I am a snow guy, but I accept that we have turned the corner and need to focus on the Spring season. There were many people that requested Faith in the Flowers shirts to follow the Flakes, but I was not so sure. That is, until I met Lexi Hack. In fact, I met her mother Jill Hack at Dunloggin Middle School, a faculty member at one of the schools I delivered ‘snow shirts’ to this winter. Jill told me about her 16 year old daughter having surgery this April to complete a series of procedures to fix her legs. It was something that started two years ago. As fate would have it, I had an instant connection.
I had my own issues almost losing my left leg when I was 14, but recovered and returned to playing sports. This is the reason behind my work with Cool Kids Campaign and my Trek Across Maryland the past two summers. Some of my story I get to share with students during my assemblies. It’s an ongoing effort to raise awareness as well as fundraising. In six years these programs have combined for over $165,000 for CKC. I want that success to spread and serve more good causes…
Lexi asked me recently if she could sell ‘Flakes’ shirts to raise money for the program that helped her: Save a Limb Fund. I wanted to help, but I didn’t think more snow shirts would sell this time of year. I have #FITF as much as anyone, but let’s get real. We’ve had late season storms, but the mindset has shifted to the growing season. ‘Flowers’ however seemed like a perfect fit. I figured, flowers grow back each year, limbs don’t. We should save what we have. So I contacted Lauren Townsend who is the AWESOME artist that made the FITF design and really good friend. She is also a mom with a little girl, and you can only imagine her heart gushing and her jumping at the chance to help. She followed up on her ‘Flakes’ design and I asked many teachers at my school visits for their thoughts along the way. This is what grew out of that idea. Lexi is wearing the first one 🙂
Below is Lexi’s story in her own words. I hope you take a moment to read it and I am sure you will want to cheer her on as well. If you want to be part of this great cause, here’s how:
We have three shirt styles and an eco friendly tote bag available. Each one will come with a blue bracelet that says “Faith in the Flowers – Save A Limb Fund” in gold letters. It will just be another day until we get them so I can add a sample photo of it.
We limited the shirt choices to speed up the printing and delivery process. FITF was a high success, but some had to wait a long time due to demand. Our goal is to keep the time down to two weeks. This is for Lexi to pay it forward and help someone else. On April 12, she will have her final surgery. Within another two weeks she will return to high school in Glenelg where many of her friends will greet her with their FITFlowers shirts. Soon after she will hopefully join her friends playing sports again as well.
You can view the online store here, or see the link at the bottom of this post.
Lexi Hack’s Story In Her Own Words:
Hi. My name is Lexi. I’m 16 years old now and about to go through my 5th, and hopefully last, surgery for the correction of the alignment of my legs.
As a baby and toddler, I sat and crawled in a “W” position with my legs behind me. My parents noticed something was not right with my legs when I was about 2 years old. They told me how they took me to 2 doctors in Florida, where I was born, and 2 doctors in Maryland, where we moved when I was about 4, and all the doctors said I was fine, I’d grow out of it, and there was nothing to do as it was normal for kids under 8 to be a little “bow legged.” I would complain that I had a lot of knee pain, my back would hurt, and I couldn’t run like the other kids. I moved in an awkward manner.
I was seen by another doctor around the time I was 8. She said I did have knee problems and did surgery on both knees. This did not fix the pain, help me walk straight or run while playing sports. I went through physical therapy, acupuncture, more therapy, and even more therapy. Nothing ever helped the pain or the alignment.
As I entered middle school and then high school I found I no longer could play my favorite sport, field hockey, as I would trip because my knees would hit each other. I looked jerky trying to run and I was in constant pain.
I was sent to another knee doctor who said “give up field hockey. You’ll never be able to play.” I was devastated. I bawled my eyes out in his office. He just walked out and that was that.
Then, through a friend of my mom’s, we found Dr. John Herzenberg at Sinai Hospital. He told me he could make me have straight legs!!! My pain would diminish considerably if not 100%. My hope for a new life was about to begin.
He needed me to have a special study done before he would do the surgery. This is standard practice because he needs to know the exact alignment of my bones. How would he know where to correct them if he didn’t have measurements from the outside? The cost for the study was more than my family could afford. Insurance doesn’t pay for it at all so we didn’t know what to do.
Dr. Herzenberg found a way to help. The Save-A-Limb fund. This fund is connected to The Rubin Institute of Advanced Orthopedics at Sinai Hospital. The Save-A-Limb Fund supports children and adults who have complex limb and joint disorders by saving their limbs, preserving their joints and enhancing the quality of their lives. It’s a fund designed to help people who do not have the financial resources to handle expenses that are not covered by insurance. It helps with testing, walkers, prosthetics, research, and so much more. WE WERE ECSTATIC!!
In October of 2014, I had my 1st leg corrected. 2 days of anticipation had built up. Dr. H and his associate, Renee Hunter, came in to remove my bandages and check my incisions. They asked me to sit up a bit and look at my leg. I was unsure about doing this. What would I see? Would it be gross looking? I sat up. I look at MY STRAIGHT LEG, a bit swollen but who cared, and cried tears of joy. I have a straight leg!!! I have a straight leg!!!!!! Mom, Dad, look, my leg is straight!!
We all cried. It was a happy day!
In July of 2015 I had the other leg done. I had 2 straight legs! Another day to rejoice!
Now it’s time to get all the hardware out of my legs. Third surgery for this procedure and 5th total! Time for the rods and screws to be removed. Only 1 more thing to do after I heal. I will need to learn how to run. I don’t know when the last time was that I actually ran. I don’t think I’ve ever really run. I kinda trotted, but I never ran like a champion. I will now!
I hope you will continue to follow me in my quest to play field hockey in college, run with my dog, Jax, race my brother (he’s speedy quick but that’s ok) down the yard, and just be well rounded, happy, and a healthy normal kid.
Please consider supporting my efforts. A Faith in the Flowers shirt and bracelet will help raise more for Save A Limb fund so we can help another person, young or old, have a new life too!
*Lexi plans to do the Color Run again this May on her path to final recovery.
Support Lexi And Save A Limb Fund
Faith in the Flowers: Because flowers grow back, but limbs don’t. So we need to save what we have. Click the image below to order
See more about Save A Limb Fund at Sinai Hospital
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