Flathead County Coverage

Jan 27, 2012 10:46 PM by Dax VanFossen (KAJ News)

Kalispell baby to undergo surgery for birth defect

KALISPELL- Three and a half months ago, a beautiful little girl named Alexis was born in a Kalispell hospital. She was born to Don Lessor and Amber Thornton, but Alexis was a little bit different than your typical infant, Alexis was born with a cleft palate and a heart condition.

For Alexis, eating is always a struggle, even drinking milk. Her father Don says they use a special bottle every day to keep Alexis fed. Amber says she had some initial anger about the situation her daughter was facing.

"I was like, why did this happen to our baby? How did this happen to our family? And then as time went on, I just learned to accept it, I mean this is who she is, and this is part of her."

In fact Amber and Don embrace the fact their daughter is different and special. She goes in for surgery in Seattle this weekend, and Don says he'll miss the smile she came with.

"You're used to that smile that's unique to anybody, you know there's not to many babies that have that split smile, which has just grown on us."

Alexis's smile will change this weekend, but her parents say she will still have a long journey ahead.

"She'll actually have to go through it till she is about 21 years old, she'll have surgery on her lip and her nose, this coming week, and then she has hearing problems cause she gets fluid into her middle ears, so they'll probably have to do the tubes, they'll find out more when they do the surgery this week."

Medical bills have skyrocketed for Don and Amber since they learned of Alexis's condition and Don is currently unemployed and searching for a job.

If you would like to help in any way, contact reporter Dax VanFossen.

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