Shining His Light to Honor His Twin’s Memory

Feb 23, 2022 | Patient Stories

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A six-year-old ball of energy, Ali’s light shines wherever he goes.

Ali gets a little extra support for his development at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health Children’s Developmental Center at McMains.

Ali and his twin, Jax, were born prematurely. Sadly, Jax passed away, and Ali has some developmental delays but is thriving with support from his McMains care team through speech, occupational and physical therapies.

Great Improvements with McMains

While Ali’s developmental delays are mild compared to some of the other patients and those of his brother, he is making great strides with therapies and is an active kindergartener. Tyesha, Ali and Jax’s mom, says the care they receive from McMains is awesome.

“Each one of his instructors is so supportive and understanding of the situation in on the whole,” Tyesha says. “These therapists are angels, heaven-sent kind of people. Not everybody can do what they do.”

About three years ago, Tyesha brought Ali to McMains after watching her young cousin’s success. The family had been told he would never walk due to cerebral palsy.

“When I learned Ali needed help, my aunt recommended McMains,” she says. Describing the strides her 9-year-old cousin has made, Tyesha says, “McMains was a big part of that. He is beautiful, personable and bright, walks and talks, and is the smartest kid in the room.”

Ali has experienced similar gains, with incredible speech improvement and a continued focus on developing his motor skills.

Helping Other Families Like Theirs

Ali and Tyesha started a nonprofit in memory of Jax. Jax’s Angels provides support to children with special needs and the families and communities who take care of them.

“As a single mom and with what I witnessed other families go through in the hospital, a huge takeaway was that many didn’t have support like I did,” Tyesha says. “I learned a lot about resources, and I want to be able to help parents like myself and be there for kids like my son.”

Launched in 2019, Jax’s Angels supports several organizations, including Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health Children’s Developmental Center at McMains. So far, the nonprofit has provided financial and material donations, but Tyesha hopes to expand to provide support through relationship building with families.

“Ali is a huge part of Jax’s Angels,” Tyesha says. “He’s dealt with the traumatic loss of his brother, and he is able to be sweet and supportive.”

A Few of Ali’s Favorite Things

With an exceptional personality, Ali loves being the center of attention, and he has big goals for himself. He’d love to be a scientist when he grows up. He loves to play outside, do science experiments, crack jokes and play with all kinds of toys. Tyesha’s parents, Ali’s Papa and Momo, are a big part of his life and some of Ali’s favorite people.

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health provides exceptional care of all types. Learn more about Developmental Medicine.

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