Love for Lexie

Love for Lexie

Lexie's family honour a promise they made to her - to celebrate her life every day. 

Lexie Adam is described as ‘a firecracker’ by her Trinity Catholic Primary School teacher, the child who would radiate a sense of vibrancy and enthusiasm wherever she was, a testament of Lexie’s love for life. 

On Wednesday 27 February 2019, Lexie sadly passed away from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, just four months after her shocking diagnosis. Lexie’s life continues to shine brightly in the memory of her family, her friends and her local community of Harden-Murrumburrah in South-West NSW and surrounds. 

Lexie was only 15 years old when she passed away from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of blood and bone marrow cancer which mainly affects the white blood cells. The disease can occur at any age, being more common in children and young adolescents.

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Shock cancer diagnosis

In October 2018, Lexie was transported by ambulance from Harden to Wagga Wagga Base Hospital with what her doctor presumed was pneumonia. The following day, fluid was drained from around Lexie’s left lung; Lexie and her mother, Donna, then flew by air ambulance to Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick. A scan revealed a mass as large as Lexie’s fist in her chest, also 70 percent of Lexie’s bone marrow was diseased with cancer.

“Doctors asked me many questions,” says Lexie’s mum, Donna. “Had Lexie been unwell?  Had she been excessively tired?  Had she been losing weight? Had she been bruising easily? Had she been lethargic or generally unwell?”  

“The answer was ‘no’ to all questions because Lexie was a normal teenage girl who exercised, played sport, ate well, hung out with her friends and had a healthy lifestyle,” says Donna.

The two-year journey forward was set out for Lexie; intensive protocols that involved surgeries, scans, x-rays, ultrasounds, bone marrow aspirates, lumbar punctures, daily blood tests, chemotherapy, anti-nausea and pain relief medications, injections, psychological therapies and regular assessments were to be part of hers and her family’s cancer journey.

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Home away from home

Lexie and Donna made Ronald McDonald House (Randwick) their home during Lexie’s treatment. During this period, Lexie was very welcoming of visitors, always giving her a much-needed boost and a snapshot of the life Lexie knew back in her hometown of Harden.  

Many friendships were made with families residing at Ronald McDonald House in similar situations. Lexie’s father, Greg, and her older siblings, Sandy and Coco, visited on weekends and the Adam family made Christmas extra special for Lexie by taking her to swim in the waves at nearby Coogee Beach. 

This Christmas the family was blessed with the news that Lexie’s cancer was in remission; the family were elated and were very grateful for all the hard work Lexie’s medical team and especially Lexie herself had done to work toward such a promising outcome.

During a clinic visit on 23 January 2019, Lexie’s blood results indicated that her white blood cells (WBC) and platelets were significantly low, too low for Lexie to receive chemotherapy. 

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Reconnecting

A decision was made to allow Lexie to return home to Harden with daily monitoring of her WBC and platelets in hope of an increase in levels for chemotherapy to recommence. Lexie (and Donna) were beaming with excitement that they were returning home, if only for a short time. 

Donna recalls, “We’d recently watched the movie Muriel’s Wedding together; when we were leaving Sydney to go home, we wound down the car windows like Muriel and her friend, Rhonda, had done at the end of the movie and shouted, ‘See ya Eastgardens!  See ya Randwick Racecourse! We are going home!’”

During the nine days back at home, Lexie and her sister Coco reconnected, and life together was as it was before Lexie’s diagnosis, like two peas in a pod. Friends came over and just hung out, fell asleep on the couch watching movies, ate hot chips and tomato sauce, doing what teenager girls do best; they had missed each other beyond words.

On the ninth day of Lexie’s return home, her WBC and platelets had increased to a level whereby chemotherapy could recommence. Donna and Lexie drove the four-hour trip into Sydney to head into clinic the following day, being 1 February 2019. After examination, Lexie’s Oncologist delivered the devastating news, “I think it’s back”. 

A more intensive treatment plan was prescribed, ultimately leading to a bone marrow transplant. Proudly, Lexie’s brother, Sandy, was a perfect match for Lexie’s transplant.

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Courage of a lion

Lexie’s family, friends, those that know her and the larger community hold Lexie very closely in their hearts, knowing how positive and courageous she has been during her horrendous life-changing cancer journey.

“I am so proud to be Lexie’s mum,” says Donna. “I promised Lexie we would celebrate her life every day and by sharing our journey with The Kids’ Cancer Project and the wider community, we are doing this.”

Donna and her family support The Kids’ Cancer Project Bear Program, which promotes the donation of bears to children in hospital. 

“I believe sick kids can express some of their own pain and fears by consoling a bear, giving it a cuddle, saying, ‘It’s ok teddy, I’m here for you’,” says Donna.

Donna has recently had a conversation with coordinator of The Kids’ Cancer Project Bear Program in relation to creating a new bear and she mentioned the idea of a lion.  

“It’s unfathomable how much these kids have to take on and endure; our beautiful Lexie is the bravest and most courageous person I know,” says Donna.

 

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Donna has created a ‘gold garden’ at the front of the family home in Harden and encourages others in the community to string some gold fairy lights or decorate their front garden with gold decorations acknowledging the hardships children and their families face during life-changing cancer journeys.

September is the month denoting Children’s Childhood Cancer Awareness and the colour gold signifies the preciousness and sparkle of life. Blessings, courage and love to all who are on their own cancer journey - from Lexie Elizabeth Adam’s family.

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