Alexis Anderson Medical Fundraiser
PRAYERS and DONATIONS NEEDED NOW!!!
For many of us, we woke up and today was another day, a Friday. We showered, enjoyed breakfast, checked the weather and got ready.
For the Anderson family, today was much different. This morning they faced an unimaginable reality. In the words of Todd Anderson as shared on Facebook…
“Prayer warriors needed. Please pray for ALEXIS. She is currently in the ER. We found her this morning without a pulse and not breathing. Did CPR until the paramedics arrived. They revived her and she currently is in the ER with a very weak heartbeat and unconscious. We can't take any phone calls right now. We're just asking for prayer. We believe it is God's divine intervention that we found her when we did.”
The Anderson are a prayerful; God loving family. Lexi is a beautiful, spirited young girl with a heart for God who loves to dance. Unfortunately, Lexi became ill with a rare heart condition that has quickly progressed to her being put on the heart transplant list. While waiting she has been living a very modified lifestyle and is now fighting for her life.
Those who know the Anderson family, know that in a heartbeat they will stop and pray for you even in your smallest trial. They would never ask for help but would selflessly help others while fighting their own battle. This is beautiful example of having unshakable faith.
This process is a huge growing financial burden. Please help by donating any amount, it all adds up. If you are unable to donate please still pray for Lexi and her family.
If you would like, you may also drop off your prayer and donations to Agape Fitness and 100% will be given to the family.
We will continue to post updates as we receive them. Please feel free to leave a prayer and encouraging message.
"LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me" Psalm 30:2
Here is a note from one of Lexi's friends...
How do I even start, I've been blessed to have known Lexi since kindergarten! I have always enjoyed being around her and her endless smile. She literally always has a genuine smile on her face and it is contagious! You would have never known by her great attitude that she was going through something so serious. Her faith in God is obvious, and she has always been super sweet. Another reason I feel blessed to know Lexi is because she always makes me feel included and can make me laugh. I'm praying for a quick recovery for this wonderful friend and for comfort for all her family and friends! You are so loved Lexi!!
HAPPY 1-YEAR HEART DAY
Adults recalling their youth will remember with fondness the childish excitement of an upcoming birthday. As children, when asked our age, we would always respond with great precision, declaring, “I’m 8-and-a-half,” or “I’m 10-and-three-quarters.” We marked the days until our next birthday, eagerly entertaining thoughts of presents, celebration, and the privilege of declaring an upgraded rank, enjoying the newfound prestige that an elevated age would bring. If I had known that someone could have TWO birthdays, I would have gladly (and blindly) signed up! However, the true cost of this second birthday is something no rational person would ever voluntarily sign up for.
In a sense, Lexi has two birthdays, separated by only two weeks. Her first birthday was on February 19th. Her second is now celebrated on March 6th. It’s her “Heart Day.” This is the day that God granted Lexi a second chance at life by gifting her with a new heart. One year ago, on the evening of March 5th, when Lexi’s heart transplant procedure began, I could not have conceived of how far Lexi would be one year later.
We are awed by the grace God has shown Lexi and our family in the progress Lexi has made in a year. Despite the trauma to Lexi’s entire body...despite extensive rehabilitation therapy...and despite losing several months of school, Lexi was able to get caught up and re-join her classmates for her junior year of high school. She is currently preparing to take the SAT. In fact, I recently learned that she decided to use some of her birthday money to purchase flash cards in preparation for this important test. Lexi also improves physically each day. She has always been head-strong, yet she still surprised us recently by choosing to spend a couple weeks practicing with the track team and trying to conquer the hurdles. She later decided that she was tired of falling down and skinning her knees, so she no longer participates in these practices. However, we are proud of her for her effort.
Nearly a year ago, a few days after Alexis woke up from her medically-induced coma, I explained to her some of the drama that she went through for the month she struggled to stay alive in the pediatric cardiac ICU. I remember with clarity Lexi’s response to all of this. She feebly stated, “Wow. That’s a lot of work. Why didn’t they just let me die?” I was dumbfounded. “Because life is a gift,” I responded. “Life is precious, and it is to be protected at all cost. Your life is precious. We would have done anything possible to keep you alive.”
