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Fighting for Alexander

May 15, 2013

	There will be a pancake breakfast benefit on Sunday in Heron Lake for Alexander Fest, the son of Levi and Kim Fest of Heron Lake.  
 Submitted Photo
Submitted Photo
There will be a pancake breakfast benefit on Sunday in Heron Lake for Alexander Fest, the son of Levi and Kim Fest of Heron Lake.
Benefit to be held Sunday for Fest baby
Alexander Russell Fest, the son of Levi and Kim Fest of Heron Lake, needs to have a bone marrow transplant. A benefit will be held for the family on Sunday, May 19, at the Heron Lake Elementary School. There will be a free will donation pancake breakfast from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., along with a silent auction.

Born July 23, 2012, Alexander was diagnosed with Monsomy 7 Myelodysplasia (MDS) in March. The cells in the bone marrow are pre-leukemia, and these cells clone themselves as they grow. MDS is very rare for a child of his age, and means that Alex will need a bone marrow transplant. His six-year-old sister Alison will be the bone marrow donor, with the transplant planned for this summer at the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis.

Levi and Kim live in rural Heron Lake. Levi is an over-the-road truck driver, and Kim is a full-time mother. Alex has a sister and two brothers, Alison (6), Nickalous (4) and Cooper (2 1/2). His grandparents are Russell Allen and the late Sheila Allen of Sibley, Iowa, Mike and Jane Fest, Heron Lake and Artemis Anderson and fiancee Tom Block, Spicer. Great-grandparents are Rita and the late Don Fest, Heron Lake, Aletha Allen and the late Bob Allen, Makinen, MN, and Ed Sternberg, Port Charlotte, Florida.

The Fest family will be going to the Twin Cities soon to further discuss the process with Dr. Verneris, the surgeon who will do the transplant.

Nearly ten months old, Alex is not yet 13 pounds. “He’s eating good, but he’s not gaining weight,” Kim said. Doctors are unsure of the reason he isn’t gaining weight, and are trying to determine that before the transplant is scheduled. At the present time, the Fests are awaiting several test results which may give them answers. The tests were sent to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Ohio and San Francisco, and take two to four weeks.

Alex is being visited weekly by a physical therapist and an occupational therapist. A nurse also comes in once per week to weigh Alex. “He is behind on some things,” Kim said, “possibly because of his size.”

The day of the transplant is called day zero, and the doctors have explained that Alex will stay in the hospital at least 80 days, or up to 100 days, following the transplant. Daily check-ups will be scheduled after his release, followed by weekly check-ups.

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