Less than a year after 12-year-old Alexis Shapiro underwent major life-saving surgery to correct a rare condition that caused her to always feel hungry and rapidly gain weight, her mother says she's finally getting her childhood back.
The condition was caused by brain surgery she had in 2011 to remove a benign tumor. The operation made her metabolism plummet and the 4 foot 7 girl gained more than 140 lbs in two years, despite a strict diet and exercise plan.
Doctors recommended she get gastric bypass surgery, but the Shapiro's couldn't cover the costs and their insurance company refused to pay for it. Her doctors warned that, without the surgery, Alexis would continue to gain two pounds a week.
Fortunately, they were able to raise the money online. Last year, the Shapiros started a Go Fund Me campaign and more than 1,400 people sent in donations. In March, the 12-year-old became one of the youngest people in the U.S. to undergo a sleeve gastrectomy surgery.
In a post on the Cincinnati Children's Hospital website, Shapiro's mother said she's lost more than 50 pounds and her physical - and emotional - health has significantly improved.
"After so many struggles with her emotions and feeling uncomfortable in her own skin, I'm grateful every day to see Alexis feeling much more comfortable and emotionally stable. Her confidence is emerging and I love every moment of it!"
The family is working with the hospital to learn more about her condition to better help other kids going through the same struggle.