We often forget the value of God-given life! Lexi’s new heart has now beat nearly 50 million times. Each beat of Lexi’s heart is a gift from God. Yet, it’s not just her heartbeat that is a gift. Each of us can declare, “Thank you, God!” for every beat of our own heart. The average adult experiences roughly 30-60 million heartbeats in a year (these are my own calculations). Do we appreciate each one? I will never again take for granted the miracle of a heartbeat. That “beating” sound…the noise of the heart valves opening and closing, is carefully governed by a sophisticated electrical system that times the opening and closing of each valve perfectly. As our heart (a muscle the size of a closed fist) pumps with great regularity, it is responsible for delivering life to our entire body through a complex circulatory system. It is perfectly engineered to keep every body part alive and functioning! God has truly given me a new appreciation for life…and for the lives of those I love!
Just as God has given Lexi a new life, God has offered new life to all who believe in and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Most of us will never have to undergo the life-saving measures that Lexi did. However, in a spiritual sense, we all are in desperate need of a new birth. 1 Peter 1:3 states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” It is this new spiritual life that has caused Irene and I to have hope beyond what we could generate on our own. It is our prayer that you will experience this same re-birth and this same hope that we enjoy!
We look forward to another year…
1. Continue to pray for Lexi’s health. So far every heart catheter, angiogram, biopsy, etc. has been favorable. She just had another one in February, and we were thankful for the results. Pray that her body continues to respond well to the anti-rejection medication.
2. I often think about the family of the donor. This anniversary is a time of joy and celebration for us. However, for this anonymous family the anniversary is a painful reminder of the loss of someone they loved. Please keep them in prayer as I know this time must be especially difficult for them.
In Western culture, anniversaries are both anticipated and dreaded. As we memorialize special events in our lives, our minds elevate and revere the annual date of those events. An anniversary can truly be a time for great celebration, but it can also be a weighty emotional albatross of great sorrow. Birthdays are exciting times for children; happy couples celebrate wedding anniversaries; class reunions bring back fond memories for lifelong friends. However, other anniversaries attack the pit of one’s stomach with pain that words cannot articulate. The anniversary of one’s death, the birthday of a loved one who has passed on, the anniversary of a tragedy…all these are anniversaries marking things that can no longer be celebrated and enjoyed.
Today is an anniversary for us. It is a strange anniversary, because for us it is one that is marked by horrible memories, and yet it is also punctuated by unspeakable joy. In fact, Lexi’s story actually has two anniversaries…the day her heart stopped (February 3rd), and the day she received a new heart (March 6th). It is because of this second anniversary that we can celebrate this first anniversary with joy.
Each of us deals with these pivotal moments in different ways. In the days leading up to today, I have eagerly anticipated being able to celebrate one additional year of life for Lexi. However, there is also an irrational fear that I have also had to hold back. It is a fear that I will come into her room and find her not breathing again. In fact, each night I check on Lexi to make sure she is still okay, and I know Irene does the same. God is good, and He has constantly reminded us that He is in control…not us.
IRONICALLY, this morning at about 5:33 a.m., our house alarm mysteriously went off (we think one of our windows has a bad sensor). Later, I realized that this was the approximate time that Lexi’s heart stopped on 2-3-2017. We know her heart stopped sometime between 5:30 a.m. and 5:50 a.m. Perhaps this morning alarm was God’s reminder of what He has brought us through. Perhaps it was the marking of the anniversary of one of the miracles God provided for Lexi.
Anniversaries give us opportunity to pause and reflect. This morning, in my “reflection” time, I read Psalm 126. We can repeat verse 3 with gladness, knowing the goodness of the Lord. Verse 3 states, “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad.”
