By Michael Armijo
Chino – A 16-year old sophomore cheerleader at Chino Hills High School underwent a heart transplant last Sunday after a month of hospitalization after her condition took a turn for the worse.
Lexi Anderson, who lives in Chino, has been waiting for her new heart, is at Loma Linda Medical Center recovering from surgery.
“The most important thing is our daughter’s alive,” Lexi’s father Todd Anderson told CBS2 Sunday night.
“We are feeling overjoyed, this is a day that’s been long coming,” he added.
Her health battle received a great deal of attention last month when her classmate, Lamello Ball, scored 92 points in a Chino Hills High School basketball game Feb. 7, and dedicated his performance to her.
The surgery, which lasted 12 hours, was considered a success after the family was informed Sunday afternoon that a heart donor match had been found. She went into surgery at 9 pm Sunday night and came out Monday morning at 11 am.
“March 6th will forever be an important date in the life of our family, and in the life of Alexis. It has been a good day, and for the first time in over a month we have more certainty of a future life with Alexis,” father Todd Anderson wrote on the GoFundMe online fundraising page, set up to help with medical costs. Agape Miracles Org posted Anderson’s comments on his behalf.
Todd Anderson’s posted that Lexi’s new heart began beating after the surgery, but there were some complications with bleeding. Surgeons kept her in the operating room for an additional six hours to manage the blood loss. For now, Lexi is being given her blood transfusions to deal with the loss.
The donor match came as she had a difficult Saturday and had to be shocked seven times over the course of the day, Todd Anderson wrote.
According to a Facebook post from her father, Todd Anderson first discovered his daughter not breathing Feb. 3. Her parents performed CPR until paramedics could take over. She was revived and rushed to the emergency room with a rare heart condition that put her on the transplant list.
An ECMO machine, which pumps and oxygenates a patient’s blood, kept Lexi alive while the family waited. She had emergency surgery Feb. 7, right before Chino Hills basketball player Ball scored 92 points in a game against Los Osos High, sparking lively debate online and sports talk shows about the all-offense showing. Afterward, the sophomore and UCLA commit said he dedicated the game to Lexi, according to local reports. “92 points #love4lexi,” Ball tweeted.
Doctors planned to lessen Lexi’s reliance on a breathing tube Tuesday, which will mark the beginning to a long recovery process, Todd Anderson wrote. He also noted that she’s been in ICU for over a month and will face physical therapy and rehabilitation.
As of Thursday afternoon, the GoFundMe page has brought in more than $77,774 for the family to assist in their medical costs. According to the GoFundMe account, the family is trying to raise $500,000 to cover medical bills.
“Since the moment it first started beating at 3:50 am on Monday, March 6th, Lexi’s new heart has beat approximately 440,640 times.,” wrote Anderson on Lexi’s Facebook account. “We are thankful for each and every contraction.”
“Another momentous thing happened today. Lexi sat up! She had her first dose of physical therapy today, and the main objective for today was to sit Lexi upright. This was done with assistance from the physical therapist, and Lexi sat upright for about 10 minutes. This was a big accomplishment that left Lexi feeling exhausted. She has been lying in a hospital bed for over one month,” added Anderson.
The Andersons attribute their success to God and their faith in Jesus.
“In the book of James, James completes this thought, and describes life as a vapor. Life without God is a dangerous game…an endless ‘chasing after the wind.’ He concludes that we need to bring God into our planning, and let Him have ultimate control. ‘Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ (James 4:13-15)” Anderson wrote.