Meet Us Monday – Meet Lexi
Lexi is a bright and bubbly 7-year-old who loves to paint, color and play games on the computer. But there is one major difference between Lexi and other children: she does these things, and much more, using her feet. Lexi is part of our CurePity campaign. Why pledge to CurePity? Because, children who have disabilities don’t need pity. They need hope. They need expert medical care. And they need a world that gives them a chance. In short, they need people like you. Watch Lexi’s CurePity commercial, sign the pledge, and read more about Lexi’s story below.
She Nearly Died At Birth
Lexi was born with a severe form of arthrogryposis, a conditon that caused her joints to contract in-utero. Her intestines outside of her body, her arms and legs immobile, doctors told Lexi’s mother, Jamie, that Lexi would likely die from the rare disorder. “It was the most terrifying experience of my life,” recalls Jamie of the months Lexi spent hospitalized nearly four hours from her western Minnesota home.
Local doctors gave Lexi a similarly bleak prognosis as she strived for independence. “They told her, ‘you will never walk,’ and she said ‘I will walk!’” remember Jamie. “She made up her mind to prove everyone wrong.”
Her Feet Became a Lifeline
Her arms limp and useless, her legs stiff and unbendable, Lexi’s limbs pose major limitations. But one part of Lexi’s body remains unaffected by her conditon. By flexing her feet and wriggling her toes, Lexi found an extraordinary—and effective—way to interact with the world around her. Her feet can adeptly maneuver markers, crayons, even utensils, the same way most children use their hands.
“She was six months old when I noticed her use her feet for something,” recalls Jamie, who says few things about her fiercely independent daughter surprise her anymore. “You can’t tell her something is impossible. She simply won’t listen.”
Lexi certainly didn’t listen to the doctor who doubted her ability to walk. Two years ago, inspired by her nimble feet, Lexi began taking cautious first steps. Today, she walks freely around her home and uses a powerchair for longer distances. “I showed him!” says Lexi of the doctor who called it impossible.
Giving Lexi the Tools to Succeed
As Lexi prepared to enter kindergarten, her family grew concerned that she might fall behind her peers. Though advanced intellectually and socially, Lexi would be unable to write, type, or use a computer by traditonal means.
They turned to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare’s assistive technology team—where Lexi also receives orthopedic and pediatric rehabilitation medicine services—to custom-fit a special keyboard and mouse to Lexi’s powerchair that she can operate using her feet.
“Because of Gillette, Lexi has everything she needs to remain at the top of her class,” says Jamie. “She knows there’s nothing she can’t accomplish!”