Mealey Classic Miracle Girl, Alexis Braun

AOA has over 4,000 athletes in this sport and many members send us unique and inspiring stories.  The following story is one of the most inspirational we’ve ever read. Thank you Rhonda Braun for sharing.

“When Alexis, our 16-year-old daughter first heard about the Mealey Classic she knew she wanted to go. Alexis was diagnosed with FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis-Nephrotic Syndrome) in 2016 and undergoes treatment at the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital. Due to a catheter insertion surgery, we had to cancel her pre-season Sun Peaks training camp and later were informed she was in kidney failure and needed to start dialysis before Christmas. Dialysis mean Alexis had to have a second surgery to reposition the catheter, this meant she missed the first race in Duluth as she was still too weak to attend. Today Alexis is on peritoneal dialysis which means she is able to be at home for treatment, however, this means being confined to the machine for 10 hours every night until she gets a kidney transplant. Our whole family required training to administer dialysis at home and I am now off work to care for her full time.

At Alexis’s insistence, we got approval from her Nephrologist to attend the Mealey Classic Race. This meant we had to arrange with Baxter, the dialysis supply company, to deliver her supplies directly to the Soo (as it would be too much to transport, along with her machine, Alexis and two teammates). Everything worked out in Sault Ste Marie and I was able to get her on the machine early each night to get up in time for the daily training. This however cut into socializing at night as they also had to wax and sharpen their skis after training every night.

Alexis wanted to be able to finish each run during the competition without DNF which she was able to do. Although she only had one other young lady in her age category, she was still able to get on the podium with four medals, 3 silver and one gold. The process of peritoneal dialysis is the equivalent of your body running a marathon and it only brings her up to a 20% kidney function. Along with the diet restrictions, medications and side effects Alexis doesn’t let it affect her ability to get to the hill.

One night at the Mealey a teammate brought her skis up to the room and then told his Mom how shocked he was to see what she has to go through. This led to others asking if they could come up for a picture which also was a great learning experience for everyone 🙂 I then learned that her teammates were being very sensitive and making sure they included her, for example, they didn’t post anything on social media while in Sun Peaks and they all chipped in with their own money to ensure she also got a Sun Peaks hoodie!

Alexis plans on returning to the Mealey Cup next year, she may have a new kidney by then! We are very grateful Alexis is able to do what she loves and has such a great supportive team; amazing coaches, teammates and parents they are all the best. Thank you!!”