Source: The Times-Tribune / JOSH MCAULIFFE
Allasondra Dixon’s 9-month-old daughter, Evie, lights up the family’s cozy Taylor home with her cherubic face, megawatt grin and infectious giggling.
“Her personality has blossomed so fast,” Mrs. Dixon said as she watched Evie sit on the living room floor and play with her big brother, William, 2, on a recent afternoon.
“She’s so happy, considering everything that’s happened to her,” she added.
Indeed, little Evie has already experienced so much in her short life.
Born last October with spina bifida, Evie has since undergone five surgeries to correct a myriad of issues associated with the disorder.
Many people stepped up to help Mrs. Dixon and her husband, William, during this trying, tumultuous period. Several benefits were held on Evie’s behalf, including a polar plunge and a golf tournament.
The Dixons were so touched by all of the support that they’ve been inspired to start their own nonprofit organization, the aptly named #EvieStrong.
Mrs. Dixon’s goal is to have the organization officially up and running by Oct. 20, Evie’s birthday.
That said, she and her husband have already held their first fundraiser — a food drive where they collected enough canned goods, nonperishable snacks and quick meals to fill a pickup truck. They donated the food to Geisinger Danville’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, where Evie underwent a couple of her surgeries.
Mrs. Dixon sees #Evie Strong serving several purposes, from raising money for the Spina Bifida Association, to providing support to local families affected by the disease, to working with community groups and municipalities to purchase adaptive playground equipment.
“Whether we do pasta dinners or fun runs, the ideas are flowing,” said Mrs. Dixon, 30. “And, of course, we want to provide moral support to other families, because obviously, we went through it.”
The Dixons’ ordeal began the 19th week of Mrs. Dixon’s pregnancy, when she learned there was something wrong with Evie’s head.
More tests followed, confirming the worst — myelomeningocele spina bifida, caused by the backbone and spinal cord not closing before birth.