This is a Psalm of Ascent, which would be sung by Jews traveling “up” to Jerusalem for one of their annual Jewish festivals. It offers a reminder of the things that God has done. This particular psalm was most likely written at the time of the return from Babylonian captivity and at the restoration of Jerusalem. Here is the NIV version of the entire chapter:
Psalm 126:1-6 “When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. (2) Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ (3) The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. (4) Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev. (5) Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. (6) Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
It is hard to imagine the joy of those who returned from captivity in Babylon. In no way is our personal story on the same level with the historical account of what is referenced here. However, I cannot help but rejoice in the fact that God has brought our family out of our own time of bondage and fear during the month of February, and He has now returned to us the “fortunes” of our intact family.
Verses 5-6 are a reminder that times of darkness often improve our faith, forcing our reliance upon God, and helping us better understand the meaning of joy. We have sown with tears and we have also reaped with songs of joy. Great things He has done!
Today, Lexi is doing very well. As each month passes, she regains more of the capabilities she once held. Please continue to pray for her, as much of her recovery is not physical. She has been on a journey, and the sudden change in her own life is a difficult one to adjust to. We are amazed at the strength of this young lady, and we thank God for giving her a fighting spirit.
Looking forward to another year…
“We want you to live your life. That’s our goal.” These words, spoken by Lexi’s cardiologist two months ago, synopsize the focus of our family right now. Live life. In order to successfully accomplish this, we must continue to move forward. Acknowledging the things behind, we push on into the future.
For many, it can be difficult to press forward…especially when the past is riddled with pain and trauma. For some, unspeakable events have occurred in these past two months…either at the hands of man or through natural disaster. Hurricanes, earthquakes, mass shootings...all are unexpected, and each event obliterates one’s preconceived plans for the future. The trauma and emotions of such events can immobilize us. How do families press forward? The task is virtually impossible without God.
In Philippians 3:13-14, the Apostle Paul states, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” This verse, reminding the Christian of his ultimate goal and prize, also gives great instructions on what to do with the past. While “forgetting” the past, we simultaneously move forward!
In this verse, the Greek word for “forgetting” (epilanthanomai) means to “neglect,” or to “no longer care for.” Although we cannot change the events of the past, we can change the effect they have on us. This includes both positive AND negative events.
The negative things we should leave behind include past failures and past sins. If we have truly repented, confessed, and forsaken our sins, then, according to 1 John 1:9, God has forgiven and forgotten them. We should always remember the lessons God has taught us through our failures. However, by “living” in the remembrance of them, we condemn ourselves to repeat them. We should also leave behind past tragedies and unpleasant experiences. Dwelling on such things cannot change anything; instead it forces us to keep reliving the experiences, leading to resentment and further mental, emotional, and even physical harm. (Today it was reported to us that there was an ambulance in front of the high school. Immediately we scurried to contact the kids and make sure everything was okay with Lexi. Remembrances of the past will naturally impact our responses to things. However, they don’t have to define us.) We also often need to learn to get over past wrongs done to us. By ditching past grudges and learning to have a forgiving heart, we are released of the power such experiences have over our health and wellbeing.
I believe it’s also important to “forget” past successes and victories. This may sound strange. Although it IS important remember such things with gratitude and thanksgiving, we cannot “rest” in them. Doing so leads to a false sense of pride and complacency. (I am reminded of “Uncle Rico” in Napoleon Dynamite, who lived in a constant delusional state of memory over his high school football stardom.) We don't quit once we experience victory. We continue pressing forward! The first time Lexi took a few steps on her own after receiving her new heart was a momentous occasion. We celebrated this tremendous victory! However, Lexi was not content to stop there. She needed to “press on,” and continue to learn to do more things by herself. Today, she is attending school full time. It’s easy to illustrate this using our daughter as a physical example. However, applying it to our own lives in different circumstances can be a challenge!
EVENTS OF THE LAST 2 MONTHS
1. BIOPSY RESULTS.
In early September, Lexi went in for another heart catheter and biopsy. The good news is that her heart pressures and “plumbing” looked great! However, the results of the biopsy did show some things to keep an eye on. The biopsy showed the appearance of interstitial lymphocytic infiltrate. Basically, these lymphocytes appear in instances of organ rejection. However, their appearance does not necessarily mean that rejection is taking place. The biopsy showed no signs of myocyte (muscle) damage, so at this point there is no reason to treat Lexi for rejection. However, they will need to keep a close eye on this. Instead of waiting six months for another biopsy, they will schedule one for three months (probably early December).
