Mere days after her first birthday, Alexa was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma and given a 20% chance for survival. Fortunately, Alexa was enrolled in a clinical trial; for the next three years, she underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. After a few years of healthy childhood, Alexa began to experience several medical issues as a result of the cancer treatments she received as a young child. Alexa’s spine began to curve sideways and inward towards her organs. The inward curve began pushing against her lungs; along with the scarring from chemotherapy, she ended up with only a 20% lung capacity.
In January 2008, Alexa flew to St. Louis to have scoliosis and lordosis surgery in order to straighten her spine and give her room to breathe. The results were amazing. She returned to Atlanta for physical and occupational therapy and tried to get back to some normalcy.
Alexa was far from being normal; she was a beautiful girl with a big, bright smile and an amazing attitude. She loved school—especially math and reading—as well as helping others, playing the piano and having fun with all of her friends. Alexa was so full of life, but sadly, she passed away on Thanksgiving Day 2008 at the age of 11, with her family by her side.