Medical Expenses Wipe Out Virginia Teen's Money for College

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia Bureau chief Julie Carey introduces us to Lexy Quance, a high school senior who survived cancer and now must find a way to pay for college. (Published Friday, May 16, 2014)

    A Virginia high school student who almost died from leukemia a year ago is facing another battle: Raising enough money to go to college.

    Massaponax High School senior Lexy Quance’s family is turning to social media for help, the Free Lance-Star reported last week.

    Since she was a little girl, Lexy has had a plan.

    “I've always wanted to go to collge, because I always wanted to be in the medical field, like my mom,” she said.

    Lexy was on track during her junior year. An honor student loaded up with AP classes, she was a cheerleader, too. But in December 2012, she received the deadly diagnosis: Acute myeloid leukemia.

    From the beginning, Lexy didn't waver from her focus: College.

    Intensive treatment kept her at VCU Medical Center most of the time with her mom, Tracey, a nurse, at her side, her head shaved in solidarity, and her dad and little brother visiting. While chemotherapy and other drugs gave Lexy full-body rashes and nausea, she would do homework whenever she could find time.

    “If it was one o’clock in the morning when I woke up, I would do some work because otherwise nobody else could do it for me and I wasn't going to graduate if I didn't do it," she said.

    Hope for remission came with a bone marrow transplant in May 2013, but soon after, her organs began to fail. Lexy can’t remember 42 days she was hooked to machines and near death.

    “I've seen her medically in the worst shape I've ever seen even in all my experience,” her mother said. “I've never seen anyone as sick as my daughter.”

    Lexy pulled through and returned home. Because of her weakened immune system, she wears a protective mask at school, but most of her senior year work has been done at home, and this spring the college acceptances started to arrive.

    “I was just so excited that I had finally gotten in, that all my hard work had paid off,” she said.

    She wants to attend Christopher Newport University, but the money her parents saved for college has been wiped out by medical costs. So a staffer at the American Cancer Society suggested a donation page on YouCaring.com. In two weeks, almost $7,000 was raised.

    “It's an amazing feeling that people care and will give me their money to try to help me go to college and do what I want to do,” Lexy said.

    She will join her classmates in the Massaponax gym for graduation June 7.

    “We were so very close to not ever hearing her say ‘Mom’ again,” Tracey Quance said. “When she walks across, even if they tell me to hold my applause at the end, I don't know if I will.”

    “I'm gong to be happy and sad and all sorts of things; just excited that I actually I made it through and got to the day I wanted to for so long,” Lexy said. “I'm going to walk across the stage.”

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