Alexis "Lex" Foster-Kraus is 29 years old. She was born with both hips and a knee dislocated, pulmonary stenosis, and bilateral renal hypoplasia. At 3 months old Lex underwent heart surgery to fix the narrowed valve in her tiny heart; the surgery was a great success. At a year and a half old, she had surgeries on both hips to refit the ball into the socket and was in a body cast and traction for 6 months; she finally learned to walk at around 2 and a half years old. Everything was going pretty well for the toddler until she hit her 2nd birthday and the doctors noticed she wasn't growing. She weighed just 12 lbs at 2 years old. The doctors started testing everything right away and it wasn't long before they found her kidneys were deformed and highly underdeveloped.
When Lex was 7 years old her Nephrologists in Ann Arbor, MI said it was time, she either needed to start dialysis or have a kidney transplant. A few of the people in her family were tested to see if they could donate to her and there were two people that came up a match; her mother and maternal grandfather. Just a few weeks before the transplant from her grandfather was set to happen, it was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. So, in October of 1996, Lex received a new kidney from her mother. It was a beautiful gift, indeed.
The almost 10 years the transplanted kidney lasted was not easy. There were a few bouts of rejection, many, many hospital stays, lots of medications with nasty side effects, tons of missed school and missed opportunities, but Lex persevered. Eventually, the transplanted kidney failed for good when she was in her Junior year of high school and she started hemodialysis in May of 2005. Despite her failing health, Lex went on to graduate high school and even took some college courses, earning her certification in Phlebotomy at SMC in 2007, the year after HS graduation.
She had been on hemodialysis for 5 years when she finally got the call that there was a kidney available to her up in Ann Arbor at University of Michigan Hospital. The transplant went smoothly, the kidney being from an anonymous deceased donor. But due to Lex's high antibody count (and the co stand stress of being in an extremely physical, mental, emotional, and sexually abusive relationship at the time,), the transplanted kidney lasted a mere 9 months before it failed completely.
As of today, Lex has been on hemodialysis for a total of 13 years and counting, most of the time while maintaining a 40hr a week job at the hospital, working as a Phlebotomist. Sadly, she has exhausted all of the potential areas for new dialysis accesses; including both arms and legs, chest and neck. Most recently the graft in her left thigh has failed and the surgeons saw no reason to try and save it as her veins/arteries are just too small to sustain an access. With this new information, the doctors have advised Lex to seek out another living donor transplant and have given her anywhere from one to six years to live, without transplantation.
But because of her high antibody levels and rare blood type (O negative) it is going to be difficult to find her a living donor match. The money raised through this fund raiser will go toward transportation, food and lodge back and forth to U of M in Ann Arbor, MI while Lex undergoes desensetization treatments to lower her antibody count in hopes of finding a new donor kidney faster. These weekly treatments can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending. And as Ann Arbor is about 2.5-3 hours from Lex's house, it is considered an all day trip there and back.
We are currently shooting for $10,000 to cover up to 2 years of back and forth trips, but any little bit helps. Lex has been under the knife countless times throughout her life and would be so appreciative of anyone who helps to make this burden a little more bearable. Thank you.
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