Lexi's fight for ovarian cancer treatment - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lexi's fight for ovarian cancer treatment

Lexi and Lana Holland are trying to raise $60,000 for ovarian cancer treatments not offered in the United States. (Source: KPLC) Lexi and Lana Holland are trying to raise $60,000 for ovarian cancer treatments not offered in the United States. (Source: KPLC)

At 22 years old, a Lake Charles woman who just graduated from college, has had to put her career ambitions on hold.

Lexi Holland has stage IV ovarian cancer.  Her doctors have said there is nothing else they can do, but that is not stopping Lexi and her mom, Lana, from finding someone who will treat her, even if it means leaving the United States.

Inside the Holland's home, Lexi shows off the graduation cap she hand painted for her walk across Southern University's stage at graduation in May.

Lexi was determined to walk, even though she was in the hospital that same day, fighting to live with stage IV ovarian cancer.

"I had just got out of the hospital at 5:00 that morning," she said.  "I had to be at graduation at 8:00.  It was by the grace of God that I walked across that stage."

It was the month before Lexi's final year in college, July 2015, that changed everything. 

"I started throwing up," she said.  "I had symptoms of not being able to eat, keep anything down.  I thought I had a virus for the longest and I thought, this isn't right."

Lexi went in for a procedure on what was thought to be a severe case of endometriosis.  Her family was there by her side.

"That's what we went in thinking," said Lana, "that it was just going to be something minor and she would be able to get on with her life and it was just not the case."

Lexi had stage III ovarian cancer, very rare in someone her age, and more common in white women than African-American.

Doctors recommended Lexi undergo six months of intense chemotherapy.  She endured all of the side effects, was deemed cancer-free, but then just a few months later, had her symptoms return.

"I watched my body bounce back into being healthy again and then going right back into sickness," she said.

This time, the cancer had come back and spread to her liver - stage IV - grim survival rates and very limited treatment.

Lana says after a failed round of chemo, her daughter's doctors recommended comfort care.

"They said we can try something else or just let nature take its course," said Lana.  "They were offering palliative care."

The Hollands found Oasis of Hope in Tijuana, Mexico, a center that specializes in treating late stage cancers through traditional methods, like chemo, but also through alternative means that are either not approved in the United States or not considered mainstream medicine.

"I believe they can help me," said Lexi.  "I believe this treatment will be the finale...I just have to get there."

The treatment, travel, and bills to get there are estimated at $60,000, a huge price tag for a working, single mom.

A GoFundMe account has raised nearly $38,000 from community donations in just three weeks.

Sandy Brass is a fellow church member of Lexi and Lana at Zion Tabernacle Baptist Church in Lake Charles.  She is helping to organize a dinner fundraiser on Thursday, September 1 at the Cash & Carry on Enterprise Boulevard in Lake Charles.  

"We're just answering God's call," said Brass.  "We have to come together, join together, and do what we have to do to get her the help we need."

The community support has meant the world to Lexi.  

"Words cannot express how much I would like to thank everyone and just outpour whatever I have just to give back them whatever I can," she said.

Some $20,000 is still needed to make this treatment a reality and it is something Lexi trusts can happen before her condition worsens.

"I don't know exactly how, but I just feel like this is God's will for me and I've got to follow it," she said.

Lexi hopes to use her criminal justice degree after she is past this cancer fight.  She says she believes God has given her the gift of encouragement and she would like to use that to help families one day as a funeral home director.

To contribute to Lexi's GoFundMe account, click here.

The September 1 dinner fundraiser will feature live music by saxophonist, Mickey Smith, along with other entertainers.  Dinner will be buffet-style, served by church members of Zion Tabernacle Baptist.  The event starts at 6:30 P.M. at the Cash & Carry Building on Enterprise Boulevard in Lake Charles.  

For tickets, call Zion Tabernacle Baptist Church at 436-6627, Sandy Brass at 802-7016, or Lana Holland at 515-3892.

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