Her infectious smile and sparkly eyes light up the room as she dances around, seemingly without a care in the world.
Looking at the 9-year-old, you would never guess that she has endured a battle no child should ever have to experience.
Diagnosed with Wilms tumor in May of 2014, Alexis has had to fight cancer not once, but twice, after it spread to her left lung in March 2016. But it’s clear that the relapse didn’t crush her spirit: “I just tell myself to keep smiling and keep a positive outlook.” Everyone who watches her spin and twirl on the 6 North pediatric unit is filled with that same optimistic attitude as they discuss Alexis’ big night. On Friday, December 9, Alexis will bring her energetic spirit to the Roswell Park Tree of Hope celebration as the 2016 Tree Lighter.
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There are many reasons why she is a perfect fit for the job. “Alexis is the most kind child you will ever meet,” says mom, Kristin. “No matter what she’s going through she just wants to give back to other people, even though she’s feeling sick.”
Kind is an understatement for the compassion Alexis displays to all those she meets. She made a special trip back to Roswell Park in October to deliver plastic pumpkins to pediatric inpatients so they could decorate them for the holiday. She’s also gathering stuffed animals to donate to Toys for Tots and volunteering as a Bald for Bucks Survivor Squad member.
However, when asked what she’s most proud of, Alexis’ immediate answer has nothing to do with her generosity. “I’m most proud of having a wonderful, huge family. They helped me through everything. My whole community of Jamestown has done a lot for me, too.” Today, Alexis looks strong and vivacious as she shares the news that her tumor has shrunk to the size of a mere pen tip.
See Alexis’ smile for yourself as she presses the magical button that will ignite 75,000 lights dancing to music at this Friday’s Tree of Hope celebration.