Alexis is my hero

December 17, 2009

 Today, I want you to introduce you to Alexis: someone who I love, and admire. I'm older than she is, but I feel like I could take lessons from her. Mostly because she's beautiful and classy inside and out - all the time. But also because she stands up straight, and carries herself like a princess all the time - and Gramps is still yelling at me for slouching, all the time...

Regardless, Alexis is a senior at Del Oro High, which is just down the street from my house, and she's putting many of us to shame. She devotes a lot of her time to others, which is great, but what I especially love about her is how naturally it comes. You can tell that she wants to - and she likes it. Whereas, sometimes people like me lay in bed in the morning and pray things like, "God, please just don't have anyone ask me for favors today."

This, I have to admit, is the first post I've ever cried writing. My mom called me crying a week before we moved to New York. I was out to ice cream with my friends, and started crying uncontrollably in the middle of foster's freeze when I found out my cousin Max had cancer. I was 15. He was two. When I was living in Santa Clarita two years ago, I got another phone call saying he had relapsed. I was 18. He was five. When I was living in DC earlier this year, I received a third phone call. This time he needed a bone marrow transplant, and I remember Gramps and Gramps crying saying they wished it was them.

Half a year later, and Max has gone through a successful bone marrow transplant - and we're praying for complete healing. I couldn't wait to get home to my family this year. Being in DC felt like dying being away from all of them while they were going through this, and one of the hugest blessings of being back in Northern CA has been being with Max and his siblings. He truly is an amazing kid, and it is so great to watch him act healthy. It's also amazing to be back HOME, where I get to watch how people love on our family - so many fundraisers, so many people praying, so many people giving of themselves.

...I'm crying again.

Without further ado - I give you Alexis, who is here to tell you about her fabulous senior project, that happens to center on my (almost) 8-year-old cousin, Maxwell Herlehy:

Tell me a little bit about yourself?Okay so a little bit about me...I am a senior at Del Oro High School. You can often find me in the leadership room. Throughout my 4 years at Del Oro I have devoted a majority of my time to planning events and recognizing the amazing people we have at Del Oro. I am very passionate about being involved at my school and enjoy spending time with my friends. One of my favorite hobbies is photography.  I spent a month last summer on a photography trip through the southwest. I recently was accepted into our school's chapter of the National Honor Society which was a huge deal for me. I try to be a very positive person, but what I enjoy most is seeing other people happy.

What is your favorite quote? My favorite quote is a bible verse: "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar with wings like eagles; they will run, and not be weary; and they will walk, and not grow faint" (Isaiah 40:31).

What motivates you, in general, to be involved in charity?

I am motivated mostly by God and the happiness I receive when I make other people happy. I love doing things for others and giving back to the community that has made me who I am.

Who are some people who inspire you?

I am inspired by my Dad, who works very hard at managing our small business. I am also very inspired by my Aunt Traci, who works in the public relations field. She is very devoted to what she does and is very successful. Both of them have helped me become the person that I am today. 

Tell me about the Max's Miracle project?

Max's Miracle project is my way of giving back to a boy who has become my hero. Besides the fact that it is my senior project, (which we are required to do to graduate from Del Oro), I have become inspired my the story of Maxwell Herlehy. I have worked with Max's cousin Candace, who gave me the idea of the project, to develop a website and a fundraiser for the community to become involved in. I have created a website where people can learn Max's story and donate online. I am working with Mikuni Resturants to become their charity of the month in January, and in February have a dinner to raise money. Also I am working with Candace's work, Dental Designs to create a system in which their clients can donate. My goal of this fundraiser is to raise $10,000 which will go to Max's "I love Max" fund that is set up with Wells Fargo at the end of February.

(become a facebook fan here).

Tell me a little bit about Max, for people reading who don't know his story?

Maxwell Herlehy is a young boy who is turning eight this Sunday actually. Maxwell's story began at the young age of two and a half when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Since then, Max has faced the battle of cancer an additional two times while enduring intense treatments and missing out on the joys of being a young boy. His most recent relapse with cancer was in April 2009 and this relapse has led to a bone marrow transplant (thanks to the stem cells of his little brother Sam). Today Max is moving farther and farther away from another year with Leukemia, he is currently is in the amazing process of developing an immune system that will not tolerate any future cancerous cells.

How do you know Max?

I met Max over a year ago when I started dating his older cousin Blake. Blake told me about Max, but I was amazed when I finally met him in person. He seemed like such a happy boy and I never would have guessed he had cancer. Ever since then i have gotten to know him and see him quite often.

What inspired you to do this project for Max?

I was inspired by Max. I saw how much strength he had when I first met him a year ago as he was recovering. And when he relapsed in April my heart went out to him and his family. I was so amazed by his courage and how positive he and his family were through the whole process. When I was gone on my trip during the summer Max was undergoing the process of the transplant, and I kept thinking about him constantly and that's when I knew my senior project had to be something to do with Max.

How can people help?

People can help by donating to the project to help reach the goal. Donations can be made online through the website I created. 

   (all photo credit goes to Alexis - except for the photos of Max, those are from my Aunt Jamie)


EyesToTheSkye said...

She seems like an amazing, big hearted person. I wish the best for her project, and for Max. He looks like a happy kid despite the cancer. Oh, and I cried reading it, too.

Amanda said...

I discovered your blog from a link on someone else's (I can't remember which!) and just wanted to say I loved this post. That's the kind of thing that gives me hope for the next generation...not that I'm so much older than her, but you get the point :)