Crowdfunding Medical Bills

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By: Lisa Waanenen,  When Alexandria Beeler was 10 years old, she was thrown from a snowmobile in a family friend’s yard on New Year’s Eve. She walked away with bruises, but the next day her mother took her to the family doctor, who ordered an MRI, just in case.
A few days later the family got a call — something was wrong. Brain scans showed scarring and inflammation, but doctors couldn’t immediately determine a cause. It might have been there her whole life. They doubted she would live past 13.
A dozen years and three brain biopsies later, Beeler is still alive. Now 22, with a head of thick blonde curls and an easy laugh, Beeler doesn’t come across as someone who’s spent more than half her life in and out of hospitals. Between medical appointments and hospital stays, she defied doctors’ expectations that she might not excel in school, and now she’s studying psychology at Eastern Washington University with plans for graduate school.
“When someone tells me I can’t do something, I’m going to go do it,” she says.
But she suffers from left-sided weakness and seizures that started several years ago, and she can unpin the shorter hair above her right temple to measure how long it’s been since it was shaved for her most recent biopsy in February. She recites the acronyms for all the ways doctors have looked at her brain — MRIs, PETs, EEGs, CAT scans… “Any brain scan you can think of, I’ve had it,” she says.
Most frustrating of all, she still doesn’t know what’s wrong. After all the tests and biopsies, she doesn’t have a diagnosis.
Her doctors in Spokane have told her there’s nothing else they can do. This year, after her most recent biopsy, she was invited to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona to be fully evaluated by experts. The trip is scheduled for the end of August, and Beeler sees it as her last chance for answers.
“If Mayo can’t figure it out, I’m done, and I’m just going to have to live without knowing,” she says.

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