Flesh-Eating Bacteria Survivor Named Homecoming Princess
16-year-old Alexis Hanford reached headlines after tragically contracting a rare strain of flesh-eating bacteria while on vacation on Lake Leonard in Redwood, California. Now, the teen is back and received an warm homecoming.
Two months ago, the Hanford family were vacationing in the lake when Alexis cut her leg on a tree and fell into the water. The bacteria infected her leg, and she spent weeks in the hospital, undergoing 18 surgeries.
“Every surgery you’d kind of wait in the waiting room wondering what they found and what they needed to remove and what was healthy,” recalled Alexis’ mother, Lynn Knieriem.
Alexis was finally released from the hospital and managed to attend her homecoming dance last Saturday. To her surprise, she received a warm welcome and was crowned homecoming princess.
“It was amazing to be crowned and I’m guessing probably since I’ve been away for so long they wanted me to know that I’m still included in the school, ” Alexis gushed. “I can’t even explain how much that means to me.”
Even better, Alexis’ best friend Lily Blum started the “Alexis Healing Project” in an effort to fundraise for the Children’s Hospital that was responsible for Alexis’ recovery.
“I wanted to turn something negative into something positive,” Blum said. “She’s a really strong person and she’s definitely been an inspiration to me, and I wanted to give back to the doctors who saved her life.”
Alexis will be taking extra classes to catch up with the rest of her class.
“Even though it can be frustrating to have to deal with this, there are always people who are worse off. I saw them in the hospital and in rehab,” she told the Washington Post. “What we consider normal — going to college, getting a job, getting married — isn’t going to happen for those people. It just makes you look at life differently.”