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 Alexa Kelly Aigner

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Alexa Kelly Aigner

At first glance, she looked like most young girls. Her favorite things were dancing, singing, dressing up like princesses and ponies but Alexa had something else most other girls don't. She had cancer too. Alexa was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma on December 12, 2005, when she was almost two. She received protocol chemotherapy treatment at the Children's Medical Center of Dallas until May of 2006 when it was determined that her cancer was not responding. In July her parents took her to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to take part in a Phase II clinical study involving an intense radiation therapy, called MIBG, and a bone marrow transplant to try to save her life. Sadly it did not work, and the cancer had spread. She was not expected to live past the end of the year.

Alexa was brought back home to Texas and put on hospice care. Several months later she was not only still alive, she was still feeling well. The cancer was spreading very slowly and allowing for a close to normal life for little Alexa. She was taken off hospice care and took part in a Phase II clinical study involving humanized anti-bodies. Alexa had a major allergic reaction to the medicine and was unable to continue the treatment. Her parents decided to take her to Philadelphia once more for another MIBG therapy in hopes to continue to slow the disease progression. That therapy in conjunction with a third Phase II study drug called ABT-751 worked to stabilize the disease. Although her cancer had stopped spreading, Alexa's immune system continued to be fragile. But for an entire year Alexa lived as close to a normal life as possible. She was in gymnastics, went to pre school, played with her brother, made friends, and rode as many carousels as she could.

In June of 2008, her weakened immune system allowed an unidentifiable infection to grow in her lungs and within a matter of two weeks went from looking and feeling relatively healthy at home to the ICU at Children's with septic shock and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

Alexa passed away on June 25, 2008 cradled in the arms of her mother and father. She had endured several surgeries, ten rounds of chemo-therapy (the first of which caused severe hearing loss), two radiation therapies, a bone marrow transplant, two clinical trials, many radiological scans and numerous transfusions. All with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.

Throughout Alexa's battle with cancer, her parents worked hard to give her the best quality of life they could offer. Alexa was seen in princess dresses everywhere she went and quickly became known as "Princess Alexa". When she was able, Alexa was encouraged to play as much as she wanted. Playgrounds and carousels were a special part of healing for little Alexa. The last week she was alive, Alexa dictated a list for her mother of all the things she wanted to do when she got better. Number one was "Go to a pink park" and number two was "Get a pink dress". It was only fitting to start a foundation in her memory that would carry on her greatest loves: dress up and play.


If love could have kept you here, you would never have gone.