Doctors told Alexis’s parents “ Alexis wouldn't live past two weeks old, her level of Spina Bifida Lesion was too high and the fluid on her brain was too severe. Joni, Alexis’s mother told me “ No matter how many times I said no to abortion , my obgyn doctor would corner me each visit, nurses would bring it up at each visit. “ .

Joni continued to say “ They would separate me from my husband to offer me abortion. They made my pregnancy harder than it had to be. I even refused amniocentesis which further upset my doctor. It wasn't until I met our pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Patisapu, ( who I had as a child too ) in his office at nine months pregnant that I felt reassured.

Dr Patisapu told Joni , “ Don’t worry about nothing Mom, these kids are awesome.” Joni said “ That was the first time I ever heard anything positive during those nine months.”

Alexis Banks from Deltona has had 26 surgeries. Joni says “ One thing I would tell another parent is to TRUST YOUR GUT. “ “ There have been many times Alexis was sick or had complications over the years and the doctors would tell me I was wrong – and each time I was RIGHT! And I never took no for an answer. “ “ Joni continues to say “ I would demand them to check and double check on what ever it was at that time. Only you know your child better than any doctor." After meeting Alexis recently at Dennys In Florida ,( it was my birthday ) we were beyond overjoyed to talk far more about her dreams for her future than the challenges she's faced in life due to Spina Bifida . Alexis spoke as if she never had a disability.

As a advocate for those with disabilities writer and more importantly a friend of Alexis’s , I am so proud to say that , Alexis graduated from Pine Ridge High school in May of 2016 and is already making plans to live on her own and go to college!