You may remember Lexie from our 12 Days of Sol Flower Christmas stories on social media. Each 12 Day recipient was featured with details of their unique story and how Project Sol Flower was able to contribute to their bucket list dreams. If you missed them, you can view these under our “12 Days” highlights on Instagram or check out the blog that provides a brief recap about the holiday mini-dreams.
Lexie Quinata had cancer for most of her short life. She was initially diagnosed with cancer at 22 months old and continually relapsed over the course of that first year, with the cancer eventually spreading to her brain. She underwent brain surgery but they were unable to remove the tumors. Lexie stopped treatment at age 8 and had a few good years until age 13 when they discovered that her bone marrow was no longer functioning correctly, rendering her ineligible for a bone marrow transplant. Countless medical issues snowballed from the bone marrow problem, including a stroke in 2020 that left her confined to a wheelchair.
Miraculously, despite receiving no aggressive cancer treatment after age 13, Lexie made it to her 21st birthday, on December 7, 2022, which she celebrated in style. She loved all things Disney, especially Lilo and Stitch, and she was joyful to the core. Her sweet smile was ever present and never dimmed, regardless of what she had to endure physically. She was pure light and deeply treasured by all who knew her.
Lexie’s family made plans to take her to Disneyland and Vegas for her 21st birthday and we were overjoyed to be able to contribute to their trip and help make these bucket list vacations even more magical for Lexie. We donated “Disney Dough” for Lexie to spend however she chose – stuffed animals and Lilo & Stitch gear, of course! – and cash for gambling in Vegas, because you only turn 21 once! Lexie’s 21st birthday was essentially her last “hoorah.” Her health and energy plummeted after the trip and she passed away on February 14, 2023.
Here’s where Lexie’s story takes an interesting twist. Lexie wanted to “win big” in Vegas so she could buy her mom a horse. Enter Amanda Enloe, of Misfit Crew Sanctuary, who rescues and provides a forever home for critical needs and hospice elderly horses. She rescued the biggest sweetheart of a horse from a kill lot in Colorado on February 14, 2023 for Lexie’s mom, Laura. Hearts, as she is appropriately named, will live with the rest of the misfits at Amanda’s ranch and Laura will be able to visit her whenever she needs a giant snuggle and to feel close to Lexie.
We had the opportunity to visit the Misfit Crew Sanctuary with Laura and were there when she met Hearts for the first time. This moment was truly magical and we could feel Lexie’s presence as her mom embraced Hearts and spoke softly to her. Amanda is rehabilitating and healing Hearts, and Hearts is doing the same for Laura. It was an honor to witness this little miracle. If you want to learn more about the work Amanda is doing to rescue horses from kill pens, check out her website where you can meet the 20 horses she has already saved (they all have a bio). We loved all the horses but, truth be told, were particularly enamored with Wesley and his barnyard shenanigans.
Despite living in Colorado, Lexie was a California girl at heart. Her celebration of life will take place on March 19, 2023 in Long Beach, CA surrounded by family and friends.