Like many 7-year-olds, Lexi loves to paint, color and play games on the computer. But there is one major difference: Lexi does these things, and much more, using her feet.
Lexi was born with a severe form of arthrogryposis, a condition that caused her joints to contract before birth—leaving her limbs largely unusable. Some doctors predicted she wouldn’t survive past infancy. “It was the most terrifying experience of my life,” recalls Lexi’s mother, Jamie.
Even after Lexi defied predictions about her survival, many doubted her future. “They told her, ‘You will never walk,’ and she said ‘I will walk!’” remembers Jamie. “She made up her mind to prove everyone wrong.”
Lexi faced significant challenges on her path toward independence. Her condition left her arms limp and her legs stiff. In fact, just one part of Lexi’s body was unaffected by her condition: her feet.
By flexing her feet and wriggling her toes, Lexi discovered an extraordinary—and effective—way to interact with the world around her. She taught herself to adeptly maneuver markers, crayons, and even utensils. “You can’t tell her something is impossible,” Jamie says. “She simply won’t listen.”
Lexi even defied predictions that she would never walk. Today, she walks freely around her home and uses a power wheelchair for longer distances. She also receives regular care at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, where her family says her providers focus on what she can do.
One example? Her assistive technology specialists mounted to her wheelchair a custom-fit keyboard and mouse that she can use with her feet. “Because of Gillette, Lexi has everything she needs to remain at the top of her class,” says Jamie. “She knows there’s nothing she can’t accomplish!”