February 11, 2005 was a cold, blustery day in Livingston, NJ, with 22 inches of snow on the ground. You would think that would keep any new baby from wanting to venture from its mother’s womb, but we aren’t talking about any ordinary baby. We are talking about Alexa Rose Veit! She arrived at 10:30 a.m., all 6 lbs 2 ounces of her, ready to take on the world…and that’s what she has done ever since.
She came to us as a gift from God with an extra little chromosome, which led to the diagnosis of Down Syndrome. It was a scary thing for our family, not knowing what to expect. Some kids with Down Syndrome never speak, walk, or do any of the “normal” things in life that other children do. But again, we are talking about Alexa! She started early intervention activities at 6 months old, had amazing therapists to learn and strengthen her petite little body all along the way, and hit all the “normal” milestones. We moved back to Kentucky in 2006, and she is now 14 years old, an eighth-grader at our Ballard County Middle School. If you ask anyone who knows her they’ll tell you she is a social butterfly, friendly, kind, and has more friends and loved ones than you could ever possibly imagine. She loves to read, listen to music, and laugh with her friends.
Earlier this summer, Alexa hadn’t been feeling well for a few weeks and collapsed in our kitchen the night of July 26th. She was evaluated and stabilized at Lourdes Hospital, then Life-Flighted to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville. On Monday, July 29th, Alexa was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We, as a family, were terrified, devastated, and along with a million other emotions, were bewildered with no idea what the future held. When I sat down with her and explained what Leukemia was, what treatment would be like, losing her hair to chemo, etc., she understood right away and took a very matter-of-fact attitude, saying, “Well, I have Leukemia and will be bald.” That is the essence of this brave young lady. She may not understand all the details, but she knows what is happening around her and why we have started this Journey of Treatment. And FIGHT is what this heroic girl has done! God blessed her body with remission only 30 days after her diagnosis on August 27th. PRAISE GOD! We transferred to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville to be closer to home where they followed the same treatment path as was used in Louisville which focuses on High-Risk Down Syndrome for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia God has brought Alexa through this, and will sustain her and our family, as He is where our faith lies.
Written by Kim Veit, mother of Alexa
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