Hello friends! Please let me do the honors of introducing you to you my nephew, Dexter Hanley. Why should you get to know Dexter? Let's take a look back at the beginning. Dexter and his twin, Logan, just couldn't wait to get here, so they came 12 weeks earlier than expected on November 6, 2001! Born at only 28 weeks, Dexter weighed 2lbs 15oz and his brother only 3lbs. After only 6 weeks, Dexter became extremely sick and almost died with a bacterial infection. This resulted in multiple surgeries and the complete loss of his small intestines, leaving him to spend months on a breathing machine. Dexter was unable to absorb nutrients due to the loss of his small bowel and spent his first year of life in the hospital. He was then placed on a transplant waiting list. Dexter was finally allowed to go home October 2002 just 2 weeks shy of his 1st birthday.
After 4 months at home, we got the lifesaving call that he had received a match and after 15 months of having to live purely off IV supplements, Dexter finally got a transplant! Dexter then spent a year in Omaha, Nebraska (one of only four facilities that perform small bowel transplants) recovering from multiple surgeries, getting familiar with his ostomy bag, and learning to chew and swallow food (since he was never able to have food). Dexter also had to have intense physical therapy due to being restricted and stuck on a ventilator in a hospital bed for so many months (he wasn't able to walk until he was almost 3 years old).
Finally after spending over two years in a hospital Dexter was able to come home and stay home with his family. Of course life after a transplant has its own set of challenges... Dexter was now on an immune suppressant drug to lower his immune system so his own body would not attack his newly transplanted bowel. This made Dexter very susceptible to germs and infections. Also Dexter still had physical limitations due to his feeding tube. He eventually started to eat enough on his own that he was able to remove his feeding tube and life slowly but surely became normal again. He was on his way to being a kid with only his checkups and blood tests and a few other hospital stays. Dexter finally got to spend his time playing with his twin Logan, his sister Reece (14), and his youngest brother Marshall (10).
May 2017 : This sweet boy, on top of everything he has already had to go through, was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. Dexter had been feeling sick which resulted in a ER visit where they incidentally found a large mass between his pancreas and liver. After a few procedures to collect samples of the mass, the results of the mass were found inconclusive.
The doctors ultimately decided to remove the tumor surgically and hope the type of cancer he had would not have to be treated with chemo since Dexter already has a weak immune system. After a long 6 hour case, they removed his tumor on 7-11-17 and sent it off to the pathologist to be tested. Unfortunately we received heartbreaking news that the type of cancer Dexter has is much more aggressive than we initially thought and chemotherapy treatments have to start immediately. While doctors say this type of cancer is curable, it's going to be a rough journey to get there. Especially for Dexter being a transplant recipient and having a compromised immune system. Meanwhile, Dexter is already having a hard time still recovering from his major abdominal surgery.
St. Clair High School J.R.O.T.C.
So back to my original question...Why should you get to know Dexter? Dexter is the sweetest, most resilient, strongest, funniest, bravest, coolest kid I know, and he needs your help. As many people know, health and financial issues go hand in hand… Both Dexter’s parents (Shelene & Todd, Shelene being my sister) have been missing abundant amounts of work to be able to care for Dexter. On top of all of that, several test had to be done in Omaha Nebraska before they were able to transfer back home. Everything that was done in Nebraska was not covered by their insurance. My goal is to try and ease some worry for Todd and Shelene during this process, which is seemingly impossible in this sort of situation. I’m raising money to try and help make even a dent in the medical bills they will face in the coming months. No donation is too small, and every penny makes a difference. I know that not everyone is in a position to help financially, so I ask that if you can't donate, please keep Dexter, the Hanley’s’, and our entire family in your thoughts and prayers as we go through this hard time together.
If your interested in following Dexter on his journey to kick cancers butt, please feel free to "like" the link below.
- Barbara Schmidt
- Ann Peters Gamlin
- Tori Childers
- Bill and Mary Havin
- Nancy Wells