Alex’s story begins not with her, but with her sister Paige. When Paige was about two years old, her parents noticed that she had trouble standing in one place and she was always moving her feet.
They eventually took her to a local neurologist who then sent them to the Mayo Clinic and eventually diagnosed Paige with Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT). By the time all this information was discovered, Greg and Joni had had two more children. AT, a genetic disorder, has skipped middle daughter, Danielle, but Alex wasn’t that fortunate.
Both Paige and Alex came to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital to receive treatment for AT, a disease that is only found in 400 people in the US. Skip ahead several years to December 2006 when lumps were discovered on Alex’s neck. A lump was biopsied, which ultimately led to the diagnosis of t-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma. Alex came back to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital for Chemotherapy, which had to be modified from other types of chemotherapy due to her AT.
Alex continued to go through chemotherapy treatments every three weeks until January 2009 and will most likely be dealing with cancer the rest of her life. AT will eventually slow down Alex’s involuntary reactions, like swallowing, standing, blinking, eye movement and more.
2013 UPDATE FROM ALEX’S MOM JONI:
Alex continues to be cancer free and will be 16 years old on June 8th. She will be a Junior at Southeast Polk HS next year. She will always have the risk of developing cancer again as it is she has higher risk with the rare disorder Ataxia-Telangactasia that she was born with.