Alexis Bezilla Memorial Fund
Start: Oct 30, 2019 - End: Jan 31, 2020
DECEMBER 2019 UPDATE:
Sweet Sixteen. No one would have done it better. Alexis Grace would have celebrated her Sweet Sixteenth birthday this coming month, on January 16th, 2020. Her Golden birthday. In honor of her…in honor of who she was, we are inviting you to celebrate with us a little bit each day leading up to her 16th birthday.
Sixteen days of expressing kindness in the quietly generous way that Alexis did… Maybe your mailman could use a batch of cookies after the crazy holiday season. Could you run an errand for a new mom? Maybe your neighbor needs their sidewalk shoveled. Do you know a classmate who needs a friend to sit with them at lunch? Perhaps you’ve been meaning to write a thank you note to a childhood mentor or teacher. There’s a stranger at a nursing home who would love a visitor. Maybe you can unexpectedly pick up someone’s grocery tab. You get the drift.
Did you know Alexis? Had you experienced the sweet joy of her presence? Perhaps you’ve been touched by her journey. Get ready to #GiveGrace. We’re starting January 1st. On January 16th, bundle up and meet us at Lininger Park in Marion, IA. We’ll gather there to release golden balloons in honor of her golden birthday at 5:15pm.
Spread joy. Extend kindness. Give Grace.
OCTOBER 2019 UPDATE:
It is with extremely heavy hearts that April & Brad Bezilla want everyone to know that their beautiful Alexis passed away Monday, October 28th after an almost 3 year battle with brain and spine cancer. She showed more strength and courage than we could ever imagine. She never once complained about how hard it was or showed anger about what she had lost.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was very special to Alexis. She was well known there as one of the toughest but most caring patients. She was always worried about how the cancer would affect others than herself. It was a place of hope, love , friendship and kindness. Her wish has always been to give back to those who gave her so much. The teen program was very important to her. Spending time with other teens, in the midst of treatment, allowed her to just be a teenager. Alexis was always a source of support and inspiration for others in the program. No matter how hard her day was, she was always willing to help the other teens walk a very difficult road.
Alexis definitely earned her wings. In honor of Alexis, any donations received will be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in her name.
Thank you everyone for your support.
NOVEMBER 2018 STORY:
In March of 2017 the Bezilla family, of Marion, Iowa received news that no family deserves. Their 13 year old daughter Alexis was diagnosed with a metastatic brain tumor, Medulloblastoma. Medulloblastoma is a cancerous brain tumor that grows out of the cerebellum. Cancer cells then typically spreads through cerebrospinal fluid to other areas around the brain and spinal cord. Alexis was rushed to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery for hydrocephalus. She then underwent two additional surgeries. One to resect her tumor and the other to address the ongoing challenge of relieving the build up cerebral spinal fluid on the brain. Alexis was then accepted at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital for follow up treatment. For the following 10 months the Bezilla’s were temporarily relocated to Memphis where Alexis underwent 35 rounds of radiation therapy, 7 rounds of chemotherapy and multiple MRI’s and too many needle pokes to count. She did all of this with a remarkable amount of grace.
In January of 2018, Brad, April and Alexis received the miraculous news that Alexis was cancer free, and she was able to return home to be a normal 13 year old girl again. For several months she regained strength, spent time with friends, began horseback riding, and returned to school. She was able to be a teenager again, as it should be.
Those few months were not nearly long enough of a respite.
In August of 2018, Alexis’ mom April was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Liposarcoma. April embarked on a journey her daughter had so recently suffered and began radiation. In December of 2018 she will undergo surgery to have the tumor and several surrounding organs removed that are encased by the tumor, which will undoubtedly cause life-long illnesses for April to manage.
As if this news alone wasn’t enough, a short two months later, the Bezilla’s received the devastating news that Alexis had relapsed. Two new lesions appeared on her spine and cancer cells were found in her cerebral spinal fluid. The family returned to Memphis to St. Jude the beginning of November, to begin another treatment for Alexis. They will return home for April’s surgery, but will need to travel to St. Jude’s twice per month for Alexis’ treatment.
Through all of this the Bezilla family has displayed nothing but grace. They are choosing joy and are determined to stay positive. This family is facing insurmountable obstacles, but continues to be an inspiration to those around them. Please show your support for this family by making a donation to help lessen the burdens they are facing.
MARCH 2017 STORY: Thirteen year old Alexis Bezilla had a headache that wouldn’t go away. After a couple visits to her pediatrician and trying some medicine that didn’t help she was sent for a CT scan on March 9, 2017. That CT scan revealed that Alexis had a tumor in her fourth ventricle. By noon that day she was at UIHC prepping for surgery to put a shunt in to relieve cranial pressure. Later that day she had an MRI to get more details. On Friday, March 10 she went in for a 6 hour surgery to remove the brain tumor. On Tuesday, March 14 the Bezilla family received the news no one wants to hear… Malignant Cancer. Medulloblastoma. Over the next four weeks Alexis will focus on recovering from the surgery and then she will start treatment. Right now she’s looking at 7 weeks of daily radiation and weekly chemo and then several more months of weekly radiation and chemo.
While the Bezilla family is still trying to figure out exactly what the next few months will look like let’s help ease the worry of finances and show them our love and support.
Amount Raised through One Mission, round 1: $9,890.50
Making a Difference In: Marion, Iowa
Fund Leader: Kristie Bixler
Fund Type: Medical Causes