Monday, December 7, 2015

"We could have just sat there and cried, but we didn't"

In California lives a little girl, 12 years old, who has cancer. Lexi Brown is her name, and she is fighting as strongly as any little saint you ever heard of.  She speaks on cancer at schools, and she helped make a Make A Wish ice cream flavor and ran a St. Baldrick's fundraiser that brought in over $34,000 together.

She is not giving in without a fight, bless her heart.  

Now, as it happens, her chemotherapy to combat tumors in her lungs turned her hair and eyebrows white, which signalled other problems.

The doctors said Lexi's heart was working at 15%, and it was off to Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA for the brave young lady. Her mom, Lisa, and stepfather, Jon, were there too in Lexi's room at the hospital, which faced Fraternity Row at the U of California Los Angeles campus.  Just to get a smile and see what would happen, Lexi and her mom made up a sign that said SEND PIZZA.

Here's the part that reminds me that things are still the way we think they only USED to be.  A member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon house saw the sign and got busy.  

"Five guys come in, and they had a guitar and dozen roses and
a box of pizza," Lisa said. "They introduced themselves and
said, 'We saw your sign; we're here.' They stayed for a half an
hour, they sang this song and I started bawling my head off. I'm
like,'I can't believe these people are here for my child.'"

Lisa pointed out that the frat guys were 18 to 24 years of age, they didn't know the family of the sick girl, and,"... it's just ridiculous."

When the guys found out that Lexi is into soccer, they got a guy from the soccer team to come over and spend time with her. UCLA's quarterback, Josh Rosen, dropped in with passes for a game when she left the hospital.   

And the college people kept on coming.  The men and women from the rowing team, the swim team and the tennis team came over, along with Campus Christian Ministry and some sorority women.

But even beyond the initial visit, after you might think the novelty of visiting the ailing young lady would have worn off...they kept coming to see her. 

"When the brothers got back from visiting Lexi, you could see
that they were all glowing, knowing that they had done
something good for the community," said SAE chapter president
Kevin Autran.

Lisa and Lexi
"It was contagious. And brothers stepped up to go visit her essentially every day. Some just stopped by to give her a little gift like a shirt or a teddy bear, and some stayed for hours to hang out with her."

And the hospital looked the other way when the guys took to hanging around until midnight, keeping Lexi company. And wouldn't you know, they loved to play a card game with her, a game called "Speed" - and she won every game. 
Lexi's hospital view

The SAE house always gets decorated with tons of lights for the holidays.  So one night, they lit her name on the roof facing her room with yellow light spelling out her name.

And then...when they found out her favorite color is purple...they changed the bulbs and they now say LEXI in that color. With a beating red heart above that.

The lights are still on at the frat house, while Lexi is back home in Santa Maria, California, continuing the fight.  Autran said the lights will stay up for her. 

"We're going through hell right now," Lisa said. "But we don't treat Lexi any different than we do our 14­ year ­old son, or these boys. It has just been a joy in a time when we could have just sat there and cried, but we didn't. I can't even tell you."

"I never knew that so many young adults had it in them."

I found this story over the past weekend, when it seemed like, for the umpteenth time in the past few years, the world was going to hell in a very fast handbasket.  I am really glad that I did.

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