2. CHINO HILLS DAY AT THE FAIR
Lexi was honored as the Chino Hills Community Hero at the LA County Fair on September 22nd (there was one adult “hero” and one youth “hero”). This was a fun event, and our family got to ride on a float in the parade.
Lexi is doing well in school. Certain subjects have been a challenge for her, due to challenges with her memory (her brain suffered anoxia for prolonged periods of time when her heart stopped). However, we are extremely proud of her because of the effort she is putting forward. The other night when I went to check on her, she was in bed working on math problems. I asked her how much homework she still had. She responded, “This isn’t homework. I’m just practicing.” If Lexi gets a “C” in a subject after putting in tremendous effort, I will be far prouder of her than if she were to get an “A” without even trying.
4. HOMECOMING DANCE
Lexi went to this year’s Homecoming Dance with a group of girl friends. She has come a long way from her days in the wheelchair!
5. CHARMING CHARLIE FUNDRAISER
We want to thank everyone who came out to support the fundraiser that Irene did for Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. This fundraiser took place at three separate Charming Charlie locations. The location that Irene was at (Chino Hills) had nearly 100 customers who turned in flyers, allowing a portion of their purchase to go to LLUCH.
As many know, I have been in full-time ministry for the past 20 years. However, I have had to take on a second job, and lately I’ve been in prayer over what to do about this job. The job requires me to work late into the night, often returning home after midnight. Since Lexi has returned from the hospital, we realize that this work schedule is not conducive to the changes that have taken place in our family. Therefore, last Friday I reluctantly submitted my resignation. We are taking a step of faith in this. In the meantime, while I am working toward other employment options, I have decided to take on more portrait and product photography appointments. (Photography has been an extension of our family business, Kisacche Anderson Design.)
I have received numerous messages requesting that I write a book. Although the thought has been on my mind, I lack the time necessary to dedicate toward this endeavor. There are many aspects of Lexi’s story that have remained untold, and I think it would be good to include much of the untold story into this book. A few months ago a writer approached me and asked if I would consider allowing him to help me write the book. I have agreed to do so, and he has set himself to the task. We shall see how things turn out. I will certainly notify everyone once this has been completed.
Six months ago today, Lexi received a gift that we, along with thousands of people, had prayed for. She received a new heart. The last seven months have provided the greatest adventure our family has ever experienced. We think of “adventure” as great entertainment when we watch it on television. However, a real life adventure is terrifying until it is over. Although our story continues, the terror has subsided, and we can look back on the narrative of the last seven months and see God’s handiwork in it all.
Since the last time I reported on Lexi’s progress, she has continued to do well. A month ago we had some concerns about the condition of her kidneys. Although we continue to keep a close look at her hydration levels and her kidneys, her numbers have improved. She continues to be on medication to normalize her potassium levels, but the numbers are not as bad as they were several weeks ago.
BACK TO SCHOOL
“Back To School Day” is a significant part of any child’s year. This year, August 14th had a different level of significance. It was the first time Lexi had attended school since February 2nd. We are so thankful that, despite months in the hospital and away from school, Lexi will be able to graduate on time with her class. She has now entered her junior year, and college is only two years away!
Since returning to school, Lexi has been doing fairly well. Although she will have some challenges due to the amount of school she missed, her teachers appear to be optimistic about how she has been doing so far. Chino Hills High School has been very accommodating for Lexi’s needs, and her teachers, counselor, principal, and nurse have been very willing to work with her special circumstances.
For her extracurricular activities, Lexi is taking it slowly. She loves being a part of ASB this year. She is also very much looking forward to being able to dance again. (She has not started dancing again yet, but I think she is getting closer to being able to handle it physically.) Prior to February 3rd, Lexi had been learning to drive. Since she has returned from the hospital, I have taken her out driving once. She is a little apprehensive about it at this point, so we will take our time.
