that's when Alexis' life crossed paths with swimmer Carlos Vinuesa, who this family consider to be a guardian angel.

Carlos, born in La Línea but from Estepona by heart, began to weave together a sporting challenge with which he combined his day job and one of his passions - swimming - with the two towns that have meant a lot to him, La Línea de la Concepción and Estepona.

A swimming challenge that Carlos also wanted to link to a charitable cause. His story and Alexis' were destined to cross each other - the only thing missing was a common link. And that's when the Fundación 24 Horas Deportivas de Estepona came in.

This foundation began preparing the logistics of Carlos' challenge when the youngster's story came to their attention. They connected both the family and the swimmer and there were no hesitation - the donations from the challenge would pay for the seizure assistance dog.

The swim took place on 5 June. The route took nearly 12 hours to complete and was 32.8km long, skirting along the coast of La Línea, San Roque, Manilva, Casares and then Estepona. In each of these locations money had been collected to go towards specific causes.

Last Sunday was the end of the journey, almost a year after the adventure began.

At midday, young Alexis couldn't contain his excitement nor his emotions from the chair he was sitting on, as he attended with his family the press conference organised for the occasion, alongside the rest of those involved.

Thanks to the efforts of all parties, the initiative was able to acquire Kira, who is valued at over 6,000 euros.

However, Fundación 24 Horas Deportivas announced that the challenge had actually raised 9,000 euros more in Estepona, which were distributed among different charities, including food banks and the recovery fund for the Sierra Bermeja fire.

Love at first sight

Once the formalities were over, the time finally came for Alexis and Kira to meet. The connection was instant, like love at first sight. In just a few seconds, she started licking and kissing him as he held her in his arms.

This happiness also spilled over to Alexis' family members. On top of the fact that Kira will bring them more rest and relaxation, Alexis' mum, Lorena, valued the chance her son was getting. "This has all been put together to improve my son's life, we feel very happy."

Another happy face was that of Carlos Vinuesa, who confessed: "What the challenge has managed to achieve makes you feel special. After eleven months, we've reach the end of this beautiful journey."

Carlos also thanked locals for their donations. "They've always done everything for someone who needs help. Towns are a reflection of their citizens and Estepona can be proud of its people."