Sister: Lexi overcame scoliosis, hip dysplasia

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 10, 2010

When Mahaley Thomas talks about her sister, it’s in the present tense.

She describes her infectious smile, her glorious blonde hair and her sparkling blue eyes.

She talks about the thing that others might have called a “disability,” but Thomas said it is part of the package that made Lexi Worrell what she was – the best.

“She is simply the best,” Thomas said. “Her outlook on things was that she was Lexi and she is the best at it. No matter what it was. When she set her mind on something that was it. Nobody can compare. She’s the best.”

On Thursday, Worrell, an 8-year-old third grader at W.S. Harlan Elementary, was accidentally run over by a school bus.

Worrell, a honor student, was diagnosed with infantile scoliosis and later, hip dysplasia. At age 6, she had the first of many corrective surgeries on her spine. Thomas said the family was required to travel to Texas every six months so that a new longer rod could be inserted in her spine.

Thomas, a 10-year veteran in the U.S. Army, is currently stationed in Ft. Carson, Colo. She arrived home Friday and said each time she came home for leave, Lexi would “prove what she could do.”

“She’s very competitive, especially against herself,” Thomas said. “Every time I came home, she’d show me something new she should do. She’d say, ‘Hey. I can bend over and touch my toes.’ or ‘I pick my leg up, look.’

“That’s just Lexi,” she said. “She had a little bit of an attitude, even though she was disabled. To meet her, you’d never know it. She didn’t let it hold her back or tear her spirit down one bit. She was a kid, and she wanted to do everything any other kid could and she wanted to do it now.”

And to prove it, Lexi even went out for cheerleading.

“I got to come home for her very first game, and to see her out there on the field – well, there should be no one on this earth to say that they couldn’t do something,” she said. “It just filled your heart to see her.”

Thomas said her sister loved video games, plaing with friends and music.

“She would have been 9 Aug. 23,” she said. “Her little best friend lives down the road. (Thursday) afternoon, she came over with a handmade birthday card for Lexi. That’s how much she was loved by everyone who knew her.

“But she didn’t want people to do for her,” she said. “She was very independent. She could do it on her own she’d say. She – her beautiful smile; that beautiful blonde hair and bright eyes, she’s my heart. She is my sister.”

Lexi Worrell will be laid to rest Sunday. She was the daughter of Dennis and Tracey Worrell of Florala.

Visitation will be held tonight from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Evans Funeral Home in Florala. Funeral services will be held Sun., April 11, at 2 p.m. at Florala High School. Burial will follow in Greenwood Cemetery.