Physically, Lexi is doing very well. Although she gets tired easily, her strength has been improving tremendously. Her hand tremors have all but completely subsided. The 6-month mark is also when Lexi should be cleared for other freedoms, such as getting her ears pierced (her holes closed up while she was in the hospital) and resuming her orthodontic care.
On Friday, September 8th (two days from now), Lexi will have another heart catheter and biopsy. The purpose is to make sure that there are no signs of rejection, and that everything is progressing properly. Please pray that all goes well.
Earlier I referenced the idea of “adventure” and the terror that it evokes. The most terrifying part of our adventure was earlier this year. From February 3rd through March 5th, Lexi’s life was constantly in danger. Yet, there are countless stories of people who have gone through far worse. One of the greatest examples in the New Testament of a man who endured tremendous danger and numerous adventures was the Apostle Paul. In his own words, he recollects some of his challenges:
2 Corinthians 11:25-30 states, “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? IF I MUST BOAST, I WILL BOAST OF THE THINGS THAT SHOW MY WEAKNESS.”
Regardless of the challenges and “adventures” we face in life, we can take comfort in knowing that we are not expected to be superhuman. It is in our weaknesses, and in our inability to continue, that God often shows Himself strong. These occasions force us to realize our dependency on God. In the next chapter, Paul echoes this reality. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul recites God’s message to him, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”
This is a lesson that can only be learned through experience…and it takes a lifetime to learn…
1. Successful heart catheter and biopsy, with favorable results
2. Successful transition back into school environment
3. Ongoing work situation and scheduling for both Irene and myself
4. Continue to pray for Rylee Viramontes and her family. Updates can be found on her Facebook page, “LovingRylee”.
Todd and Irene, there are multitude of people coming before the Almighty God on behalf of Lexi and the Andersons. This morning I am confident that God has "the heart" for Lexi. We thank God for His perfect timing and His perfect plan for Lexi. We stand in the gap for Lexi and the Andersons. The tightrope maybe tight and the walk maybe tough but the Almighty God is even tighter and tougher!!!! We believe!!! Thank You Heavenly Father for Your goodness and faithfulness!!!! We love you much and support you all the way!!!!
Hello Todd and Irene i want to help but need your permission to do something sent you a message when you can call my office 626-956-4207 if you don't get me leave message i should call you back in minutes. Love you Lexi and so many are praying from my work all over the world. love you so much God is good ... All the Time. love from Ralph and Michelle
Prayers! I will donate some money soon!
So glad to seeLexi improve and become stronger day by day. Praying for her to be home soon.
Our Hope is Built on nothing less , than Jesus Blood and righteousness, We dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in Jesus ' name. On Christ the solid Rock we stand all other gound is sinking sand. When darkeness seems to veilhis face , I rest on his unchanging grace in every high and strmy gale my anchor holds within the veil. When He shall come with trumpet sound , Oh may i then in Him be found , Clothed in His righteousness alone Faultless to stand before His throne.
Glad to hear such wonderful news! Praying her recovery continues and praying for your family.
So glad to hear that Lexi got to feel the sunshine yesterday. Praying for good results from her test today and hope that she will be well enough to be released from the hospital in the near future. The nurses and care givers sound wonderful. Another blessing.
God Bless you, Lexi. Blessed Mother, angels and saints please pray to the Father that all goes well with Lexi's heart transplant. Amen.
Praying hard that the heart they found works for her!!
God is so good! I've been reading each and every update and am praying for Lexi - I'm so happy that they found a heart for her!! May God continue to bless your sweet girl ♥
Lexi is in my prayers. I'm Henna's aunt.
Happy belated 16th birthday dear Lexi. There is tremendous power in prayer, and we are all praying for you every day.
Today is also my sons birthday (13). His birthday wish is for Lexi to get a heart today. Happy birthday beautiful girl, we are praying for you!
Happy 16th birthday Lexi! Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
2/18/17 Thank you for the updates Todd, they mean a lot to all of us standing beside you and Irene and Lexi and her sweet sisters during this time. ."Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us" Yes, would love Lexi to get a heart for her sweet sixteen!!!! God is able.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. ROMANS 8:35-37